I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. -Romans 7:15-20
You’re in good company if you find yourself struggling with something you wish you weren’t doing. It’s okay. It’s normal. You’re human. There is abundant grace. And you are loved every moment, no matter what you’re doing.
With that said, sometimes we really do need to look at a certain behavior and evaluate its usefulness in our lives.
Any time we want to change a behavior that we don’t like or are uncomfortable with or we know isn’t good for us in the long run, we need to be careful not just to grit our teeth and try to quit it cold turkey. That rarely brings about sustainable change. So here are some steps that might help:
What is the actual behavior? Name it.
What benefits is it bringing me, short term and long term?
What need is it filling (or what need am I trying to fill with it)?
What are the ramifications of me continuing to do this?
Why do I enjoy it?
How does it make me feel before/during/after?
Do I want to change/stop the behavior? If so, why?
Do I believe God would like me to change/stop the behavior? If so, why?
If you decide to attempt to bring about change:
How do you want to change?
Are you stopping something?
If so, what are you going to do in its place next time the situation arises?
What will you do if you succeed, some small way to celebrate each time you accomplish what you want?
What will you do if you “mess up”, some small way to reassess the situation, NOT shame yourself?