Dogs are creatures of habit just the same as people. Unless we have a visiting son sleeping on the living room couch, the dogs sleep in our bedroom doorway or at the foot of the bed. With both my wife and I beginning the day with coffee, the dogs know my wife will head to the kitchen once she puts her robe on. With the lady in tow, both dogs head to the kitchen for their “morning” biscuit. Satisfied, both will then sit at my feet waiting impatiently. With the new year, whether or not I make time for a little morning (or evening) aerobics or dumbbell lifting at home, Dexter and Comet have a vested interest in my keeping an exercise habit. This begins with their dog-walk before I sit down at my computer.
Habits change into character.Ovid
Two poor habits I am intent on breaking, eating sweets and consuming social media’s negative content are top priorities this year. With a kitchen cabinet full of baking supplies and a sheaf of printed Internet recipes, the former will require will power. Over the last two days, I quit that temptation by consuming the two remaining lemon custard puddings I made during the holidays and the bit of home-made bread from New Year’s Eve. Inadvertently that benefitted a habit preventing food going to waste but not my caloric intake.
As for the latter, social media, I muted several old acquaintances rabidly political on Facebook and others on Twitter. Then I inadvertently saw a headline on January 6th proclaiming a mob invaded the US Capitol building. Weakened, I walked away.. The remedy required a cup of hot chocolate topped with an inch of mini-marshmallows. The dogs knew I needed real stress relief. They both lead me to the basket where I keep their leashes. Exercise and limiting unhealthy snacking and sweets are good habits physically, Writing this blog instead of following social media or listening to news, helps calm my restless mind. Going for long walks with Comet and Dexter helps us all be healthier.
Yet I believe there is another habit we should follow for spiritual fitness. I confess I need to be more consistent in that area. Once the dogs become accustomed to me adding a set time for prayer and study to my daily routine, they will help me remain focused. We already have a set routine after a dog-walk. Habitually giving them a dog biscuit before emotional or spiritual exercise will allow me at least twenty or thirty minutes of uninterrupted peace.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19, NIV)