This series has already gone on for longer than most of my others, and I think it has also been more disorganized and rambling as well. I’m sorry if its meandering manner has put you off. This blog is my place for me to mull over the very things that I’m grappling with personally. You’re reading the transcript of my thoughts as they are happening, and it doesn’t make for the tidiest structure. This topic in particular has been a real puzzler, because it has been a back-and-forth fight in my own life to fully orient myself to the truth. I am so weary of knowing better and doing worse and feeling guilty, so I am perplexed by this problem, and I believe this study has reflected that fact.
I understand if watching me grapple with these problems in such an unrefined way isn’t particularly useful for you, and no one should feel obligated to stick around if they’d be better served elsewhere. I think I’ve muddled around in this area for nearly long enough, though. I have one last topic I want to cover, then I will try to summarize what I’ve discovered in all this exploration.
I will spend this post and the next sharing the different degrees that I have oriented myself to the truth in my own life. I’ll cover my least and middling truthful states today, then progress to my most truthful mode tomorrow.
The most difficult flaws to remedy are the ones you never see. I have been guilty of attesting that I hold certain values most dear, while then suggesting otherwise in my actions. For example, I have maintained that my family is of utmost importance to me, and yet I have been detached and distracted from them by the most trivial of things. It is a sharp return to reality when my children ask me why I’ve been staring at my phone all day instead of playing with them.
It’s discouraging to realize that I’ve been a hypocrite, and even more shocking is that I wasn’t even aware of that hypocrisy until someone called me out on it. I’ve been so detached from the needs of others that I didn’t even realize I was neglecting them. The presence of my children’s father in their lives really matters, and if I say that I truly believe that to be true, then I ought to live like it.
I think I find myself in these moments of self-betrayal because I am tricked by my immediate desires. One of the key reasons why I am lost in my phone is because that is a low-energy activity, and I am feeling tired. But often I only feel tired because I didn’t get to bed at a good time the night before. Now when I stay up late, I don’t consciously think to myself “I am choosing personal entertainment now over being present with my children tomorrow,” but that’s ultimately how it turns out.
Another way that I am seduced by my immediate desires is that I have a thought pop into my head of something I want to look up, and I think that I can do it real quick and be back before anyone notices the absence of my attention. I’m trying to have my cake and eat it, too. I’m trying to have my personal interests met while simultaneously creating the illusion of constant presence. Suffice it to say, it doesn’t work. Even if I did pull of the charade, and no one ever caught on, I would still be being dishonest.
Trying, but Slipping)
I also have areas where I fully recognize that I’m not living in harmony with what I know to be true, and I am genuinely trying as hard as I can to correct that. Or at least, I’m trying as hard as I can until I become frustrated by the fact that I’m still not changing, and I give up on the whole endeavor. I try to force myself into alignment with the truth, but it seems the harder I try, the more quickly I fail. How can I feel so passionate about the need to take care of my body, for example, and make such strong commitments to live differently, and then still break my diet again and again? Really, if I could have one wish, I would simply want to be able to live like the man I already want to be.
As I’ve spent time in therapy and twelve-step groups I think that my dramatic efforts to force myself into a particular way of life are getting in my own way. I need to be able to surrender control and let my Higher Power carry me. But then, I start wondering why I do so poorly at surrendering to God. I try to surrender “better,” and that just means I’ve taken it all right back to myself. Instead of trying to change myself by my own power, now I’m trying to earn grace by my own power, and that is a contradiction.
I will say, I do take some comfort in the fact that I do keep coming back to this place of trying, though. After I get burned out and discouraged and give up and walk away, I do always come back. I feel proud of the fact that I keep trying to orient myself to the truth, regardless of the frustration. That means I am being truthful in my intentions, if not in my results. I have hope that at some point I’ll be able to find the proper harmony if I keep trying again.