Why I Need Consistency

A Brand New Day

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk (Creative Commons)

I had a day last week that really smacked me upside the head with a 2×4 to remind me of how necessary consistency is in my life and how easy it can be to slip back into old habits and rhythms.

Summers have always been an idle time for me.  Growing up there was always a week of Vacation Bible School, a week of camp, a family vacation, etc., but there was also a lot of time spent on the couch watching Snick.  Oh, the days of Stick Stickly…anyone else remember those?  Anyway, once I got to high school, I usually had a job during the summer that would keep me occupied, but if I wasn’t working or at a church event, chances are I was on the couch or at the computer.

When I started teaching, I had grand plans for my summer.  I was going to travel or read lots of books or start a hobby or something.  But by the time June finally rolled around, I was so drained and tired that, you guessed it, I spent most of my days watching Netflix and checking Facebook, sometimes not even bothering to get dressed.

This summer has been a bit different.  Inadvertently, I left the house at least once every day the first week of summer.  I had an eye doctor appointment, lunch with a friend, errands to run – a variety of things that kept me going.  It felt good, so I have made it a point to get dressed and leave the house at least once every day this summer, even if it’s just to drive around listening to my audio book for a bit.

Once I started #shereadstruth, my summer got even better.  The past few weeks I have spent consistent time in the Word and have also spent a lot more time writing than I ever have in my life.  I’ve even been better about going to the gym, although that still needs work.  I do still watch TV and Netflix, but usually after an episode or two, I’m bored or I found something interesting on the internet to read or I’ve gotten an idea for a blog post.  All in all, it’s been a really fantastic summer.

This all came crashing to a halt last week.  On the 4th of July, I spent the morning as usual.  I was up early enough to do my devotional out on the porch without melting, I wrote an extra blog post about the day, I did the daily practice at The Write Practice, and I read some excellent blogs and articles, all before noon.

And then I went on a TV binge.  I didn’t have anything to do for the holiday, partly because pretty much everyone was out of town and partly because I didn’t put a lot of effort into having something to do.  I normally watch hour-long shows, but I was catching up on a sitcom, so the episodes were short and it was easy to just hit next.  I’ve created a cave of sorts in my bedroom using strategically placed fans and closed doors, so when it got too hot in the living room, I spent the rest of the day watching on my laptop in bed.  I did manage to finish Thursday’s blog post, but I never got dressed, never left the house, and stayed up way too late.

No big deal, though, right?  It was just one day.  I’m allowed one day.

Except that when I woke up on Thursday, I had no motivation to do anything.  I woke up about two hours later than usual, didn’t do my devotional, didn’t want to write, and didn’t go to the gym like I had planned.  What was easy and enjoyable when I was doing it consistently seemed burdensome after just one day.

One day.  It seems like no big deal.  But that’s the thing about inertia.  An object in motion will stay in motion, unless a force acts against it to stop it.  Then once it’s at rest, it takes a whole lot of force to get it moving again.  I stopped my motion and now I’m having to work harder to get going again.

I’m a firm believer that there is nothing inherently wrong with watching TV.  There are high quality works of art being created in that medium and they are worthwhile.  I am becoming more and more convinced, however, that watching TV is not a way I can allow myself to rest anymore.  Rest should lead to rejuvenation and renewed energy, not to more sluggishness.

How do you rest?  What rejuvenates you?  What steals your momentum?  In what areas of your life is consistency absolutely necessary, and how do you maintain that consistency?  Let me know your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

*Photo credit: Thomas Hawk (Creative Commons)

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  • A collection of ramblings and musings on Jesus, life, education, family, and anything else that pops into my head.

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