Monthly Archives: December 2012

Consistent Inconsistency

SINCON_375_1I’m sure you know the answer to this question even before I pose it to you, but have you ever found yourself being inconsistent?  It doesn’t matter what it is, whether it’s not exercising 4 to 5 times a week OR diving into the cookies/potato chips OR watching too much television OR answering significant others in a few words rather than having a deep, intimate conversation.  Do you simply find yourself saying, “I should be doing this,” but continue to find yourself doing the opposite; the same exact unhealthy behavior day in and day out, repeating the same thing over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again?

Looking back on my posts (can’t believe it’s almost been a year blogging!), I’ve alluded to this topic several times, primarily in the last post Destroy What Destroys YouThe impending proposition is a play on words, thinking critically about the title, understanding what occurs when we have consistent inconsistency in our life.  And most importantly, how do we manage such a dilemma. 

First of all, it takes a lot to recognize your own inconsistency.  It takes an attentive discernment of one’s character to say, “wait a second, this isn’t good, this isn’t bettering me as a person.”  It not only takes a lot to be cognizant of ones’ flaws, but most importantly, takes an abundance of tempered attitude to refine and adjust private weaknesses.  It’s imperative to note, we’re all fundamentally exhausted.  We’re all quintessentially afflicted.  We have our own secluded predicaments and complications.  We’re all simply imperfect.

With imperfection comes inconsistency.  With inconsistency comes commitment dominance (and not all imperfection leads to inconsistency; that’s not the extent of the following, but rather an analysis of the adverse/unfavorable influences on our lives).  In other words, habit forming.  And in this case, negative habits; dominating negative habits, fulfilling the majority of ones’ thoughts and actions.  To understand habits, we must appreciate the science behind habit forming.  Essentially, habits are developed through frequent repetition and reinforcement, links between stimuli and responses.  Most habits we have today were shaped during our early years as well as being passed down from our parents.  Also, we’ve learned through observation and modeling, being most often consistent with our personality.  Therefore, frequently repeated thoughts or actions create neural pathways in the brain and the more frequent the repetition, the stronger the connection and the wider the pathway will become.  The constant recurrence decreases the biochemical resistance to that certain thought or action.  That is why we can perform certain thoughts and actions almost unconsciously.

Ultimately, as we begin to realize and recognize a negative habit forming, we should quickly do all things possible to extinguish its damaging wrath.  Because it’s oh so often, we relinquish control to the repugnant behavior.  Sometimes, we get so lost, so deep we become uninterested, unwilling to change because we begin to disparately believe, “well, I’m too far gone to be saved, I’ve already gained 50 pounds, why stop now, I’m comfortable and “happy” with what I’m doing.”  Once friends, family, or even yourself recognize the denial or resistive posture to change, then you must cut it out of your life, Destroy What Destroys You, seriously.

It’s so easy to float through life, staying up late, sleeping late, sitting and watching television all day, eating junk food, with not a responsibility or care in the world to change.  Granted, I know there are a plethora of circumstances well beyond one’s control that may limit one’s alteration, but why not change, why not take a risk, why not take a leap of faith?  There is one guarantee, if you DO take that risk, you won’t be alone, I promise.  You won’t have to suffer, feel alone, or turn to risky behavior anymore because Jesus Christ will always be at your side.

“To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”-Ephesians 4:22-24

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”-Hebrews 13:5

If your day-to-day schedule is filled with inconsistency, develop a new one and start by getting rid of the things in your life causing or leading to so much anguish, so much anger, or so much regret.  If it’s the television, get rid of it.  If it’s your smart phone, get a “dumb phone.”  If it’s friends pulling you down, cut them off.  It may seem foolish to others, it may seem like it’s over the top, but if you’re going to overcome inconsistency, you must remove yourself completely or remove IT completely, whatever that IT may be. Once you remove these things that have been destroying your character, destroying your relationships, you can begin to mold and mend a new life; a holy life God has always designed for you to live, and only if you allow Him, turn to Him in these troubling times you can be completely and thoroughly refreshed, renewed, and revitalized.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”-1 Corinthians 10:13

Post Script-an ensuing post MAY follow because…1) some of you like post series and 2) we must learn what to do after removing a bad habit from our lives.


Destroy What Destroys You

6175770250_5f3805cdbb_zI want to sincerely apologize for my hiatus.  It’s been a very long two months, with end of semester papers and projects, bachelor party organizing, graduating from grad school (with highest honors-all credit goes to the Lord!), moving, applying for career jobs (any leads in sports, fitness, recreation, please send my way!) and my brothers wedding.  The aforementioned should not be used as an excuse not to spread His gospel because no matter what we’re doing, as busy or as unbusy our lives may be, we must always be willing to be a beacon, to reach out to those in trouble as 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  Moreover, this comes to the topic at hand, and as you read the title, Destroy What Destroys You, we must embrace this idea as instrumental in growing and evolving as a believer.

Think about this for a second, if we all had the control, all had the patience and determination to stop sin in its tracks, we wouldn’t be sinners, right?  If we were able to recognize and realize our actions and behavior were turning detrimental, then we would be living in a perfect world, right?  Well, there’s our problem, as humans and especially as believers.  (If you haven’t read my previous post, Jesus Loves Pornstars, I implore you to stop reading this now, and read it; it’s highly conducive to the idea at hand.)  In other words, self-control is either absent or becomes subject to failure.  Furthermore, what sets us apart from other creatures of God’s creation is our consciousness.  Most often, we think in terms of an angel on one shoulder, and a demon on the other, so at least that’s the depiction of society.  This conscious behavior, thoughts, and actions precede a choice; a choice to choose what is right or wrong, a choice of yes or no, a choice that aligns with His or not.

For non-believers, this right/wrong dichotomy is parallel to their upbringing, societal norms, or even religion.  It’s in a sense their personal standard of living, able to clearly define what’s right or wrong, even with the Jesus Christ not in the picture.  As believers, our one and only way of living is through His Word, through living each day as Christ Jesus wants us to, not based upon society or other standards.  Innumerous studies have been done to investigate how and why people act the way they do, interestingly studying mentally unstable and felonious individuals.  Researchers Cima, Tonnaer, and Hauser (2010) examined how psychopaths process and control their decisions.  Specifically, they found that psychopaths and criminals alike have a “normal understanding of right and wrong, but an abnormal regulation of morally appropriate behavior.”  Even though the vast majority of us aren’t psychopaths or criminals, this study and many alike positively demonstrate we all have an innate moral compass.  So as criminals are beginning their sinful thoughts and actions, there’s always an escape route, there’s always an angel telling them they can be saved, there’s a definitive way out.  But all too often, the devil overcomes these Holy voices to say, “no one likes you, this will show them, it feels good, you’ll be happy, etc, etc, etc.”

Oh so often, after such sinful behavior, we’re fall back to square one, we come back to the dichotomized thoughts of regret and excuses “gosh, I shouldn’t have done that, it felt good, so it was ok, I’m in a tough situation right now, so give me some slack.”  It’s not until we’ve fully committed our lives to serving the Lord, praising His name, that all worldly things don’t mean anything, don’t have value to us, including sinful behavior; lust, selfishness, wicked hearts are lost at the waist side.

So you’re asking, how can I stay consistent with my faithful, devoted, loving lifestyle, being bigger and stronger than temptations?  Well, it may seem easy, but you must take up the Cross daily.  Whatever this may be, reading a daily devotional, studying/memorizing a few scriptures of the Bible, conversing with other Christians, or going to church, we must be involved one way or another with His Holiness.  Establishing these Holy habits is a must for change to occur.  If it’s reading your Bible before you head to work, do it every day, no matter the circumstance.  Once you do it for about two weeks (when the action begins to be neurologically imprinted), it’ll become commonplace in your life.

As you begin this process of seeking out new and healthy behaviors (e.g. by inserting God into your life), you can begin to see/recognize how your sinful thoughts were devastating to relationships, friendships, productivity, and true feelings of love and closeness.   Think about this; is it easier to give into temptation or fight it?  What does it say about your character and faith in God?  The more change that occurs in your life, the more you’ll realize that if He’s taken you to a tough situation, He will get you through it.  No sin, no mistake is bigger than Jesus Christ and His forgiveness.

So when you come to a crossroads of sinning or not sinning, recognize the underlying problem and purge it from your life.  Whether that means getting rid of a television, computer, iPhone application, friendship, or whatever is spawning sinful behavior, sever ties!  You cannot expect to grow in Christ if you’re not willing to let it go completely.  You cannot have one foot in and one foot out.  To have a complete transformation, you must let go of ALL things.  Because Matthew 6:33 says, “but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

I challenge you today, destroy what destroys you!

Resources

Cima, M., Tonnaer, F., & Hauser, M. D. (2010). Psychopaths know right from wrong but don’t care. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 5(1), 59-67.