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Small Habits, Big Effects: Formed in the way of Jesus

by | Feb 10, 2022

In this week’s video, Justin Whitmel Earley, attorney, and author of the The Common Rule: Habits for Purpose in an Age of Distraction, shares ideas on some small habits that can have an outsized impact on our focus, productivity, and spiritual formation. 

Formation is an important concept. It is essentially the action of forming or the process of being formed. And we are always being formed, whether we realize it or not. How we go about our day, what and who we listen to, read, spend time with, how we adapt at work – these are all forming us.  

If we are to follow Jesus well at work and live in such a way that there is no gap between what we say we believe and what we do, we must be formed in the way of Jesus. We must step back and ask, “how are we being formed? And how do we experience formation in the way of Jesus, that we become more like him in all of life?” 

Paying attention to our habits is key. 

Habits are powerful formational tools, and Justin gives a couple of examples of how small daily shifts can make a significant difference in how we approach the day. Imagine the difference in a workday in which you enter the day filled with God’s love versus needing to find it in your day? What kind of effect would that have on your leadership, stability, creative thinking, risk, and relational attunement? It would be profound. 

We also need habits to make us aware of God’s presence throughout the day. Jesus said that the key to a fruitful life is to abide with him – how do we do that in the busyness of a workday? 

In our Workmatters Institute, participants experiment with a Daily Liturgy, a process that helps them identify a specific habit to help them maintain an awareness of God’s presence throughout the day. Here are a few we’ve seen: 

  • Setting an alarm for a certain time of day to say a quick prayer. 
  • Praying through the calendar on the drive (or before opening the laptop at home). 
  • Asking for an awareness of God’s presence before starting a meeting. 

The point is that these are all intentional efforts to build a habit that forms you into a person who lives and works in God’s presence.  

As you continue your faith and work journey, don’t underestimate the formational power of small daily habits. If you’re looking for ideas on some intentional habits, I highly recommend Justin’s framework. You can learn more at https://www.thecommonrule.org/.

Ben Kirksey

Ben Kirksey is the Chief Operating Officer for Workmatters and Director of Workmatters Institute. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas (2006, Economics and Political Science), and alumnus of Teach for America. He realized a passion for integrating faith and work while at Northstar Partnering Group (now Field Agent™) and subsequently co-founded the Workmatters Institute in 2010, joining Workmatters to lead the Institute full time in 2013.