A Minister in Maryland named Ethan Magness wrote an article recently in The Christian Standard that began by saying: “Meaningless repetition can be a dangerous thing. Meaningless repetition can be a dangerous thing. Meaningless repetition can be a dangerous thing. Meaningless repetition can be…” You get the point: meaningless repetition can be a dangerous thing.
His article was about the observance of the Church ordinance Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper. The fact that he is talking about Communion is irrelevant to the idea that meaningless repetition can be a dangerous thing. Just about anything to do with religion or worship can become a problem if it has degraded to meaningless repetition. The key to this is the word “meaningless.” There are plenty of things that are completely healthy about repetition.
The author made several other statements that I found especially thought provoking. The first thing he did was remind me of the old cliché “you are what you eat.” Then he put a spin on it that really does make more sense if you think about it: “you are what you continue to eat.” He later spun his thought to: “you are what you repeat.” I like that idea. I have been known to eat something healthy every now and then, but I am lot more likely to be known by my “normal” eating habits; those things I eat everyday: cheetos and cookies. That’s not a pretty picture, but it is more accurate. My wife sees to it that I eat a few healthy meals a week, but since she does not get the pleasure of seeing me eat every meal, I have been known to eat more bad than good. My glorious figure more accurately reflects those cheetos that I continue to eat than the occasional healthy meal I eat. That said, it is not the process that is the problem…repetitious eating…it is the food I am putting in my mouth.
The article makes a strong point that the power of repetition can also be used for good. He said: “Repetition is the key to becoming physically fit, learning a language, perfecting a skill, and developing spiritual discipline. It is, in fact, essential to all meaningful growth. The wrong repetition can cause injury, but the right repetition brings strength.”
I am not sure where I am going with this other than to say be careful about what you find yourself doing “all the time.” Habits set in gradually and usually without much fanfare. I am not sure why the “good” habits seem harder to do than the “bad” habits, but the fact is we have a choice about both. I certainly understand that it doesn’t always feel that way. There are things in my life for which I feel completely helpless to change and/or overcome. However, I know that my feelings lie, whereas the truth of choice is fact.
How is your speech these days? Think of this in terms of what you find yourself saying out loud to others and the internal conversation you have with yourself. How are your eating habits, both around others and when no one is looking? What do you do with most of your free time? Like most people you might say you don’t have free time; but also like most people I suspect you have more idle time than you guessed. How are your relationships with friends, family and neighbors? Do people know you love them? Do your neighbors your name? Are you in a grumpy rut and just don’t know it?
Meaningless repetition can be a dangerous thing. However, meaningful repetition, which is the way we spend most of our lives, can be a deeply rewarding and positive influence on your life. Remember, you are what you repeat.