Discipline . . .

I’ve come to a conclusion (I have yet to determine how startling it is, nor how much or how little i’m distressed by it) that I have lost all sense of discipline.  Well, most sense, anyway.  Every year, I do a 21-day fast that I picked up from the church I grew up in.  Essentially, you slowly take off food groups, until you eat nothing for 3 days, and then you slowly build back up again.  And last year, this was a breeze for me!  This year?  Not so much.  I’ve found myself cheating nearly every day of this fast. 

And that’s not the only area where I feel I have little self-control.  Even my sexual expression has had few limits to it as of late (I’ll minimize details here so as not to traumatize certain individuals )

I’m not sure how concerned I should be here.  On the one hand, I realize that a lot of what I used to call “discipline”, was really just legalism.  I know how to modify my behavior so as to give an appearance of “holiness” . . . but it honestly makes me miserable as a person.  All that repression just ain’t healthy!  But at the same time, I think there’s something to be said for depriving yourself of certain “pleasures” as a regular practice so these things don’t have power over you (hmm . . . am I becoming a Bhuddist?) 

So that’s what I’ve been thinking about lately . . .

In slightly related news, I managed to have an extravagant weekend, despite myself.  I didn’t get an ounce of work done, and blew about $600 at various stores.  The biggest chunk of that was spent buying my new baby: a Canon PowerShot SD600 digital camera   

Hey, I’m going to France, for God’s sake!  I gotta record memories for posterity’s sake!   The rest of it was spent on clothes and such.  I honestly just can’t manage to remain in any clothes that I buy.  The bad thing about changing your lifestyle habits, is that you lose the weight very slowly.  So now that I’m training for a 10K, and have been running a bit more, I’ve lost a couple more pounds, and this requires a new wardrobe, as nothing quite fits right anymore!  Not to mention that it seems as though Jonathan and I will be traveling through the Alps a bit when I head to France, so I need to think in layers – which also requires some new pieces to the wardrobe. 

By the by, if you ever want something cool from Circuit City, you should totally look for it ONLINE first!  The camera I bought was cheaper online than in-store, and then I chose the option to pick it up in the store instead of having it shipped. AND, if they don’t have your order for you ready at the store within 24 minutes of you purchasing it online, then they’ll give you a $24 gift card.  Guess who’s camera bag wasn’t prepared as ordered?  So guess who got the camera cheaper by ordering it online, and THEN got an extra $24 gift card to boot?   NICE!!!  Expect some pics soon!

Finally, the last bit o’ change was spent on getting the other (right) ear pierced.  I originally just did the left ear (last year), thinking the parental units would FLIP.  I wanted to soften the blow just a bit by only getting half of my body mutilated.  Since they’re the ones that bought me diamond stud earrings for Christmas, however, I thought it would be a waste not to bling bling in full glory (i.e., symmetrically).  How pathetic that I’m a grown-ass, 27 year old MAN who still worries that much about what his parent’s think   Oh well.  At least I’m finally learning to not let that stuff bother me anymore.  I’m just me . . .

Advertisements

Patience . . .

Sometimes I think we get wrapped up in all the wrong things.  Like, we focus so much of our lives on one, strange area – as if God feels like that’s the area you really need work on, when in reality, he’d want you to focus much more of your life on living the Way.

Christians seem to like to harp on issues like promiscuity, sexuality, sobriety, and such . . . which is all fine and good, I suppose.  I mean, I think those are important issues.  I do think that God has a dream for how mankind ought to be, and how we conduct ourselves as human beings is likely no small part of that dream.  But what about the vices of ours that seem to never get any airtime on CNN?  Why do we never seem to talk about our pride?  Or our unhappiness?  Or our impatience?  Stuff like that.

Of all the things that I would think God would want me to work on, my patience isn’t really one of them.  Yet, he seems to be BLASTING AWAY at me, as if trying to get my attention.  For instance, I’ve been pulled over by the cops twice in the last couple months (those 2 incidents were actually only a week apart).  The first time, that bastard trooper gave me a whopping $160 ticket!  The second time, it was a Baltimore City cop who I actually sped past on I-83, because I didn’t see her.  (Which was really stupid, by the way, b/c – as she stated when chewing me out in that sassy way that only Black women can: “How you gonna just pass me when I’m going 60 in a 50 mile zone? Me in my big ass police van!”  Fortunately, after grabbing my license and registration and leaving me sitting there with that patronizing search light shined on me for what seemed like an eternity, she returned to chew me out for a couple more minutes, and then told me that I was lucky she didn’t have any ticket books with her, or my ass woulda gotten a ticket! )

It was while sitting under that blazing light that I began to have a serious dialogue with God about my impatience, and why I’m constantly rushing everywhere.  I mean, honestly, is it really that important?  Is anything so important that it’s worth all this hassle?  Where am I even going?  Why do I always find myself in this mess?

I decided it was time to take God’s advice, and start looking at slowing down a bit – being patient.  I mean, in some sense, you have to wonder why God even cares about silly stuff like this.  I’m a pretty good driver.  I do quite well going 80mph, and have never had a safety issue with it.  So if I can handle it, what’s the big deal???

But there’s a couple of things about all that.  One, there’s my own sense of pride, that I can handle going that fast.  I’ve begun to see a real beauty in God’s laws . . . they are usually there to protect us.  I’ll admit, I have a pretty big problem with authority, b/c it’s hard for me to see that anyone has my best interest at heart.  But there’s something compelling about my new perspective on laws, and I’m starting to appreciate them a bit more.

But the other thing, is that impatience has such a global impact on our lives.  I mean, I’m not just a speed-demon on the roads.  Impatience profoundly affects my relationships too.  And for a God who’s primary thrust seems to be about how we treat and love him, and how we treat each other, then why he cares so much about things like impatience becomes cleary elucidated.

I’ve seen how this plays out in my relationships this week.  I have this idea about how I want all my relationships to look like, and I want those dreams to become true NOW.  And yet, I feel that having such a deathgrip on trying to make things turn out in some certain way that’s good for me, is actually draining the life out of me, and out of the phenomenal, rich relationship that I already have. 

I’m having to learn the very painful lesson of having to let go of my dreams, and realize that I don’t have much control in life.  It’s not easy.  Yet, I must admit that after death, comes life.  I’m feeling 10 times lighter now that I’ve started to come to terms with the fact that things may not look like I want them to.  There’s a beauty in organic life, and there’s often a need to just be patient, and wait to see organic growth . . .

God bless.  I’m out!

D.J. Free!