As I sat down to begin my writing session, I noticed with a raise of my eyebrow, my keys were out on the table where any old ne’er do well could snatch them away! In case that isn’t notice enough for you, I am paranoid by nature, and not entirely without cause. I also hold firmly to the belief, just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you! So I sit in this public place with my purse locked between my ankles, keys firmly placed inside, back to the wall, surveying the perimeter every few sentences just to be aware, not just of who is out there but, what their motives are, individually. Yes, it’s pretty crazy in this head of mine. There’s a man to my left, also hunched over his keyboard, and now seeing what I must look like, my back is now straight. I think I could take him, no threat there. The two women on my right happen to be an acquaintance of mine and her business associate, all quiet on the Western front as far as they are concerned. And, the people at the counter are at a negligible distance to be any real worry, unless the spike heels are designed for treachery. I think I’ll leave that comment as is…
There is a reason for my paranoia about my portal openers above the everyday “hard to get home let alone in my house without my keys” dilemma. This keychain also contains my work keys. Some people are able to have two rings, one personal and one business. I already know to separate these keys is a disaster waiting to happen for me. When I signed for my keys I agreed to keep them safe and secure and always be aware of where they are and to notify the key master immediately if they are lost, so locks can be changed, in two separate buildings which include over 20 different points of access! No pressure there!
Whenever I think of that moment, I remember an almost physical weight of responsibility and this deep mental voice, (I have many different ones, but don’t worry, they have yet to argue with each other.) saying clearly in the back of my mind: “With great privilege comes great responsibility.” I am fully capable of the responsibility, mind you. And it brings wonderful freedom of access to the buildings when I need to work any hours and not bother someone to let me in, etc. I have also developed different habits as a result. I get a little panicky if I can’t find my keys at home within 5 minutes. Clearly, if you can’t find the keys you drove home with within 5 minutes inside a 900 square foot house, there are probably other issues adding to your panic level but, that’s a different post.
I also keep my keys handy all the time at work. I have to because of the frequency with which I need to travel between different locked offices and buildings, none of which bothers me in the least. I keep my keys out and no problem.
So at home I tend to have them in my hand when I get home but, not being in work mode I drop them somewhere vague because of two young ones and one not so young one needing me in 6 different ways. Right now, I had them out because of just coming from work, yet not quite making the switch out of work mode.
How many times do I do this with other aspects of my life? Switching from mode to mode without even thinking about it, unless there is some tangible item to remind me? As I sit and ponder this amazing process of instant switches shutting on and off inside my brain, I think of what triggers these different areas on and off. I know when I come home, the way my front door and couch are situated, the first thing I see as the door swings wide, is a picture of my family on a side table and our family bible next to two photo albums of family vacations taken over the last few years. This does two things. It reminds me I am in my own home with my favorite people and, it begs the question of me, have I spent any time in God’s word today? It’s a habit to open the door to these thoughts and it instantly floods my mind with domestic type thoughts of dinner, loved ones, prayer, and cleaning instead of deadlines, schedules, meetings, and cleaning (I work with children, one can never clean enough!). Although I’m not always aware of the thoughts washing over my brain like a tidal wave and switching off work mode, I would instantly know if any of those items were not there to greet me. I have other habits that are not so helpful.
I am constantly frustrated by my habit of procrastination. Right now, I need to call the dentist and reschedule a cleaning for the second time for the same reason. In fact, I just paused my typing to call them and so I can scratch that off the list, see I can be taught! There are other things that would be so much more pleasant if I just took care of them as they happened instead of waiting until just before whatever deadline approaches and I go into intensity mode. I’m getting better, I’ve been alive long enough now to chart the progress. It’s more akin to charting the migratory patterns of a snail but, I’m confident I’m still moving in a forward pattern. I’m reading through the Bible in a year, and wow, I’m only one month into it but, it’s good! I need some habits, like setting time with God’s Word as a priority. If I say I really love Him more than anything else, why aren’t I spending time with Him more than anyone or anything, else?
Which way are you moving? Are you caught up in the momentum of habits either good or bad, or do you have fail safes in place to keep you grounded in the moment? What triggers your behavior patterns and how can you change them, if in fact they need changing? Remember habits are formed by repetition, which usually requires some physical action from you, not just thinking about doing something but, actually acting it out, repetitively. Did I mention you have to repeat an action if you want it to become a habit? Public speakers often repeat a key phrase or point to make sure it sits in your head for a while, and you probably don’t even realize they’re doing it! What do you do absent minded? Is it helping or hindering you?