Saturday, March 26, 2011

Old habits die hard

The last time I mentioned Ann's book I wrote about joy, eucharisteo, and how it is not a feeling, not an emotional mountain that is to be climbed. Well the next chapter, chapter 3, says that eucharisteo has to be learned. "And learning requires practice-- sometimes even mind-numbing practice..... practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation."

And it makes sense... and I let out a sigh of relief. Maybe I'm not the only one who struggles with developing good habits.  Maybe I'm not the only one who trudges on in what seems like mind-numbing practice. And I love how she admits that practice is hard because it is yet we tell ourselves it is easy and we tell each other that it is easy and we believe the lie that it should be easy.

But life isn't easy and it's better to admit that it's hard instead of pretending that it is easy. We never quit learning so we will never quit practicing and it will never get easier. An old habit will go away and a new one will form only to reveal another new old habit that must be nailed out. And Ann offers a strategy that seems to make sense.
"Life changing gratitude does not fasten to a life unless nailed through with one very specific nail at a time."
And sometimes it takes a lot of nails... and a lot of time. So I'm not alone, and I am not the only one who clings hard to old habits. The key is to keep hammering... and the nails don't have to be big.

A life full of joy... full of thanksgiving requires fighting. The saying that old habits die hard is very true and when you add the spiritual battle ,your flesh fighting your spirit, those old habits are even harder to kill.The last thing the enemy wants is for Christians to be thankful. When you begin the journey towards a thankful life, a life of living eucharisteo, it will get harder before it gets easier.

As the chapter ends the words get harder to read... because Ann isn't interested in making you comfortable... she wants you to change. The last paragraph is a hard one and one I wrote about here because it's not an easy paragraph to read but it needs to be heard.

I love that Ann doesn't back down and that her words, while not coated with sugar, are written with so much grace.

* I wrote about chapter 2 here
* all quotes come from Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand gifts Chapter 3.

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