I’m working on developing a new habit. It’s going to take time and effort, but I am confident that I will succeed. You see,, for the past five or more years I have wasted some of the most productive hours of my day with brainless activity. Like a gerbil running in circles on his exercise wheel, I would start each day with what seemed like purpose. I would read the local newspaper and then check my email to see if Travelocity had offered me a 60% discount on a trip to Ireland or Costco had a sale on the gourmet steak and burger grill pack I’ve had my eyes on. Nothing wrong with either of these two things. But then it would begin. I’d start running a little faster on my wheel and open up Facebook. I would look to see if anyone asked me to be their friend, I check to see if someone liked something I wrote or posted, and then I would start stalking friends and family. I would start watching videos of the pig who became best friends with the little white duck that was orphaned by its mother. I would start looking through someone’s 236 vacation photos, wondering when I would ever be able to go there. I’d watch videos of liberals yelling at conservatives and conservatives yelling at liberals. This could go on for a while. I would then kick my wheel into high gear, open up Flipboard, and start combing the internet for news, recipes, stories from Syracuse, weather, the Green Bay Packers, technology, electronic gadgets, free iphone apps, and on and on it went. Without knowing it, I was like the gerbil who forgets to hop off the wheel and is spinning around and around until I am flipping upside down in mental exhaustion. I realized this had to stop!
I’m two months into developing my new habit. I still start the day with a cup of coffee but I don’t open my ipad or iphone or computer. I pull out a notebook and write the word “Yesterday” on the top of the paper. I take a few minutes to think about what I did, who I ran into, what I learned, mistakes I made, things I read, and dreams I may have had. It has been a very helpful exercise. It is so true that an unexamined life is really wasted. I then write the letters A C T S and this becomes the basis of my prayer for the day. A stands for Adoration. I spend a few minutes just thinking about how awesome God is and I write it down. Next, I take a few minutes to examine decisions and thoughts and actions that hurt someone else or dishonored God. C stands for Confession. If you have ever been a part of Alcoholics Anonymous this is step five, “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” I then stop and list what I am thankful for. T stands for thanksgiving. I can’t tell you how powerful this little exercise is. Someone once wrote, “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” Often I will pull out a card and and write a note to let someone know how thankful I am for them. And finally, I write a list of the things I would like to see God do. S stands for supplication. I ask him to heal Finn, I pray for wisdom to make wise decisions, I ask him to fill the parents we serve at David’s Refuge with hope and strength and endurance, I pray for Turning Point Church, and I pray for my kids and grandchildren. I am loving my new habit.
I still read my newspaper, check my email, and look through Facebook, but these things no longer control me or start my day. Today in my time of Thanksgiving I wrote down the following: “I am thankful for everyone who takes the time to read my blog. I am thankful for those who support and make David’s Refuge possible. I am thankful for Brenda. I am thankful for time in New York with my kids and grandchildren.” What are you thankful for today? Be brave! Hit reply and let all of us know one things you are thankful for today.
No longer a gerbil!