Have you noticed that every time you try to get rid of an old, bad habit…it simply comes back… worse than ever? All that work, for nothing! You may feel terrible about yourself until you notice that everyone else seems to struggle similarly with their own bad habits. So, is it hopeless? What if the way you feel is a whisper from a friend?
How Basic Needs Relate to Bad Habits
Old, “bad habits” are usually generated in areas of our brain that deal with meeting basic needs. Food, water, procreation, safety and effectiveness are the usual culprits. We battle with food and drinking. We battle with sexual thoughts and actions. We create elaborate schemes to be “safe from” and “more effective than” others. And, generally, we lose if we try to “change our ways”. Paul pretty clearly reminds us of this in Romans 7: 15 NIV when he writes, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
Philippians 4:13 says we can "do all things through Christ." Maybe this verse can be helpful.
As you might imagine, these basic needs are “hard wired” into our brain. They involve nearly every system of our body and seem to run under our awareness. Have you noticed that after you eat the entire pizza, you no longer feel addicted to pizza? The same can be said after meeting any need in an excessive or inappropriate way. However, have you also noticed what happens after you decide to go on a diet?
The very thought of combating an old habit sets off subconscious alarms that take over your thought life. You go from “feeling good about finally making a decision” to remembering that piece of pizza from last week that’s still in the fridge…you could nuke it. It’s still probably safe to eat! This emergent call from your subconscious mind wakes like a tiger, relentlessly tires your resolve and devours any thought of what’s good for you. Once again, the apostle Paul pretty clearly reminds us of this with what he wrote in Romans 7:15, the same words mentioned above, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
Have you noticed? Healthy choices suddenly look like garbage. You get angry at “what you are left with” and everyone involved in providing you what you told them you wanted…when you were in your right mind. The vegetables become “rabbit food”. You notice your spouse has bad breath and you’ll scream if someone else offers you a lemon water.
Every subconscious system wakes up, sounds the alarm and looks for ways to satisfy your needs. Something is wrong, and something must be done about it - now! Your eyes will seek out what you long for. Every sense reaches out, you can taste it, feel it and hear the sweet sounds of the desired satisfaction suddenly replaced by disgust, anger and guilt!
Are you crazy? How could you pull into that McDonalds, again? What are you doing on that computer so late at night? Why are you talking to her/him again? Did you have to wear that, say that, use that tone of voice or tell everyone the mistake they made? You’re not crazy, but you don’t have the complete picture.
Your subconscious mind under the power of the Holy Spirit is for you, never against you. It knows you well, remembers everything, monitors everything and watches out for you. It is constantly developing, integrating everything around you for your good, the good of others and the greater good both now and in the long term… unless you’re not. Your conscious mind attempts to put all of this into words and develops a moment-to moment intent that organizes subconscious mind’s efforts…or not. We must as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5, “take captive every thought and make is obedient to Christ”.
Seeing through the Mist
“Carpe diem!” I want to eat, drink and be merry today, for tomorrow may we may die! Pretty much guarantees that your conscious and subconscious minds will be at odds with each other. However, subconscious mind has a way of letting you know you are on the wrong path. It has its own warning system. You become more anxious or angry than makes sense, you enjoy something to the exclusion of everything else or you judge yourself and others poorly. “Bad habits” lead to and grow such feelings distorting your conscious interpretation of subconscious perceptions.
- Anger leads to thoughtlessness while anxiety actually makes something difficult to think about.
- Addictive feelings are also thoughtless seducing you away from what is important to you and what should cause concern.
- Judgmentalness is thoughtlessly separating you from yourself and others.
So, what's the antidote?
Paul writes in Philippians 4:13, “ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
- Know that God exists and loves you.
- Know that God wired you to reach for Him always.
- Develop daily faith practices that help you connect deeply with Him through your subconscious mind.
- Follow your thoughts and feelings and ask, “How can I align my thoughts, feelings and actions even more with my faith?”
- Follow your perceptions and ask, “How can I seek, knock, ask and find what God has for me in all things”?
- In each moment ask yourself, “What is God whispering in my ear”?
- Thank God for every blessing and look for the blessing you can’t yet see.
Walking the life that was made for you will naturally weaken bad habits while establishing good ones. You will be enjoying what you think feel and say while your feelings help you “see through the mist”.
To learn more about how to see through the mist and break old, bad habits to become your best self, sign up risk-free for one of my video courses: Grow in Oneness, Heal in Oneness and Masters of Oneness.