If I were to categorize myself as one of the seven deadly sins, I’d definitely be a sloth. I mean, you could make an argument for gluttony, but typically that is an extension of my slothfulness.
For most of my life, I think I’ve just excused my laziness as being tired, or needing a break, because sometimes it feels like I’m always moving. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely get busy, but the balance isn’t there.
The issue is I lack self-control and discipline. They are virtually non-existent in my life. I’ve tried unsuccessfully for years to build them up, but so far, no such luck. Well, not luck, no actual, long-term effort on my part.
To be fair, there are a few exceptions. But the problem is they are the exceptions and not the rule. I’ve also had periods in my life where I had it, and felt amazing, but for the last six years, my life felt like chaos.
How about we do a timeline breakdown?
- When I was living in Pittsburgh, I would wake up every weekday at 4:30 a.m. I did some basic yoga, then caught the trolly to go downtown to my gym. Here I worked out, several days with a trainer, and then got ready before going to my job.
- Then I got a needy puppy and had to adjust my routine. After being inspired by friends running the half marathon, I decided to become a runner myself. While I never achieved 13.1 miles, I did build it into a regular routine.
- In 2016, I took a new job that required travel and moving to Buffalo, so all routines I’d built up fell apart because I let the chaos overtake my discipline.
- Six months after that, I stepped away from a career and started a journey that basically consisted of doing several different jobs to make ends meet and feeling like I never had time to breathe.
Six years of bad decisions. That’s where I’m at now. Financially, physically, and relationally, I’ve struggled. And I’ve hit these moments, vowed to change, created plans, but nothing meaningful happened. Because I wouldn’t do the work.
Recently at church, we sang “Glorious Day” with the kids. If you aren’t familiar, the chorus starts with “You called my name, and I ran out of that grave!” Together, we shout these words victoriously and dance through the song. It’s about God calling us from our old life into the glorious day of our new life.
It’s one I’ve loved for years, but as Easter approached and my mind focused on resurrection, I started reflecting on my own life. God called me out of my own personal grave and resurrected me. I have this amazing gift and even better, God doesn’t stop calling. When I slink back into my tomb, He still calls my name to bring me back out.
The more you walk with God, the more the Holy Spirit produces fruit in you, including “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT).
But it doesn’t say “these things come automatically, yay!” They, like all good things, require our own work.
The next verse says it best.
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there.” (Ephesians 5:24)
It’s easy to overlook laziness as sinful nature. You can joke about being lazy and how it doesn’t harm anyone. For some people, I’m sure it isn’t part of a deeper issue, but for me, it’s selfishness and slothfulness and keeping me from the full life I could be living.
In 2 Timothy, Paul says that God gave us a spirit of “power, love, and self-discipline” (1:7). It’s there for me, but I have to walk in it. I have to run out of my grave and stay the path of dying to my own slothful nature so I can walk in the life God designed for me.
I mean, He hasn’t given me the full plan, but I’m pretty sure spending most nights by myself, ordering DoorDash, and watching hours of the same shows I’ve seen before isn’t quite what He has in mind long term.
I’m not where I should be, and it all comes down to my selfish decisions.
When I choose to hit snooze instead of get up
When I choose to order from DoorDash instead of eating what I have
When I choose to sit on the couch instead of being productive
When I choose to not engage my friends or take them up on offers for coffee
When I choose to buy more things on my credit card
When I choose to do literally anything that goes against my long term goals
The result is I live in cycle of 1) pledge to make the right choice, 2) make the wrong choice, 3) spiral about wrong choice, 4) pledge to make the right choice, and so on. I am exhausted.
Despite my lack of change, I am the best at having these personal epiphanies and creating new ways to fix myself. I guess it’s because planning life change is easier than making it happen. Woof.
Will this time be different? I hope so, because I am trying to do it the right way. I’m not looking for the quick solution and I’m not trying to do it alone. Self-control is a fruit of the spirit, so if I want to improve, I need to lean on God.
So here’s the plan. I’m calling it #chelseaontrack and it’s a one year plan to self-discipline.
1 Week: Wake up to my alarm without snoozing every day
1 Month: Exercise at least 16 times (4 times a week preferred)
3 Months: Reach goal of being able to run a 5K again
6 Months: Down to one credit card with ample savings account
9 Months: Weight down 10 pounds
1 Year: Bangs grown out and hair reasonable length
I’m going to try my best starting April 18. Like we say to the kids, do your best, and God will do the rest.
I’m excited to see what my best can be when I stop trying to do this on my own. If I fail, at least sloths are cute?