a healthy pattern

My stepdad has pretty cool taste in music. I remember his CD collection ranging from Broadway musicals to Enya and SEAL to The Nitty Gritty Band and Aerosmith. One of my favorites, though, was Phil Collins and his British rock band Genesis.

Genesis released a song called “Abacab” in the early 80s, which reflected the organization of the three different sections of words and rhythms (a, b, and c) that made up the song as a whole. Truth is, most music has its own patterns with verses, choruses, and a bridge. But patterns aren’t just in music…

You can be better at what you do, how you live, what you say, and how you love by recognizing and responding to the patterns you create.

God used patterns in the Bible to teach us about prophecies, how believers should live, and to remind us of his love and his plan. There’s a lot we can learn when we take note of these patterns, so let’s explore a few!

Patterns Are In How You Live And What You Do
I put these together because what you do affects how you live, and how you live affects what you do.

Our culture forces our brains into a pattern that laser-locks us on who we want to be and what kind of life we want to live. If we’re not careful, being stuck in this pattern leads us to the unhealthy life of chasing things not meant for us or even the danger of deciding that what we want is more important than what God needs of us.

Living in a healthy pattern means that you manage your finances wisely, you plan for your family’s future, you actually do what you say you’re going to do, and you take time to learn the teachings of Jesus — and put them into practice!

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Matthew 6:31-33

I think many of our poor choices stem from anxiety that we may stand out from our friends too much, or that we’ll miss something if we don’t. When you feel that rising in you, remember to seek God first. Make that a pattern so that you can be wise and dignified in your decisions as you live and work for the Lord.

Patterns Are In What You Say
There’s not a parent, babysitter, or teacher I know that enjoys repeating themselves. But woven throughout scripture we see repetitive phrases, themes, and actions that remind us that what we say is just as important.

You’ve seen the verse from Luke: “A good man brings things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (6:45). How true is that?!

Almost everything we say is an indicator of how we feel. If we’re not seeking out an emotionally healthy pattern and we’re feeding those monsters of greed, dishonesty, carelessness, pride, and anger, what we say can be damaging. Hurt people hurt people, right?

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29

“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an account for it in the day of judgment.” – Matthew 12:36

If there’s one thing we can say for certain, it’s that God cares about our words just as much as he cares about our actions. Our words aren’t for us; they’re for others. We should wield them cautiously and compassionately so that our life reflects a pattern of generosity and kindness.

Patterns Are In How You Love
This one is a “toughy.” It’s been my experience watching families form or fall apart that we love based on how we’re taught to love. If you grew up in a healthy home that encouraged communication, honesty, and loyalty, research shows that you are more likely to continue that pattern of healthy relationships.

If you grew up in a home that struggled with an addiction, divorce, or trauma or abuse, research shows the opposite. Now, it’s absolutely the case that individuals can break these cycles and succeed, but that’s because they see the pattern they’re likely to create and are self-aware enough to choose another path.

We all know the Bible is a beautiful story of how God loved us SO MUCH that he sent his only Son to die for us, a human sacrifice, so that we might spend our eternity with them in Heaven. He did that. There is no greater love than God’s example. And that theme is woven in and through every story throughout the Old and New Testaments.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.

Ephesians 2:4-5

God’s love is unique in that we did absolutely nothing to earn it. We couldn’t earn it if we tried. When it comes to loving other humans, I think we should try giving the grace that Jesus gave us — although it would be far from the same! Getting into a pattern of loving people well will not only be attractive to the Lord, but it will help you attract others to him. And that’s really the goal, right?

The healthiest thing you can do for yourself it to analyze the patterns you’ve created in your life. You have control over what you do, how you live, how you speak, and how you love. Make it your life goal to align your patterns with God’s — could be your own Genesis!

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