You CAN Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

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Confession:  It took me 42 years to make flossing my teeth a consistent habit in my life.

When I was kid, I never flossed.  And brushing my teeth took about 10 seconds…just long enough to get the taste of the toothpaste and that minty fresh feeling in my mouth. I never knew what the big deal was because each time my parents took me for a check-up, I came out with a great report.  No cavities!

In fact, I didn’t get my first cavity in life until I was 26 years old.  Once that happened, I then made it a habit to floss the night before my dentist appointments. The hygienist used to ask,  “when was the last time you flossed?” and I could honestly answer: last night.  But then hygienists started getting smarter because, for the last few years, their question has changed to, “how often do you floss?”  Um…not as often as I should?

But this all changed about a year ago when I had my routine visit to the dentist (aka the tooth police) and I didn’t have one cavity… I had four. Four!

“You need to floss regularly.” The tooth police insisted.

Sigh.  The tooth police were right.

So, I made this sign and hung it on my bathroom mirror.

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It only took a month or two.  I am happy to report  that I don’t need a silly sign to be my cheerleader anymore, it’s become a consistent habit in my life. I’ve been flossing daily for a little over a year now…and I’ve grown to actually like it. I like that I am doing something proactive and healthy for my teeth.

I was thinking about this new habit in my life compared to my quiet time every morning.  I am one of those crazy people who like to get up at 5:00am.  Years ago, after spending about a decade trying to navigate life on my own, I came back to seeking the Lord’s guidance in my life. Like my teeth, it kind of took getting to a point where I knew I desperately needed to take that step.  I had made a mess of my life and didn’t want the “decay” to continue.  I wanted to be on a healthy path.  Waking up every morning to spend time with the One who could make that possible for me became a priority in my life.  Since making this shift, amazing things have happened in my life too.  He’s shown me some beautiful things. He’s challenged me to bring Him things that I first didn’t want to bring Him…but was so grateful I finally did! It’s a been a cool journey of getting to know my Creator, the Author and Perfecter of my life.

I know there are some days when my heart isn’t in it. I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, so to speak. But, I never regret making the choice to spend time with the Lord.  It’s kind of like morning stretching exercises for my soul. It wakes me up. It changes my  outlook.  I am always glad I showed up .

This post is part of a link up on Spiritual Disciplines over at The High Calling.

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