Based on past experiences, I didn’t have very high hopes for the new year, but I still had some goals. I was trying to be realistic, yet hopeful. So far, I have proved to be almost a complete failure in the change department. I’ve wanted to get my life more organized. I’m not looking for rigidity or even perfection. (I gave up that dream long ago!) I just need order and can’t seem to get it these days.
I wanted a regular bedtime that would be close to normal even when I worked. (I work the 3PM to 11 shift.) It seems that no matter what I do, that isn’t happening. Obviously, these things don’t just “happen”. I come home from work, take a shower, grab a warm chai and sit down to catch up on my computer. I occasionally write a post. I watch the clock. “It’s a little after midnight. Okay, you have about 30 minutes, at the most 45 more minutes to go and then to bed!” The next thing I see is a clock that says 1:45! I get in the middle of a project and forget that there is such a thing as time!
Then there is the exercise thing. I love walking. It helps me in many ways. It keeps my weight under control (and I’m all too aware that it is NOT right now) but it also is a great help in managing stress.
Now I can drive. I planned to drive each morning last week to the mall to walk (we’ve had bad weather). How many days did I make it? One. I got doing things around the house (and they weren’t even important!) and didn’t get there before I had to go to work.
LITTLE DAILY CHOICES NEEDED FOR LASTING CHANGE
I read something very helpful this week re change. The writer (Simple Mom) said (much better than I’m telling you) that when we need to change, we must realize that change that will last, is made up of many little daily decisions to say “no” to some things and “yes” to something else. The ability to change is not dependent on the big decision, but on all the little daily decisions we make. I know this to be true from past experience. I find that I rarely say “No” to myself anymore.
LEARNING TO SAY “NO” TO YOURSELF
“Do you want a cookie?” “Yes”.
“Do you want to keep working on the computer?” “Yes”.
I don’t stop and think about what I’m saying “No” to.
Do you want to keep working on the computer? “No, because I want to spend more time with Ron/reading x book that has helped my spiritual development/exercising/ministering to x by doing y”…you get the drift?
WHAT ARE YOUR “YESES” SAYING “NO” TO?
I impulsively answer the question without stopping to think about the other side of it. With each “Yes”, what am I saying “No” to? Often, that clarifies whether I’m making the best choice. Am I choosing to encourage my husband and build oneness in my marriage? Am I choosing to read things that will build my christian life and strengthen my character? Am I choosing to spend time building relationships with children, friends, grandchildren, acquaintances? Or am I choosing to isolate myself from others in a safe place to protect myself from the possible pain of relationships that are risky? Of course, there is nothing wrong with taking time out from people to refresh and recoup. There is a place for that. We just need to find a balance.
In order to be intentional and live my life according to the goals I have in my head and from God’s Word, I need to be sure I’m saying “Yes” to the right things. In my experience, I find that the hard choices aren’t between good and evil. The most difficult choices are between good and best.
The one thing I do know in the middle of my own failure is that God is faithful. He will give me the strength to change. My motive to change is not to make myself more pleasing to Him, more worthy of His love. My motive for change is because He is my Father, I am His dearly loved daughter by virtue of His grace. It has nothing to do with my deserving of it…fortunately…because I will never be able to earn it on my own merit!
HOW IS 2011 GOING? ARE YOU NEEDING GRACE TO MAKE THE BEST CHANGES? MAY GOD HELP US!
Martha, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and have been trying to address similar issues in my own life. Looking forward to talking to you soon.
glad it was helpful. let me know when it is convenient for you. that number was my phone# minus the area code. bye for now.
Martha, This was really good for me this morning. I was feeling the same way about what I choose to do. Thank you! Love, Carolyn
glad it was helpful carolyn. how are you holding up in that blizzard?
I love this article!!! Not just the content but your delivery. You go girl!