There comes a time on ones journey to improve, that you need a little reminded that you are on the journey. I had such a moment last week, while getting to spend an enjoyable week with a family member who happens to be a non-Christian. As you know, my view on that is that we each make our own choices & while I will let you know about my beliefs I will never force them on you. The thing was, I found myself subconsciously repressing some of my normal behaviors, presumably to not make our guest uncomfortable. We usually pray before our evening meal, as a family, not doing this is really no big deal, but it is a nice reminder & ritual that we have as a family. Cutting this out & a few other things, by the end of the week seemed to have knocked me off course. I was more argumentative than normal with my wife & just, well, a little more like I was before I began this journey.
The goal of being better is rather ambiguous, what exactly am I trying to achieve? Not really some great transformation, more refinement, consistency & of course using my brain more often. How do you make things like speaking nicely to people or having a conscious thought pattern not an effort? How do you make these things your normal practice, your habits? Primarily, I believe, it takes practice & discipline, the discipline to keep practicing, practice, not just enough so you can do it, but so much that you can’t not do it.
Discipline (especially self-discipline) unfortunately is not one of my strong suits, it never has been. I am better with it now than I was, but I forget, I get busy with life & forget that I was trying to do things differently. Now, you need to understand that when I am referring to discipline, I am not referring to punishment, but to a “training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character”, as Webster’s puts it.
This is where reminders come in. The best place for me to practice these things is at work, there are several reasons for this, not least because it is a professional environment & so I should be acting that way anyway (even if I am the only one). It is also the place where I have struggled the most with consistency in my behavior, with letting my light shine, for allowing the true me to be known etc. If I can get this down at work, then transferring it to the rest of my life, where it is pretty much the norm now anyway, should be easy.
For most of this year I have had my Matrix cross as my desktop background at work. It was extremely uncomfortable initially, but dealing with that has been very mentally beneficial. It has served as a nice reminder of my faith & to keep me in the right mindset at my desk. Unfortunately the problem with visual reminders is that after a while you get used to them & for me at least, they lose their effectiveness.
So I have come up with a new background. Something to help remind me to shine my light, to be a reflective light in the darkness, to wear the armor of God & to help me remember what I am aiming to be as a man of God.
It works for me, maybe it will work for you, if not, maybe it will give you something to think about regardless.
These are some previous posts that will explain where the imagery comes from & its meaning in my journey.
The armor of God: http://unhiddenlight.com/2013/04/07/the-armor-of-god/