Yesterday as I walked into a fast food restaurant, I realized I had passed a number of people without giving much thought to them. I was a man on a mission, but I was also in mental fog flying on autopilot, taking the people around me for granted. Like most people, I tend to take life for granted—a lot. Meaning that I can easily go through long stretches of the day giving little thought to the important things of life—things that I should be centering my thoughts on.

Once the day begins, I start to move on autopilot. My morning routine’s pretty much always included letting the dog out, making coffee, praying, spending some time in the Bible, breakfast, showering, shaving, and dressing for work—oh, and add in a little more coffee. I admit it; I’m clearly a creature of habit.

My habits don’t stop there either; they continue throughout my workday. I have habits that involve the route I take to work, the tasks I do at work, and the order in which I do them. I have a routine when I eat, when I make phone calls, in the way I mow the lawn and wash the car. The list is endless, and the older I get the more it grows, but living on autopilot tends to cause me to take life for granted.

It’s not that habits are bad; of course, some can be, but habits are supposed to be ways to free our minds from the mundane so we can use our mental energy to focus on more important matters. But if we aren’t careful, the habits can allow us to be swallowed up by routine as we blindly go through life on autopilot, taking everything for granted.

I don’t want to take life for granted, and I certainly don’t want to be that way with family, friends, and others. The key to breaking the pattern is to push the “Stop” button, step back, and give active thought to what we are doing. It’s what I need to do so I can “give careful thought to my ways.”

Proverbs 4:26 (NIV)  Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways…

Proverbs 14:8 (NIV)  The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways…”