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Rev Rosie ponders on habits

Rev Rosie Bunn
Rector of All Saints Church, Belton
St Peter & St Paul Church, Burgh Castle

GARDEN WATERING pixabayI wonder, what habits have you acquired over the past few months?
Habits can be good or not so good for us. They are actions or behaviour that develop over time and occur automatically, time and time again. Habits shape our lives. Sometimes we might choose to deliberately cultivate a good habit, but often they can happen unintentionally. For instance, most of us brush our teeth in the morning as part of our getting up, getting dressed, and being ready to face the world routine, and we don’t really think about it. We are encouraged to make a habit of eating five pieces of fruit a day, or having a regular bedtime
Many people have taken up walking in the past year or so, just as a way of getting exercise and out of our own four walls. For many it is a habit, after breakfast or after lunch or in the early evening. If you have a dog, you might have a habit of walking at all three times of the day. We would put that kind of habit into the “good” category. As a church we have introduced online the praying of Morning Prayer (Tuesdays-Fridays) and a weekly gathering to pray for our community and the world; these activities happened less regularly pre-pandemic, but have become good habits that will continue
Some of us might have turned to a habitual glass (or two) of wine every evening, or a chocolate bar or tub of ice cream, and for some this has become an unhealthy habit. Comfort eating and drinking is something we do as people under pressure, but it is not a healthy habit to acquire
What about the new habit of binge watching TV programmes. Tim and I have done that on some of our days off during the winter lockdown; it is so good not to have to wait a whole week for the next programme in the series. But watching Line of Duty and having to wait a whole week to discover what happened next was a reminder that anticipation and patience are actually good for us!
Some habits we had pre-lockdown had to be laid aside, as it wasn’t possible to go to the gym or out for a drink/meal on a Friday evening or see the family on a Sunday afternoon. New physical activities were found, take­aways did a roaring trade, and we discovered the joy of Zoom calls, which didn’t satisfy us completely but were so very much better than nothing
So I wonder what habits you are now picking up again, and what pre-lockdown habits you have laid down, not to be picked up. Tracey has done remarkably well; she stopped smoking last autumn at a time when most of us were finding comfort in our bad habits!
Some of our habits require us to be at certain places at certain times of the day; it could be the habit of attending church every Sunday at the usual time, or meeting together as a Lifegroup to share life and pray every week. It could be a regular attendance at Young at Heart, or the weekly Wednesday Drop-in at the JGI, or an activity class each week. These are the kind of habitual activities that we definitely need to reintroduce, for our own wellbeing
In thinking about my own habits and wellbeing, a familiar reading from the Bible comes to mind: “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3v1) and a well-known Latin phrase carpe diem meaning “seize the day”. Also what Paul, the Apostle, writing to the Christians in Ephesus wrote ”Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time ...”
So may I encourage you to review your habits, whether they be physical or spiritual, emotional or relational, or even your financial habits, as we emerge from lockdown and restricted living, so that the habits you encourage are positive and helpful, and where bad habits have less opportunity to thrive
Note to self: remember to water the plants in the tubs and baskets every day, if not what I want to cultivate will not survive. Likewise my good habits 

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