All throughout the spring and summer of 2020, I read. The daily timeline and load were so different, so gentle to my soul, that I read two books at a time.
I read in bed in the morning and I read outside in the sun in the afternoon. Initially, I didn’t see the recurring book themes. But, by the end of year, I graciously accepted what I gained from the patterns that I saw in the pages.
I graciously accepted that the arrows were pointing toward living differently.
How long does it take to gain a new pattern or habit?
The experts say it takes about 66 days, or two months. I find it humorous that I am writing to you at the first week of March, almost two months from the beginning of the year. Exactly the time in which it takes the brain to learn new habits.
The pattern that spoke to me on the pages of books. The pattern that I have been working quite hard at the last few months. IS. A SET. OF DISCIPLINES. Almost all of the disciples start with S – which I like because most of my closest friends’ names start with S.
My nature is to tell you about all the fails. All the places that I am falling short or plain out forgetting to care about. On the other hand, I could show you my calendar which would evidence the tools and wins that I have experienced as patterns form.
But I will do neither.
Instead, I am sharing with you the dance in my mind and spirit as I live and breathe in new wineskins.
I can’t seem to get away from the parable of the wineskins. It has merged in my mind with Galatians 2:18.
If I rebuild those things that I tore down, I show myself to be a lawbreaker.
Here is what I said in December and in February and now again in March:
You can’t put new wine into old wineskins, or the container will burst. You can’t rebuild what God tore down. Or else. You’ll burst. Or be a lawbreaker. Both sound bad.
I’m finding that the wineskin parable is about creating new patterns and not going back to the old habits that are slowly dying. Remember, new habits take at least 66 days to form, so yes, it is a slow death of the old.
Let’s pause here mamas.
Trying to live in the old is a slow death.
Even if it feels painful, boring, maddening or maybe you’re just too numb or bitter? Even so. Stop for just a moment.
Consider whether you are living and breathing something that was meant to be dead. Write it down right now. Scribble it somewhere. There is always something dead to shed. Don’t be so afraid of the new that you won’t acknowledge what needs to go.
I will tell you what I am trying to let die.
Dead to Shed #1: Missing/Hitting the Mark
I am trying to let die the belief that I haven’t hit the mark as a person when I don’t put in a blow out day at the law firm. I started writing down everything I do in a day in a journal once or twice a week. I am proving to myself that I do a lot at the law firm. That I do a lot in life. Changing my “markers” is a path to changing how I judge the success of the day – which is, in turn, shifting my worth towards the way of Jesus and not the way of Sasha.
I don’t want to kill you with me and my dying beliefs/habits. But. I have three more.
Dead to Shed #2: Impacting the Global Poor
I have been convinced (by one of the authors of one of the books) that, if I don’t spend any money one day per week, then I will positively impact the global poor who are working seven days a week for little pay or as slaves in factories that are producing the stupid stuff I order on Amazon. One day per week of no purchasing could result in one day of rest for one soul. It’s a slow death, but I will do it in 66 days or less.
Dead to Shed #3: One Person/One Moment
I am letting die the notion that impact is measured by big numbers. I am replacing it with a simple trust in God that tells me that intentionality and obedience in this very moment is better than claiming to have faith big enough to cover a whole lifetime. One person and one moment matters greatly.
Dead to Shed #4: Headspace Over Multitasking
I am attempting to let die multitasking in exchange for headspace. I pride myself on doing many things at once. But sometimes I can choose differently. I can drive without Bluetooth tasking, texting or emailing. I can listen to a podcast without grocery shopping on Instacart or planning my week. I can complete a bible study without stopping to text at every whim. How about silence instead of multitasking? I think God has something to say if I just allowed the headspace.
Is the title of this blog starting to make sense?
In the course of the last two months, I initially set out to live by a few new principles that required the carving out of time, adjusting my head space and toning down the pace in my mind. The first month was mostly about intentionality and discipline.
But then something different began to happen. I began to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
In my momentary choices, I began to feel the choice between the old and new habit. The old ways were just not right for the new wineskins. As I felt the conviction and the opportunity to change, it occurred to me that this is more than the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I own these new wineskins. These are my Convictions too.
Sister, here is where I feel peace and joy. As I recognize and acknowledge the fruit, I see how much I like the feeling of agreeing with the Trinity.
My commitment to new patterns and ways of living are my firmly held beliefs – My Convictions. It’s not about running for cover and curling up in a ball as the Holy Spirit convicts, it’s about claiming the Convictions. Living the Convictions. Declaring the Convictions. I feel joy as I claim the Conviction that the Holy Spirit offers me. I like that I can own the change in my life.
I won’t get too mountain toppish here. The reality is that some days I win on a few fronts and lose on others and then it flip flops the very next day. Sometimes I blow air at the conviction of the Holy Spirit and cling to the old wineskins. But I don’t like that feeling in the end.
For some, they say, it can take up to 254 days to form a habit. It takes longer for some of us to “teach” our neurons to fire up over the new patterns instead of the old. I don’t really want to take 254 days to stop contributing to oppressing the poor or multitasking over the voice of the Father. Or, basing worth or value on the vastness of achievements. Right?
What’s your list?
What are your convictions?
What new neurons do you want to fire up?
What are you missing because you’ve got the wrong noise turned up?
Who are you negatively impacting with your actions?
What part of yourself needs to be acknowledged as valuable and what part of yourself needs to turn off or tone down?
Claim Your Convictions. Live Your Convictions. Declare Your Convictions.
Feel joy as you claim the Convictions that the Holy Spirit offers you. You can own the change in your life.