Here’s a life lesson most of us will relate too. “I hate being late,” my friend lamented. “It has been a problem for me all my life.” “Do you really want to change that?” I asked. “Yes, I do,” was the response. “All right, every time you are late to work or anywhere else where you have committed to be at a particular time you must give me twenty-five dollars.”
“No way!” my friend responded. “I would go broke! But I will give ten dollars.” “All right, ten dollars it is. It has to be a large enough amount of money for it to hurt your pocketbook.” “Believe me, that will hurt,” my friend said.
About a month later my friend had become motivated to be on time. In the first week, I received ten dollars from my friend. The next week I received twenty dollars. The third week I received nothing. By the fifth week, my friend had changed a life-long destructive habit. In order for her not to be resentful of me for the money she had to give, we put her money in a jar to be given to a Christian cause. This ensured my motive was for her best interest.
Great story, huh? Os Hillman, of Market Place Leaders (www.marketplaceleaders.org) authored that story. I guarantee you that was the cheapest thirty dollars that lady ever spent. For the first time, she had a plan and a partner to help her change a behavior that her crippled her relationships and productivity at work. That’s not legalism, not freedom!
What is the principle at work here? Until the pain exceeds the fear there will be no change. The discomfort has to exceed the comfort of tolerating the unacceptable. In other words, no pain…no gain. Most of us like no pain….no pain! We won’t change what we can tolerate.
Habits are one of those things that can either work for us or against us. Habits can make you or break you. Habits can be your best friend or worst enemy. Habits are behaviors we do automatically. Habits start out as conscience behaviors that end up being automatic behaviors.
I remember when I was learning how to fly an airplane. At first, I was overwhelmed by all the instruments to watch, the control towers instructions, bringing up the landing gear, adjusting the propeller speed and flying the plane. However, as I begin to fly the plane more and more, these very intentional actions became automatic. I didn’t even have to think about it anymore. I had discovered the power of habit just like the thirty dollar lady.
Habits are hard to form. But, after habits are formed, they can become equally as hard to change. Destructive habits work against us, making life difficult. It doesn’t take long to discover that small, tame little destructive habits can become big, dragon-like large habits. Be wise. You can choose to handle destructive habits or the destructive habits will handle you. The Bible says, “For by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.” 2 Peter 2:19.
Here’s the ten dollar challenge. What are the habits that keep you from becoming all that God wants you to become? Do you desire change enough to be held accountable in a way that costs you something when you fail? Ask a friend or life style coach to hold you accountable in that area that needs change. It could be the cheapest ten dollars, the most expensive ten dollars, and the most invaluable ten dollars you have ever spent in your life…all at the same time.
Church-Community Connection is published weekly in 10 newspapers all over the world. Most of these newspapers are local paid subscription newspapers. The goal of these 450 word articles is to build a bridge to the community through humor, wisdom and changing mental perceptions that the community has of the church.