Ep. 19 – Phoenix – The Devil Deals Denial
Every year at New Year’s the mantra is ever the same. We must get serious about those things we value being in our lives such that we pursue them daily. Tomorrow begins today. Where lies the blame if we do not succeed this year?
If we want to be slim, all the experts tell us to exercise and watch what we eat daily. We want to be wealthy; the old adage is still a penny saved is a penny earned. We want more or better friendships or relationships, the answer is still to be show love and be a friend every day. If we want educational success, we need to apply ourselves to our studies every day. If we want to enjoy God’s presence, we must enter in through prayer using His Word.
None of this is news to us. Therein lies the problem. We rev up our engines and replay all the good intentions every year prior to New Year’s. We consider what “resolutions” we can keep this year. We review all those from past years and evaluate if we kept them. Hope springs eternal! Perhaps, but hope cannot propel itself into reality. It is our thoughts, plans, followed by our actions that have a direct bearing on how well we will do this year, as it has every year.
The cheerleaders are chanting all across the airwaves. The particular cheer we hear is the one or two that elude us. We do mean well. We even activate a plan. There are still some of us who are superstitious believing that whatever we do on January 1st points to what we will do all year. Little do most of us know that they we are misunderstanding that adage. The point is to begin a daily effort toward a goal on that day. There is no magic in the activities of that particular day. It is just that every day counts – whether it is to further our goals or to bury them forever.
There are goals, and there are goals. Our health and relationship goals should be the priority for obvious reasons. Gravity. Things fall apart. Things fall down. To prolong our health as we age, it is imperative to do the things that we know are conducive to good health. To have people we love in our lives, we must cultivate those relationships.
Dwelling on health challenges, we can point out the obvious health risk that hits the top three of New Year’s Resolutions – smoking. Common knowledge. Common Sense. If we keep inhaling or chewing nicotine products, the scientific data is there. We will destroy our bodies. Nicotine is a poison.
Some of us are pretty smug that we don’t smoke or chew, but we have our own poison of choice – too much food, too little quality. I always try to eat “brown” but we can have too much of a good thing as well. Many of us are not even thinking down the road to the damage we are doing to our bodies with misuse of food. Our motivation seems to be all about how we look with that extra fat hanging. Good nutrition also makes us feel better.
That’s the big two. The third is exercise. It is shocking how exhilarating exercising can be. Every time I work out, I feel so much better. I do want to be strong and firm, with no saggy baggies. Sometimes I try to make this happen by setting which days of the week I will go to the gym, or even set times of the day. That has been my most successful plan. Also, I have two things I do every evening before I allow myself to go to sleep. I have some muscle toning exercises that take about 5 minutes. I have only been doing this for a year, but I am sure I can already see results, regardless of whether I get to the gym.
In the effort to keep my self immersed in the things of God, my other little bedtime ritual for me is to read the Bible each evening. I tend to be on some kind of self-prescribed, or recommended study, but the routine reading is the thing. Which brings me to number 4 of resolutions. I want intimacy with God. I want to be still and know that He is God. I want to hear His voice and say Hineni, or here I am. There is a popular book entitled Practice the Presence of God. That’s the way it works. When I set the time to talk and listen to God, He shows up. It only gets better and better!
I do have some victories with keeping resolutions, but I have to admit I’m a great starter, but staying on the program is difficult. I have several college degrees. I only say that to say this. I had to constantly psych myself up to push through on all of them. Momentum was not enough, but I made some rules I did not violate. I took classes every semester even when I was working full time. I would not let any excuse keep me from my appointed task. Grueling, but it not only worked three times, but it built my confidence that I could do it with other important goals.
When this treatise began, I was focused on the positive behaviors we want to see in our lives. New Year’s has been the traditional time to re-new those vows. What keeps us from succeeding? We blame much of our lack of success on the enemy of our souls, referred to as Satan or the Devil. He is very active this time of year peddling his wares. He does deal with his initial contribution to this world, Denial. When coupled with his two most precious tools, Procrastination and Justification, he has way too much success.
No matter what behaviors we choose for this year’s resolutions, we must keep this destructive threesome out of our thinking. We need to own our reality, no denial. We cannot put off beginning our action plan. Then no matter what, we must resist the urge to justify ourselves when we fall short. There are universal truths, the most important being that the accumulation of what we do daily will be evident in our futures. There is no other way to make it happen.