How many times have you heard that phrase? Hundreds of times probably. Well maybe that is an exageration...but a lot I bet. And I know you know what it means. I have been mulling it over ever since my pastor was talking about it in the sermon yesterday. I want to be a new person. I want to be like Christ. And yet I see myself doing the same things every day - these things actually undermine my efforts to be more like Christ.
I have a problem though. I have a tendency to get pumped up about things....go full force and burn out because I am overwhelmed and not seeing change fast enough. Then I give up. So I figure that plan doesn't work...it's time to try something new. More in the line of little at a time so I can go the distance. After all...I believe it was my cross-country coach that told me I was built for endurance, not for speed. And that was when I was 16. After three kids - well...you know it's true. That makes me laugh though...oh to have that 16 year old body again! Of course I am talking spiritually more than anything - though it certainly has physical connotations as well - and anyway - I digress...though not really - it all kind of ties in together as you will see.
I believe the most valuable and important thing I can do for myself spiritually is get up and read the Word and pray first thing every morning. I am a morning person and this is important to me - and I have always felt whatever you do the first 10 minutes after you get out of the bed pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the day. But I do not always live that way. I am certainly not saying this is the way it has to be for everyone - but I do believe that for me, it is important. It provides a foundation and gives me a good foundation for my day.
So how does this apply with taking off the old and putting on the new? Well, there will be no more of this getting up and getting on the computer first thing. No more piddling around coddling myself with what I think I deserve. I prove over and over again that I am an idol to myself. Self worship is an everyday part of my life...this is also probably the basis of some of my other problems as well. I have asked God to help me be aware of when I am in the midst of self worship.
Physically the best thing I can do for myself is drink my water, back off on the soft drinks and eat better. Make better choices. But I do believe that one thing at a time is better. So I choose to get in the habit of drinking my water. I think I also want to eat before 6:00 or not at all. This will take preparation and may pose a bit of a problem since my husband does not get home until 6:00 most nights. But there are ways I can get around that. I can sit at the table and talk with them while drinking water. And getting to bed on time. 10:oopm should be the latest I get up if I am going to get up at 5:30am. But herein is a example of my overzealous tendencies. I probably should just work on the water and the bedtime for at least three weeks - then add another good habit while continuing with the drinking water and bedtime.
But mainly my desire is to change the way I think about myself. I do believe that I see myself as a victim most of the time. This is a mentality that much of America believes is true. And I REALLY hate that mentality and yet here I am living it. I think I deserve to give in to my desires because it is hard being a Mom to three boys. I think I deserve to sit and watch whatever TV program I want to watch because my life is unbelievably busy and beyond my control at times. These things in and of themselves are not bad. My problem is - I take a little and I run with it. This must change. I need to have guidelines for myself and stick to them.
My first victory came when in the middle of writing this I wanted something to eat. I kept thinking about the Doritos I put in the kids lunch boxes. I also am not feeling well, I think I have Brochitus and when I am feeling poorly I am especially susceptible to letting myself off the hook...not just on one thing...but on everything. I use it as an excuse. I took a trip to the kitchen to get some - but I remembered what I was writing about. I went and got 10 almonds instead. The guideline I followed? Doritos are a big no-no. I really can't eat just one. I do better to abstain. I know - not quite the yum factor of the Doritos but much better for me and I am satisfied now. So I consider that a victory.
This will be a process but the scripture I keep thinking of is when Paul talked about buffeting his body for the sake of the race.
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Now granted he is talking about living out what he has preached to those around him. His desire is to serve others and to win them to Christ. But he is also talking about self-denial in order to become more Christ-like. His desire is to be held accountable and to live by the rules he made so that he would not fail in his ministry to others. I see this and identify well with it. It is my desire as well.
Self-control is a precious thing. And one I do not exercise. I desire to change that - for the sake of being Christ-like and not being an idol to me. That is what I want to see changed more than anything and I lay it before you so that you can help me do it. I have laid down my desire - I pray that I will be reminded of this when I am tempted to give in when I feel bad, or feel sorry for myself so that I will not fall into the same victim mentality because after all....
2 Timothy 1:7
7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
I can do this...one moment at a time, one bad habit at a time...
Off with the old and on with the new...
You know I am going to have to read this everyday so I will remember until it gets to be a habit.