I am a sucker for fresh starts. When the first day of the month starts on the first day of the week, as it did today, I usually feel a sense of expectation. I think about what new focus I need to have in my life, what habit I need to hone in on, and of course, I wonder how many pounds I could lose over the next thirty days.
This morning I felt that sense for about five seconds and then I could almost hear myself saying, “oh what’s the point?” I mean, the election is Tuesday. I would hate to give so much energy to a fresh start only to have the world implode or maybe to have riots break out down the street or maybe we won’t be able to find toilet paper again! Who stinkin’ knows?!?!
Can we hope at the end of the year 2020? Can we look ahead with expectancy as we continue to deal with a global pandemic? Is there any way to just numb myself to make it through the next couple of months and pray Jesus comes back or can 2021 truly promise to be nothing like 2020?
I watched a video about how to trick yourself into doing hard things. It is narrated by the author of Atomic Habits, I believe. We mustered up some courage and all sat together in the living room for a family meeting. I shared the video with everyone and told them how all of life is hard to some degree. I remember seeing a saying about that—-Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Choose your hard. Being healthy is hard. Being unhealthy is hard. Choose your hard. And on and on it goes challenging how one thinks about doing hard things. Josh shared an illustration he heard many years ago. Someone may read how Mozart spent hours upon hours of his life learning and practicing and perfecting his piano skills. This was his life’s work. And someone could say, “Wow, that is so hard.” But no, what is hard is taking the stage having NOT practiced and perfected his skill and expecting to be able to play amazingly.
Josh also gave a mini-lecture of sorts on lead measures and lag measures. It was very enlightening and helpful. He used the example for the kids of their grades. To just want to make an A in Chemistry would be a lag measure. They should choose the lead measure of studying at least fifteen minutes every night no matter if they have homework or not—reviewing concepts, re-reading notes or chapters in their book, practiicng problems, etc. THEN, they have a high chance of making an A. Another example used was a lag measure of wanting to grow closer to the Lord. This a great goal/ambition/desire, but how is this measured exactly? Josh shared that, for him, being up at 5:00, getting coffee going and being at his desk with his Bible at 5:15 would be a lead measure because this ensures he has time to read God’s Word, to pray and listen to God. The result over time will be a closer walk with the Lord.
So why am I sharing about our family powwow? Well, I just wanted to take a minute and encourage anyone who might be considering medicating through the rest of 2020 or burying your head in the sand instead of facing the realities of daily life. It’s tempting, I know. But there is purpose in your life. There are still challenges to accept, goals to aim for, lead measures to establish. There is THANKSGIVING! And CHRISTMAS! Family and food and friends and what a year to be able to look back and see the faithfulness of God. We’ve made it through some hard stuff. We are likely stronger and more compassionate, humble and more aware of our lack of control and God’s perfect control. We can do hard things even still. Cheers to these last two months of the longest year of our lives!