Patterns are not bad in and of themselves. The term is too general to be so black and white, good or bad.
Patterns are everywhere in nature around us. The growth of a healthy baby in the womb follows a pattern, a blue-print if you will, designed by Yah to form a man.
However, some patterns can be inhibiting and limiting; a stifling of further potential, becoming a road where one gets stuck in the mud and goes no farther, until they are set free.
i heard a man once say something like,
"A habit becomes a groove, and a groove becomes a rut, and and rut becomes a grave."
You could call some of these kinds of patterns: rituals.
Some are seemingly mundane and might not be recognized as rituals by people who have a loftier, more biased, definition of the word "ritual". But i'm speaking of actions, patterns in life that are done robotic and nearly, if not completely mindlessly.
The ritual could be waking up and heading straight for a cup of coffee and a cigarette. Checking email/facebook/instagram like clockwork. Pouring the wine or grabbing a beer after getting home from work. Watching TV. Going through the motions just because, in any aspect of our day, without any real conscious intention, or worse as a mental/emotional/physical escape from the sense and whispering of the new/unknown.
Even prayer can become a ritual. i know. i got into the habit and for literally years, and jumped to my knees instantly when getting out of bed, and before getting into bed too, and at various times throughout the day. Don't misunderstand me, please, prayer is not bad. Praying at all times is good, specifically prayer earnest and fervent and offered not under a sense of obligation.
But for me, what started out as an honest attempt to diligently do this, morphed into a ritual. A ritual some might look at and even praise under misunderstanding, though i hope no one does. Prayer is about real connection, not chanting words we think the Father wants to hear, or listing off the people in our lives.. i know about lists too.. i at one point had a list multiple pages long, with multiple columns on each side of each page; filled with the names of people -people from my past, people from my present, people i didn't even know but came in contact with through some form of media-- it took me so long to go through that list of names on my knees everyday that i would end up numb in the legs, it was literally pins and needles painful for those seconds that felt like minutes as the blood returned to my lowest limbs. i'm not bragging. This was just my reality at the time. And this was a daily session for many months, it went on so long i literally had streams of names memorized together through mere repetition of the ever growing recitation. It got to the point i would (maybe more often than i can even yet see or admit) dread it, and try to get it over with sooner in the day so i could feel the relief when it was over. Because i felt guilty if i didn't do it. Like i was failing Yah, being selfish, and failing those people; as if my ritual was so great and desired by Him! Ha!
Of course i also felt good things while doing my ritual, i did desire to pray for people, and felt seriously that it was the only meager offering i had i give. If you are truly led into it by the holy Spirit, i believe there is nothing wrong with even straight HOURS spent in uninterrupted seriously SINCERE prayer, and if you haven't done it lately i definitely recommend hitting your knees, even if to say nothing at all but to surrender. When done right there is an amazing serenity and stabilizing peace to be found. My experience is not a judgement on others; it is just my experience.. i even think i was sincere some of the time. But in truth, and in the hindsight with which i now see more clearly, it was a ritual, i ritual i somehow put fleshly power and esteem in and subsequently became trapped in.
It was almost like going through some kind of emotional detox, or recovery exiting out of this ritual. Guilt, grief, feeling unworthy, and a bad "christian"; all the enemy's words and shame tried to keep me trapped in this and various other rituals and spiritually unhealthy patterns i found myself in.
i'd rather spend one minute in true fervent prayer over even just one single other who has come to mind in that moment then half an hour reciting a list.
What patterns/rituals are you held captive by?