Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Don't Need Perfection-- OR -- Guilt

Making a habit….
It is my goal for the year to make a daily habit of finding, recognizing and experiencing Joy.
So far I’m 12 days into the habit and doing well.
Sometimes the moment jumps up and grabs me and I know right then and there that’s my Joy today….
And other days, it’s been me- tucked in bed and going over the day and praying bedtime prayers that I find the Joy of the day.
Some habits are difficult to form and stick with…. And others are a joy to develop and nurture along.
This is the latter.
I’m also making the habit to learn Colossians this year and knowing me this will be a difficult joy- yes, indeed it will be something I enjoy but I also know myself and it will prove difficult to stick with as time carries me away to this that and the other thing.
Both habits require some focus and perseverance.
I wonder how I will make it and I know that I need something more than just me….
The key for me to form a habit is accountability.
I need someone else to know and check up on me.
This sometimes has a nasty side affect though….
I develop guilt.
I can see me, “Oh, No! So-n-So is gonna ask me how my memorizing is going and I’m a week (or three) behind. What will they think? I’m a failure. I’ve got to cram all day today to get caught up.” That’s when my stomach ties into knots and my priorities get shot to pieces and the guilt monster takes a ride on my back….
And so I think I’m going to be working on another habit….
Letting go of the guilt monster.
And making sure not to replace it with the excuses monster.
Both are equally ugly in my estimation.
I’ve decided that habits are meant to be beneficial and not necessarily completely specific.
What will happen if I only memorize two chapters of Colossians instead of the whole thing? Does it mean my habit forming wasn’t good enough or that it, in and of itself, is not good enough equaling to the fact that I shouldn’t have even attempted to start it?
Ah, no. Two chapters of scripture hidden in my heart is never a bad thing.
And what about the Joy? What happens when that terrible, no-good, very rotten, bad day comes along and I shake my fist and refuse to see and name the joy in the day? Does that mean all the joy moments accumulated to this point are meaningless because of one day?
Ah, no. Even one named joy moment is better than none. It’s been named- it has lasting meaning. I experienced it- it counts.
It’s the moments that count and add up into habits. Habits aren’t about perfection- habits are about setting goals and pushing ourselves out of comfort zones into places that we think will stretch, grow and enrich us. Why else make a habit?
And so I’ll finish this off by naming a joy moment:
Knowing a habit for my best benefit doesn’t have to be perfection.
Oh Joy!


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