Monday, November 21, 2005

Moving Mountains

As we start our Advent here on the New Calendar I came across this article that has some REALLY good advice. Advice that is practical! And for me, I hope, will open up some room for growth! I read this and finally feel, hey maybe there is hope for me to grow and learn to be closer to God. It isn’t as out of reach as I thought it was.

“Towards a Fruitful Spiritual Life: Reasons Why Our Intentions to Lead a Better and Holy Life Do Not Produce Results”

The first and foremost reason why our intentions to correct ourselves and lead a holy life remains without result lies in the fact that our intention is often too vague and indefinite.

A certain sinner, for example, says to himself: “It’s high time for me to stop sinning, time to mend my ways! I repent! I’ll stop sinning!” The intention is quite indefinite. And because of this, although it might be sincere, it is unreliable and may not achieve the desired correction. He who has a sincere desire to amend himself must first of all determine exactly what it is that must be corrected…thought and self-examination must come first and only then should a resolve be made, and that resolve should be specific.

This makes complete and perfect sense to me. After reading this a few times I began to compare this to what I’ve been reading about housekeeping. When we look at the whole picture, whether it’s cleaning out our heart full of sin or cleaning out our homes full of clutter and dirt, it’s the same thing. We become overwhelmed and paralyzed unable to focus on the task at hand and unable to move even a small amount. We give up thinking we’ll never change. But just like in my housekeeping book, he’s saying here we need to determine a specific thing to change.

In “Get your Act Together” she says, “Getting organized is a matter of realizing that the ONLY things that stand in the way are a few silly habits AND the way you’ve turned the thought of getting organized into such a big mountain. Getting organized is not a big deal. Jesus said, ‘If ye have faith and doubt not, ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and the thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.’(Matthew 21:21)”

(BTW...I love "Get your act together" much better then the first book "Side-tracked home executives. It's their newer revised , after 15 years of work, version. It has smaller chunks to tackle and makes more sense! IT IS AWESOME...IF you want to move mountains and resolve to do it!)

She tells us to work on one habit at a time starting, for example, with the act of hanging your coat up everyday when you walk in the door instead of throwing it on the back of the chair. You have to practice it everyday before it will become automatic but one day it will and if you don’t do it, it will feel weird. Same with sin. Pick one thing you want to work on, for example yelling. I will not raise my voice anymore. “Enough! With God’s help I am no longer going to raise my voice. I’m going to break this bad habit. Instead I am going to arm myself against it.” Instead, when I feel as if I want to yell I will intentionally whisper, or remove myself for a count to 10. Anything and everything to not yell…with the help of God.

Another reason why our good intentions fail, is because we do not hold firmly enough to our resolve. Scarcely two or three days pass by after our having made our resolution and we, in our normal daily routine of life amidst our worldly cares and pursuits, have already forgotten our intention…For this reason if we truly wish our good intention to be realized…we must immediately bring to mind and renew our resolution…DAILY.

The fourth reason that our resolution to lead a better life often fails, lies in the fact that we want to immediately to become saints… but because this doesn’t happen as quickly as they would like, and whether by habit or rashness they often fall into their old sins, they lose heart and come to the conclusion that it’s impossible for them to change their ways.

Brother! Sister! People don’t become saints overnight, our old man does not easily yield to being transformed into the new man.

Tackling just small hills at a time, we need to renew our commitment daily and we need to ask God for strength to persevere.
Then we can move mountains! Both in our hearts and in our homes!

2 comments:

Dawn said...

Susan,
thank you for this.

sara said...

nice parallels...both are hard work, as you say. lovely insight.