I have some great life advice to share with you that was shared with me… and it’s been on our wrists all along! I give you the acronym ‘WATCH’!
W = Words
A = Actions
T = Thoughts
C = Character
H = Habit
Watch your WORDS
Watch your ACTIONS
Watch your THOUGHTS
Watch your CHARACTER
Watch your HABITS
And the more I look at this acronym in the light of virtue I see each word is not something singular and to be conquered on its own, but each is interconnected to one another. By culminating virtues through ‘WATCH’ we don’t just strengthen one but several simultaneously.
What a wonderful acronym to wear, and how intrinsic and useful to live a virtuous life. We pursue virtue, but with that means we must be self-aware … deeply self-aware.
Every time we check the time, consider the acronym in that moment. Let us consider if we are placing virtue and Christ in the present. We should consider which virtues we are struggling with in the minute, hour, day or week, finding where we are weakest, and then asking Christ to take us by the hand and help us, with grace and patience.
Remember that mastery of virtue requires we start at a place of reflection and self-awareness. And sometimes it’s actually really hard to see the truth…We need to be really open and honest with ourselves – there’s necessity to comb our hearts.
Maybe we are reacting poorly to someone else’s success because we are jealous? Maybe we are causing gossip by our loose words and thoughts? Maybe we are not living in service for others, because of building selfishness? Maybe we are losing self-esteem because we are dropping routine, getting sloppy with exercise, organisation, tidiness, prayer or late nights? Maybe our struggle with virtue is merely from fatigue, and therefore need genuine #selfcare and time out with God. Find the root of the issue – find the actual cause that is destroying our peace and hindering our plight for virtue.
One of the simplest ways I try to implement the cultivation of WATCH is by persevering in good habits, particularly managing a holy morning routine. Waking earlier, fitting in time for scripture, prayer and some exercise. Watching my habits has certainly helped form better character, with more meditative prayer time and exercise to put myself in a good mood. Starting the day with positivity and the mulling of the Word of God as I go about my day certainly assists in cultivating virtue gradually. By focusing on habit, it has holistically assisted in bettering my words, thoughts and actions. There are plenty of times I fail terribly, but I can’t expect to be perfect on my own.
Where the mastery of virtue comes into effect is not by struggling on alone, but to humbly ask Jesus to meet you where you find yourself. Meet you right where you are at, and ask Him to draw you up to a better position, and to do it with Him and for Him. Get out of bed for Him, exercise for Him, feed the family for Him, love for Him. If you are willing, He is willing in the smallest of things. And He’ll do it instantly if you need it in the moment for others.
So let’s consider when we put our favoured timepiece on in the morning, to dress in the acronym as well. Carry it into all the environments we are faced with and people we may encounter daily. Let’s master virtue one word, action, thought, character trait and habit at a time.
Written by Grace Feltoe
Grace Feltoe is the social media and marketing manager for Virtue Ministry and the Living Fullness Podcast. She is also a sacred liturgical musician, and founder and director of Gloria Dei – The Musica Sacra Project. She loves music, theology, apologetics and her faith, particularly late at night to the detriment of her sleep, and is currently living in Portugal, Europe.