Cycles. There is the water cycle, the lunar cycle, and the carbon cycle. The dependable change of seasons each year and the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide are cycles built into our universe by the clever Creator who knows that finite minds need something with which to measure time, success, progress, etc.
|Talk about living in a bubble, eh?|
Not all cycles are good however. Because sin's power entered the story of humanity in that first act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden, some cycles have been altered, spoiled, and perverted. I am beginning to notice some of these unhealthy rhythms that plague individuals and families within my sphere of influence.
You know, if you stick around long enough, the true character of a person will eventually present itself. You will begin to recognize recurring behaviours and habits, good and bad. Beware, others will also begin to identify these in you.
Some of these aren’t so positive, like the cycle in and out of abusive relationships, or the dependence on nicotine, alcohol, or illicit drugs. Some people enthusiastically make promises to “turn over a new leaf” and quit smoking or to begin a new course of study that will open doors to new employment, only to give up just weeks later. Others exhibit the signs of insecurity and an unsettled conscience; they find themselves running through the revolving door of confidence and timidity, guilt and innocence.
Cycles can be quite binding, especially when they trap us in the workings of the temporal. I am beginning to get quite sick of the cycles I see around me. Sometimes they make just make me outright angry! I want to see bondage broken and individuals, families and communities set free to live lives of holiness, no longer at the mercy of the old cliché that “history repeats itself”. Consider this insightful poem, The Habit.
I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to
I am completely at your command.
Half of the things you do you might as well turn
over to me and I will do them - quickly and
I am easily managed - you must be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done
and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of great people,
and alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine though
I work with the precision of a machine
plus the intelligence of a person.
You may run me for profit or run me for ruin -
it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me, and
I will place the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.
Who am I? I am Habit.
Have you ever been in a fighter pilot simulator? The dizzying twirling and spinning leaves you unable to discern which way is up and wondering if your lunch will stay inside your stomach until you make it to the toilet. Your body seems to be screaming for escape from the cycle; all you want is for it to stop.
Take a look at your life today. Are there patterns of behaviour to which you’ve grown so accustomed that you barely recognize their presence? Are you aching for a chance to escape the pull of gravity that orbits you back into the same thing over and over?
Sometimes the best thing to do is bravely ask someone outside your cycle to look at your lifestyle and habits, and give you an assessment of what they see. Then in the courage and strength that only God can give, ask Him to perform an evaluation. Give to him the results of that test, grant Him permission to penetrate that harmful cycle, and then cooperate with Him as he provides a clear way of escape for you.
I want to live outside the cycle. I want that for my people. I want that for all people.