May the peace of Christ be with you.
We are made in the image and likeness of God and I believe that the Lord placed a seed of desire to bear His likeness in the core of our being. And that seed needs to be watered so we can grow according to how He fashioned us. “You shall be holy for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16
Know that the Lord is honored with your desire to overcome favourite sins.
If I may share a bit, I spent 17 years in a Catholic community of single people and the close to 300 or more chances to listen with single ladies over a heart -to-heart talk in regard to their life’s journey with the Lord made me realized that one of the greatest joys of a single person can experience is the freedom from sins. God does not want us to live in sins not because He wants to burden us in choosing holiness but actually is opposite. Sins will rob us the chance of living a life to the full because sins make us fearful, sins cause us to live in guilt, sins cause us to hide, sins will rob the peace in our being. I will be honest that during the course of that 17 years of heart-to-heart talks with single ladies, I came to conclude that most of time the feeling of emptiness, loneliness is rooted in a sin. Most of those times, I sensed the sin of selfishness.
I am not claiming that I am perfect neither near to perfect holiness. Just like you, I am a work in progress, too. There was a time that I have to travel to a church far from my parish so the priest who will give me the sacrament of reconciliation would not recognise me. That’s how bad my sin was and how badly I need grace to change.
Bad habits die hard and I know all my efforts to change would fall short without the help of the higher mercy of God. He is the reason why we want to change permanently so I need to stick with Him. I remembered having that desire of complete freedom from that sin because of one thing – I don’t want to lose my room in heaven in which Jesus has prepared for me in advance. (“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John14:2 )
A few months ago as I came for mass, I realized that I am celebrating few years of my “sunshine” anniversary. I called that breakthrough as “sunshine”, freedom from shackles of that sin. I can’t help but be grateful again and be filled with joy. The desire lingers but now the power to dismiss it is stronger. Thank You, My Saviour. *Tears*
The fight to overcome sin can be frustrating but the “living water” is true and free for our use. But rejoice, my sister for your efforts are not in vain. The Lord wants you to be totally freed and He is able to do it with your cooperation and will!
Here are the three major steps that I did in my fight to overcome that sinful habit and I pray it will work for you, too:
1. Name the bad habit. We can only fight anything that we can identify. Example, adultery, laziness, cheating, lying, pornography, masturbation, stealing, gossiping, etc.
2. Always bear in mind the consequences of that bad habit. Example, adultery ruins a family and can bring long term misery to children. Do you want to be bear that guilt to be a co-owner of that sin?
3. Reflect on the life of King David.
4. Always remember that God will never give up on you. So, don’t give up on Him through seeking of the sacrament of reconciliation each time you fall.
5. Share it to a trusted friend who you will pray for you and knows your progress. Someone who will be spiritually accountable to you.
6. Create your own calendar of progress. There is a deep encouraging effect when you check that box of not committing the bad habit.
7. Observe yourself the trigger point in committing that bad habit. Example, gossiping everytime you are with these certain friends. So, avoid their company. Or, come in contact with them with other friends. Another example is pornography in the internet. So, bring your PC out of the room or never use a PC when you are alone. Or, the desire to dwell in pornography everytime the stress is high. So, manage your personal stress and clearing your anxiety through prayers, spending quiet time at the adoration Chapel and fellowship with family or fríends. ( I remember falling in love with Jesus all the more through spending an hour in the adoration Chapel every day.)
8. Celebrate your baby steps progress by creating a grateful heart. You can opt to celebrate by attending Mass and experience the joy of receiving the body of Christ.
9. Determine your “way out” so you will not commit the bad habit. You way out is the alternative option that will prevent you from being in that occasion for sin. Example, adultery. Change work or location of home so you can resist it. (“Resist the devil and he will flee from you”. James 4:7)
10. Share your victory and journey with someone who is going through the same struggle. In that way, you will relive each day in your commitment to stay in His freedom.
Bad habits die hard, but, with sincere and continued efforts, the shackles of bad habit will weaken and freedom of righteousness is possible. The Lord will not allow anyone who is fighting for His glory to be futile.
You are in my prayers. Reflect and keep the armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18). Or better ask Jesus to place it in you.
Love and Beauty,