Let's Get Free

Something Has to Change: Episode 14

Meggan Stephens

3/6/20247 min read

low light stage microphone photography
low light stage microphone photography


Multiple studies throughout recent decades have provided conflicting information regarding the time it takes to form a habit. Some have stated it takes only twenty-one days to form a habit while other studies claim habits form after sixty-six days. Then there's the 21/90 rule, which states twenty-one days forms a habit and ninety days creates a permanent lifestyle change. Regardless of what has been said, Stephen says one thing is certain, "Habits are hard to break, so create the best habits possible."

What are your habits?

It's been said many times over, we are creatures of habit. Whether those habits are good or bad, we have a tendency to practice things regularly. As humans, we crave structure and routine, though we don't always recognize it. It's important to not only identify our habits, but the "why" behind them. For instance, smoking is a bad habit typically done as a coping mechanism for reducing stress or anxiety. On the other end of the spectrum, starting each morning with warm lemon water is a good habit that benefits the body's digestive system, metabolism, and promotes hydration. What are some habits you've developed in thought and in action? Are they benefitting or harming you?

Habitual Habits

Stephen presents what seems to be an oxymoron in the statement, "Not all habits are habitual." Habitual habits are automatic or routine behaviors, most often put into action by a cue or change in situation. An example of a habitual habit is the movement your right foot makes when approaching a stop-light. Without thought or hesitation, you will slow down the car by moving your right foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal as to avoid a collision. Another example is putting on your seatbelt before driving. These behaviors are a response generated by the procedural memory, also known as the implicit memory.

Procedural Memory

Procedural memory is a type of long-term memory which aids in the performance of certain tasks or skills. It operates on an unconscious level, responding from previous experiences. The more you practice something, the more it becomes embedded into the procedural memory. It become a practice for success. Committing habits to the procedural memory is crucial for maintaining habits.

In order to maintain or break a habit, there must be a conscious override of your mental state. Beginning any new practice is always exciting. However, the third of fourth day becomes the time when we lose the drive to continue. A diet, for example, can be going great for three days. By that third day, your body is going to be screaming for something you know you shouldn't eat. Consciously overriding the mental state takes intentionality. Continuing good habits will lead to happiness.

On the contrary, continuing bad habits will lead to sadness and depression, in which there is a significant difference. Stephen expresses sadness as a response to a situation such as not being invited to a party. There's an evident reason behind the emotion. Depression is more mysterious, making it's appearance suddenly without rhyme or reason. If you're finding yourself sad or depressed, it's important to once again, examine your habits. Chances are, you're not prioritizing proper self-care practices.

Love for Self

We've all heard the saying, "You can't pour from an empty cup." Many of us mothers have adopted this saying as a justification to practice self-care in a sense of hair and nail appointments along with $6 iced coffees on our way to fill our buggies at Target. Although these things are fun and can provide a form of stress relief, it's not exactly the type of self-care the host is referring to. There is a love for self that contrasts simply being kind to one's self. It's a practice of taking time out of your day to invest in your mental health.

As a mother, this sort of task can seem impossible. My children are seven, eleven, and twelve, and I still find myself begging to be left alone in the bathroom or the shower from time to time. I recall doing the same thing to my mother and grandmother up until they passed, so much so that they jokingly called the bathroom the "meeting place." Ironically, for me, this is the place I tend to hear God the clearest. In a sense, it's become my "meeting place" with my Father. Probably because it's one of the only times during my day when I can be in complete silence, until one of my children asks for a snack or can't find a pencil.

Back to the point, self-love should be innate. Self-loathing is so common that the world has now normalized it in a way as to say you're odd if you don't experience it from time to time. However, we never once see Jesus in the Scriptures talk about how much he hated Himself. Nor do we see him destructing Himself from His purpose and will. Instead, we see Him depart from His disciples to go up into the mountain and pray. Even the Savior Himself took the time to elevate His mind. In the same way, He wants us to elevate our minds, to come away from harmful habits of self-destruction in our thoughts and actions.

Jesus, Deliverance, & Salvation

God is ultimately trying to lead us to a place of mental health and stability through deliverance, which is quite literally Jesus Himself. Yeshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus meaning "Salvation." Salvation means deliverance. What is he trying to deliver us from? What he is trying to deliver us from is the mental thought process of earthly, worldly thinking that will not lead to our healing, to being set free, or living a better mental and spiritually healthy life. This is the purpose of salvation. In essence, Jesus came here and was crucified in order to set us free from sin, to bring us to a place of wholeness and a sound mind.

He is offering you wisdom, will you receive it? When you can hear wisdom and take it, you're benefitting your own soul. If you can hear wisdom and leave it, you are essentially hating yourself, leaving yourself to your own destructive ways. Hear the wisdom that is calling you today, get set free, and help others get set free in return.

Damage Recovery

On the journey to freedom, there will always be damage. Many of us have lost people we've cared about, but hasn't everyone? Many have experienced absolutely horrendous things in this life, but someone else has as well. We're all subject to the evils of this world as said in Ecclesiastes 9:2. Both good blessings as well as evil horrors happen to the wicked and to the righteous. This isn't punishment, it's simply the blows that come along with life. The darkness and pain can leave you damaged and broken. However, you don't have to remain as damaged goods.

Though you may be damaged, you don't have to stay that way. Everything that is broken can be repaired. Are you willing to fix it, to recover? The biggest part of recovery is looking forward rather than backward. As the host said, to revisit your pain a thousand times is to die a thousand deaths. Every time you look back at the incident, you condition your mind to relive the pain. Recovery is difficult, but it's also possible.

Something Has to Change

The "something" we need to change this week is our frame of thinking. Stephen leaves us with three new frames of thought. We must get set free and maintain a delivered, restored, and set-free self-image. When I lost my mother to her addiction, I spent a lot of time going through her belongings. In doing so, I found my drug-of-choice amongst her items. In that moment, my set-free self-image was put to the test. Having been delivered from drug addiction just two and half years prior, Satan tempted me in a way that was not only mental as previous times, but physical. In a moment of unfathomable weakness in my life, God reminded me of the strength He had deposited within me the day He granted me healing and restoration. It was in that moment that I truly realized that He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world, and with God, all things are possible.

This brings me to the second new frame of thought. Remember that things that are hard are not impossible. The strength that God grants surpasses any human strength we could muster up. True strength to stand against the tricks of the enemy comes from the Father. Whether you're dealing with difficulty waking up early or difficulty fighting thoughts of suicide, it's not impossible to overcome either one. Nothing is too big or too small to bring to our Father.

The third thing is this: In all you improve in life, make the greatest improvements on yourself. I love the question Stephen ended this episode with. "What good is it to improve the world around you and neglect to improve yourself?" What does it matter the good you've done in your career, ministry, or outreach if you're left as the worst version of yourself? Improve yourself. Become mentally stable, loving who you are and who God has designed you to be. Love God, love yourself, and love others.

Contemporary Speaks, a mental health podcast, is continually providing weekly opportunities to discuss all things good. Each discussion provides tools to help us out in conquering the battles we face in our day-to-day endeavors. In another episode of Something Has to Change, the host, Stephen, enlightens us on the importance of maintaining good habits, what it means to truly love one's self, and how to recover from the inevitable damage brought on by the trials and tribulations of life.

Three New Frames of Thought to Hold:
  1. Maintain a delivered, restored, and set-free self-image.

  2. Remember that things that are hard are not impossible.

  3. In all you improve in life, make the greatest improvements on yourself.

Want to dive deeper?

Watch the full episode