Saturday, January 08, 2005

How it’s been going

I’ve had a varying amount of success with my resolutions. Here is the score so far:

#1 Morning devotions. 90%

#2 Time with the kids. 10%

#3 Become financially independent. 1%

#4 Stop hurting women! 50%

#5 Vulgarity in the workplace. -10%

So I’ve managed to actually get up before the kids every day this week and read and pray. I knocked off 10% for Tuesday morning when the alarm went off, I turned it off, said forget it, and started to go back to sleep. Then a strange thing happened: I couldn’t fall back to sleep. And a chorus from a song started playing over and over in my head. It’s a hardcore anthem that goes, “Pick up your cross! Get back in the fight! (repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat…)” So after about 10 minutes of that I got up and had the worst devotion I have ever had. I literally had to think for 4 to 5 seconds between words. It was like trying to run a race through a swamp. The rest of the week was easier. But knowing how hard the mornings are for me, I went to bed with the kids every night at 8. Asleep by 9. So I really didn’t accomplish anything artistically, or with the kids because I came home, made dinner, cleaned up, read stories, and went to bed. Every night. Resolution 2 didn’t happen because I was so focused on number 1. I’m contemplating following the spirit of the first resolution rather than the letter of it, by finding another time in the day where I won’t be interrupted by kids to be with God. I don’t think there is anything super magical about the morning. It just works well for most people and there is no better way to start the day than with God. So I’m going to play it by ear for a bit.

I took the first step towards financial independence by meeting with an elder of my church for lunch on Wednesday. We talked about my future, the ex wife, and a lot of the stuff I explore on this blog. I also brought up the money issue I’m having. So I am going to be bringing my finances to a group of elders for prayer. And they will try to help me figure out what I need to do for God to meet my family’s need.

I’ve had some success with resolution 4. No new women have been stepped in front of the train wreck that I am. But I still haven’t figured out how to not send mixed signals to my co-worker. It’s really hard to just act like a normal friend when someone is so exceedingly nice to me. I have to fight all my impulses to be exceedingly nice back. I think I’ve made some strides this week, but still have to dial it in. One thing I don’t want to do is become suddenly cold. I don’t even think I’m capable of that.

Number 5… Well… Ok, maybe I haven’t actually been worse than usual. But I sure haven’t been able to rein it in at all. I think the problem is that I like to joke a LOT. And to sustain the volume of humor that I put out, I have to resort to the cheapest kind. Which is usually vulgar. So I’ve got to figure out why I am so compulsive about joking. Maybe it’s a center-of-attention thing. Maybe it’s a way to stay awake. Maybe it’s because I like to make people happy, and laughter is a quick fix. It’s probably all of that. Well, I’ll see how next week is. They say it takes 3-6 months to build a good habit. Hopefully it won’t take that long. Here is a great quote from C.S. Lewis I just read today that is directly applicable:

“I know all about the despair of overcoming chronic temptations. It is not serious, provided self-offended petulance, annoyance at breaking records, impatience etc. don’t get the upper hand. No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us: it is the very sign of His presence.”

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