“What did you do today?”
“We did a math activity and stuff. Then we went outside and played on the swings and stuff. I had my reading group so we read this book together and stuff. And then…..and stuff…..and stuff….and stuff.”
We have discovered this pervasive verbal tic in our home and it is called, “And Stuff.”
At first, I thought it was just one particular child who loves talking. “And stuff” became her go-to descriptive phrase about everything.
Book summaries. TV show summaries. Her daily activity summaries.
No matter the topic, if she is talking, “and stuff” will slip out of her mouth every 30 seconds or so.
But it wasn’t just her. It’s me. It’s other children. Listen to any of us talk for a few minutes and it’s there, this two-word crutch we’re all relying on.
Me: “Did you practice soccer and stuff?”
My Child: “I played on the playground and stuff.”
How the invasion began I cannot say, but I’m onto this pest now. I’m trying to catch that annoying “and stuff” beast in action and toss it out of here for good.
“Maybe shake things up a bit,” my husband suggests, so my daughter tries some other phrases on for size and she feels self-conscious and a bit awkward.
“How was your day?” we ask her.
“I read my book and wrote a story…..et cetera.” She cringes at her purposeful replacement for “and stuff.” Why oh why can’t she just stick with her good old, tried-and-true and oh-so-comfortable descriptor? “And stuff” seemed to work just fine!
Bad habits sneak in with expert stealth and they take over without us noticing most of the time. Then, one day, we realize we’ll have to battle our way on out of there, one intentional choice, one purposeful decision at a time.
Every time we replace “and stuff” with a better description or an alternative phrase over here at our house we’re winning a little victory.
And that’s what these victories look like, daily, moment by moment, intentional. We won’t kick the “and stuff” monster habit by accident.
I need the reminder about habits and their power, so I can be intentional, purposeful and on guard against sin, so I can quickly see and quickly hand bad habits over to the Lord and ask for His power and strength and to overcome them.
But also for this: to know how to walk in step with Christ, to battle the bad, but also cultivate the good.
How can I choose godly disciplines and refresh and renew them whenever they grow stale or stagnant?
Being on guard against sin is good, but being purposeful about pursuing Christ is what makes my faith a living, breathing, growing, thriving part of who I am.
True Christian maturity is so much more than just standing against sin. It is abiding with Jesus. It is becoming more like Jesus.
So I need to know more than just what to stop. I need to know what to do.
I’ve been meditating on this for months, seeking Scripture with my trusty pen in hand to find out what God says we should do continually, always, day and night. What are the Spiritual habits that should define our faith-walk?
But I will hope continually and will praise you more and more.
PRAISE and GIVE THANKS continually.
Therefore, through him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
1 Thessalonians 5:17
SPEAK WITH GRACE always.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.
MEDITATE on His Word day and night.
Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.
Serve THE LORD WITH EXCELLENCE ALWAYS
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always
excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Maybe I’m checking off some spiritual boxes every day, reading my Bible and praying. I’m building spiritual habits and choosing good spiritual disciplines….but am I speaking with grace always?
Do I hope continually?
Far from it! And I won’t be able to do those things ever in this lifetime if it all depends one me.
But Jesus. He is ABLE.
Lord, do this work in me. Reveal the sin, remove the rotten, the diseased, the dead. And do a new work. Plant, cultivate, grow in me this spiritual fruit .