By Mike Kasdorf
If you’re anything like me, your response to a problem or challenge is to do something—be proactive, be a problem-solver. I think it’s because I feel a need to strive for something, earn something, do more of something. We humans always seem to be striving for more, don’t we? Even in a faith context it’s easy to fall into a ‘gotta do more’ thought pattern: “I need to pray more, read my Bible more, serve more, etc.”
Recently, God has been making it clear that He wants to work on my patience. As I took this to heart, I was (sadly) amazed at how quickly I moved to this ‘more’ mindset. “OK God…I’m going to be more patient, starting now.” As if making a resolution to be more patient would actually equate to me becoming more patient. (New Year’s resolution, anyone?)
In this context, the foolishness of my resolution hit me like a soccer ball in the face: A resolution is hollow unless it’s paired with a how. So, dropping the resolution mentality, I began to ask God: “how do I become more patient?” And from this question, God slowly began to reveal that my growth would have nothing to do with ‘more.’ Instead, my ability to grow in patience would actually rely on ‘less.’ Turns out there are things I need to quit.
One of my favorite people in the world is a guy named Bob Goff. One of Bob’s life principles is that he quits something every Thursday. When I first heard this, I remember thinking to myself, “how could there be that many things to quit?” But as God began to teach me how to work on my patience, this principle of Bob’s came back to mind. I began to notice a lot of little habits, tendencies, and thought patterns which were directly feeding my impatience.
It became clear I have a lot of things to quit.
Thankfully, in God’s infinite love and mercy, He does not condemn or shame me for these habits, nor does He require me to “get it together or else.” Through his spirit He equips me (all of us!) to bring the reality of my broken self before him. John 8:11 gives us a wonderful picture of God’s mercy as Christ responds to the woman caught in adultery: “Neither do I [condemn you], go and sin no more.”
So wherever you may be on your spiritual journey, know first and foremost that God created you and loves you, habits and all. And in His incredible love, He offers the power of his Spirit to overcome bad habits and grow as a follower of Christ. I find Romans 8:11 to be an incredible encouragement, reminding us that “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you...to give life to your mortal bodies.”
Maybe you’re at a point where you need some of this new life. Maybe you’re feeling discouraged by a character deficiency. Or maybe you’re just tired of always trying to do more. Ask God for His help—His power. Quit something. Start small. Start simple. Go.