Many years ago, I was having a conversation with a friend about sweets. I said that there was a time in my life when I would NEVER buy a candy bar at the grocery check-out or stop by the Dairy Queen for a Blizzard in the middle of the afternoon. “But NOW,” I lamented, whined really, “I do it all the time! How did I get here? It’s like the more sweets I eat, the more sweets I eat!”
As we went on talking, we began to realize that the rule appeared to stand in every part of our lives:
- The more we save money, the more we save money.
- The more we exercise, the more we exercise.
- The more we watch what we eat, the more we watch what we eat.
And it works in the other direction as well:
- The less we save money, the less we save money.
- The less we exercise, the less we exercise.
- The less we watch what we eat, the less we watch what we eat.
I know that this is may be a no-brainer for most people. My friend laughed when I kept coming up with more and more examples because for me it was an epiphany. To this day, my friend and I will be talking about something and look at each other and one of us will say, “Well you know the more you ______, the more you ______.”
Who among us hasn’t asked the question, “How did I get here?” THIS is how it happens—in increments so small we barely notice. Many of the behaviors we think of as “habits” (things we do repetitively—good or bad) don’t really remain static. They are either growing in intensity and frequency or diminishing and dying. This is how we find ourselves living under crushing debt (The more we spend, the more we spend!). This is how we find ourselves running marathons (The more we run, the more we run!).
I realize that there’s a lot more that goes into why we do the things we do—psychologically, physiologically. But ever since my epiphany, I have come to believe in this premise more and more. And, I think it offers us a word of caution as well as a word of comfort and grace—especially in our lives of faith:
- The more we pray, the more we pray.
- The less we judge, the less we judge.
- The more we give, the more we give.
- The less we fear, the less we fear.
- The more we love, the more we love.
And on and on it goes . . .