For June I continued regulating my use of media, and also started a practice of checking in with myself every couple hours, and giving my soul what it needed to remain grounded and connected.
For the first of those goals, I do feel that my media remains in a better balance, though there still comes the occasional indulgence from time-to-time. A pattern that I have recognized in those indulgences is that I am always trying to distract myself with something that is one level less pleasant than what I should be doing. So, for example, if I know that the house needs cleaning, I will try to justify consuming media instead. Whereas if I know I should be getting to task on a difficult patch of work, then suddenly cleaning the house seems very appealing!
In other words, there is a force pushing against responsibility, trying to get me one step lower on the ladder wherever it can. And sometimes I have been able to fight that force, and sometimes I have given in.
The same is true for my two-hour spiritual check-ins. I have not attempted to abandon them altogether, but I do try to “forget” to set the next reminder on my phone, or justify that what my soul really needs right now is to unwind with media…every single time.
The temptation for each of my commitments is to compromise it down just one level. And then one more.
So how do I wish to address this in July? Part of me says: “Life is meant to be spent pushing upstream. Gravity is always there, you just have to stand against its pull forever.” Another part says “Doing right things shouldn’t feel forced. You need to figure out how to get things sorted out in your heart, and then the desire for self-improvement will just flow.”
I think there is some truth to both voices. Life does take grit and determination, but also a paradigm shift can make that which was painful become pleasant.
Something I have noticed is hinge points where suddenly the desire to do good accelerates. Sometimes they come at random, such as when I happen to wake up on the right side of bed, and sometimes they feel deliberate, such as when I make a conscious decision to follow my conscience.
I will always hope and pray for the random moments of spiritual vitality, times where grace lifts me to places I cannot take credit for. But at the same time I can also strive more to be true to my conscience, thus opening the door for God’s light to enter my soul.
Which brings up a question: why do I ever not follow my conscience. And the answer is because I am afraid. I am afraid that if I stop doing the thing that feels important to me, and instead focus on what my conscience directs, that I will miss out on something, or leave something undone, or feel unfulfilled in some way.
My commitment for July, then, is to take a leap of faith. I lack trust that if I just follow my conscience, that things will work out. So let’s focus on that. I’m still keeping my other two commitments to regulate media use and regularly check-in with my soul, but now whenever I feel like giving up ground on those commitments, I am going to ask myself what I am afraid of, and ask myself to exercise a little faith and trust instead.