Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Power of Habits Comes by Doing

March: Keeping the Dishes Caught Up

I ran across a quote from Charlotte Mason recently that really turned around my way of doing things. 

"Power comes by doing and not by resolving, and it is habit that serves us..."
-Charlotte Mason (from Vol 4, Book 1, p.208)

Boy this clears up a lot of things for me.  It's so obvious but I just needed to see it in black and white.

Sometimes when I read my Bible I see something that I need to work on so I write the verse down.  I think about it.  I pray about it.  And then a few months later, when there hasn't been any change in myself I wonder why.  I mean, it's something in the Bible.  Something God wants me to work on.  Why wouldn't it just happen?  Because I don't DO anything.  Are you convicted to get up early to spend time in prayer?  Well then, choose a spot you want to do it.  Set any supplies you need in that spot.  Set your alarm and start doing it.  And when you sleep past your alarm because you aren't used to it yet, try again tomorrow.  Keep doing it until it is habit.  Until the habit carries you.

"We must depend upon God to give us the strength and even the desire to change; but at the same time, we cannot sit back with our old bad habits clutched tightly in our hands, doing nothing about it."
-Source Unknown

I'm applying this to my monthly habit as well, which is Getting the Dishes Done.

I hate waking up to a messy counter and dirty dishes in the sink.  The way my kitchen counter looks unfortunately sets the tone for my day.  If I have to clear a spot in order to make breakfast, I'm less likely to make a decent breakfast and we end up eating just cereal.  I think it affects my undiagnosed ADD brain as well.  I wake up to chaos and the chaos just ensues.
But if I walk into the kitchen to clear counters and clean dishes stacked tidily
in the dish drain I feel peaceful.  I don't have to move dishes around to get to the sink in order to wash my tea mug to start tea.   Anyone else appreciate straightforward access to caffeine in the morning?

For me, getting the dishes done at night starts in the morning.  As I'm getting breakfast made, I like to empty the dishwasher.  Then after breakfast I can load breakfast dishes into the dishwasher and wash up any pans.  If the dishwasher isn't emptied I end up with dishes piling up in the sink and no room to wash pans.  It just gets harder and harder to get the dishes done.

So, now you must be thinking I do the dishes every night.  Right?  Nope.  Sometimes I'm tired and I think I'll save the handwashing for the morning.  It sounds like a great idea at the time but is so disappointing to walk into in the morning.  But I'm working on it.  I'm DOING something.  I'm establishing a habit.  And I know that pretty soon I'll be more likely to just get it done than not.

Here's one more great quote from Charlotte Mason

“ What we have practice in doing we can do with ease, while we bungle over that in which we have little practice.
“This is the law of habit, which holds good as much in doing kindnesses as in playing the piano. Both habits come by practice” (Vol. 4, Book 1, p. 208).

This sweet little face in front of the tidy sink makes my day better too :)

What habits do you need to work on?  Where will you start?

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