I was thinking tonight about why it is so hard to do the things we know will make a big positive difference in our lives. For me, that means having a consistent, daily devotional time. I struggle with this …well, daily. I don’t DO it daily, that is. Usually around 3 pm, …er, around my fourth breakdown/ragefest/”doh” moment of the day, I remember that I kind of missed that. If I can manage to get up before the kids, it’s much easier to make that happen. If the kids wake me up, forget anything quiet happening until around 10 am, when Corwin and Amaryah have found something quiet and engaging to do. So, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should. I know, however, that the days I do take the time to do it, it frames my whole day and puts things in perspective and focus. I have a much easier time making the right choices when those choices present themselves.
…Which brought me to my second question. How many times do I miss the fact that a choice has presented itself in the first place, WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING I HAD A CHOICE? I do this way, way too often. It’s usually followed by that feeling of regret and guilt, knowing that if I’d just been present in the moment, I’d have been able to step back and think before I acted. I think a large part of the battle is just being aware of the fact that I’m being called on to be RESPONS-ible in the first place. I’m being called on to make a response to my circumstances. What usually happens, though, is that I focus on the circumstances and find myself too late, knee-deep in the mire of the consequences of responding without thinking. I find myself with 6 less cookies on the plate all of a sudden. I find myself having spent money on something I know I shouldn’t have. I find myself on the couch at 4 pm knowing the dishes won’t do themselves and I haven’t even planned dinner yet. I find myself pounding a stick of butter just out of the fridge because I have to do something to get out the rage I’m feeling because things can’t just quiet down (my thumb is still sore). And I stand there in the after-moment with this feeling of complete stupidity that I didn’t see the choice coming. I am more than very tired of that feeling. So, in summary, It’s finally dawned on me that at least half the battle is being aware of the situation in the first place.
I think that’s the conflict that I couldn’t name when I watched the movie “The Weather Man” with Nicholas Cage (see blog from a long time ago). His character just kept screwing up because he was too entrenched in how miserable his circumstances were to SEE THE CHOICE. I know now that that is why his character drove me crazy. It’s because that’s exactly what I do. Even Paul expressed frustration over being unable to consistently do what was right and so often doing what he knew he shouldn’t. It’s all about getting caught up in the Old Man. The old self that forgets that it really is dead. I think that this somehow relates to the “daily dying to self” thing. So, does salvation mean that the old man is dead (I think I agree with this), or dying, in that we have to continually kill it every moment of the day? Maybe yes to both? …Maybe the first statement describes salvation, and the second, the constant killing the Old Man, relates to sanctification. I think what responding in obedience to the Spirit really is saying is, “Old Self, you know, you are dead, so please shut up and go away.” It’s realizing that I am already really a new person in Christ (that’s by grace), and in responding in obedience, I am really just pointing out the fact that the Old Man is dead already. Lots to think about… Hope someone can follow this. I personally would love to go back and diagram some of my ridiculously convoluted sentences sometime when I have nothing better to do.