Being Formed By Your Commute?

There’s an interesting piece by Dan King over at The High Calling about how “going on autopilot” can be both a good and a bad thing. He mentions studies that support the idea that breaking out of our “autopilot” routines – the 95% of the things we do throughout our day without thinking about them – can boost our creativity and help us see our lives, our relationships, and our families in new ways.

One thing he gestures at but doesn’t talk about as much is something James K.A. Smith talks about in his book Desiring the Kingdom: we are “formed” in particular ways by the practice that we engage in on a daily basis. Sure, we do some things repeatedly in order to form ourselves into particular sorts of people (for instance, reading the Bible and praying every day). But as Jamie says, even when we’re not aware of it, the things we do every day can mold and shape our identities. So having a habit of listening to certain music while I commute or checking my email before I go to bed can (can being the operative word here) turn me into a person whose identity is shaped by those things.

Anyhow, Dan’s piece is worth reading, as is Jamie’s book. What do you think?

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  • markdroberts

    Now that is something to think about. I agree that we are formed by the things we do, our habits, if you will, even those that seem trivial. Your email example is a good one. I used to check email before bed, “just in case.” But there were downsides to this practice. Sometimes, I’d get a critical email that would ruin my sleep. But, even more dangerous, I was turning myself into a “work around the clock” kind of person, rather than someone who was practicing godly rhythms of work, rest, and play. I was still “Mark the worker” at 11:30 at night, and often after that, too. Thanks, Alyssa, for this post and link.