When I was twenty-one I found out that I had dangerously high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. I was at a healthy weight and was so young that the levels were surprising to both me and doctors. I felt so responsible. So, for the next decade or so I tried extra hard to be “good” and eat “right”. I had a big long list of bad food that I needed to stay away from. One of my favorite people in the world is a dietician who kept trying to get me to focus on adding things to my diet such as more fruits and vegetables, fiber, healthy fats, etc. I would do my best, but my focus remained on what I shouldn’t be eating more than what I should be eating.
It wasn’t until I realized that my motivation was mostly fueled by trying to punish and restrict myself that I really started to look at doing things for myself and adding things to my diet. The advice, once I finally took it, was like magic. When I added all the good stuff in, the void I had habitually created in my restrictive cycles was filled with healthy habits I could sustain.
Nature hates a void. The Devil loves to take advantage of it too. There is a passage in the Bible that always gives me the creeps. Jesus says in Luke 11:24-26, “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” It is a good reminder to me to fill my life with good healthy things, especially in a season when I am bent on getting rid of habits that don’t serve me.
So, today, I want you to consider that natural void that is created by the absence of this habit. I want you to purposefully decide what you want to fill that space with. This does two great things: One, it makes sure that the emptiness is filled with something healthy and not just a different unhealthy habit. And, two, it gives you a positive focus. Instead of concentrating on something to get rid of, you are looking at something to add to your life.
Journal prompt: What void has been created by the absence of the habit you are trying to break? What positive habit will you insert into that space?
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.