Monday, February 24, 2014

Consistently Inconsistent

There are many things that I struggle with, but if I were to choose just one thing that irritates me the most, it would be my inconsistency. I am consistently inconsistent! I always have been. When I was a kid, I tried more extra-curricular activities than I can remember: ballet, tap, acrobatics, karate, basketball, choir (I actually stuck with that one for a while), cheer-leading, majorettes, color guard, Brownies, violin..... there were probably others. With almost every one, the novelty wore off and I quit. Then there were my childhood report cards. Remember the ones that didn't come with actual grades, but rather "S" for Satisfactory or "E" for Excellent? Well, I received a lot of "I's" for INCONSISTENT!

I wish I could say that my inconsistent nature has changed, but it really hasn't. Why, you ask, is this one of the things that irritates me the most about myself? Surely there are a plethora of other sins that I deal with on a daily basis that can be much more serious than inconsistency, right? Yes, there are plenty of other sin areas that could use work, but this area affects so many aspects of my life. It affects my home, my family and most importantly, my relationship with God. When you have an inconsistent nature, you are surely not going to be naturally consistent with your prayer life and time spent in the Word. That should be our starting point, and if we are not even consistent with our starting point, then how are we to expect that we are going to be consistent with anything else?  I find it difficult to be consistent with everything from housework, to homeschool (even the curriculum I use), to projects and even methods of disciplining my children! This can make for a very chaotic household and for kids that feel unsettled. One day, I was getting ready to implement yet another new schedule for our household. I always have good intentions, I really wanted it to work! I sat the kids down to let them know that we would be starting with a new kind of schedule in the morning and my oldest daughter says to me (respectfully, but honestly), "Yeah, but it only ever lasts for a few days and then we stop." Ouch! They're on to me!

"Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1Cor 15:58).  Here, at face value, we are being told to spread the Gospel, for that is our most important work, but earlier in 1Corinthians, we are told that all of our work and everything we do is to be done to the honor and glory of God (1Cor 10:31). This verse tells us to be steadfast in our work. To be steadfast means to be firmly fixed or constant, unwavering, not subject to change. I want to be steadfast in the work of the Lord; steadfast in spreading the Gospel, steadfast in my pursuit of a relationship with Him and steadfast in the work that He has given me to do in my home and with my family.

Now, as I mentioned, my inconsistent nature has not changed. I have to fight every day with it. But my desire to conquer it is strong and each day I am winning more of the battles than the day before. Here are a few things that have worked the best for me as I learn to be more consistent:

Get Consistent With Your Prayer Life First
It is only through prayer and God's grace that we can be consistent with anything! If you are having trouble being consistent and you are not already consistent with your prayer life and time in the Word, then this is where you need to begin! This is where you can ask Him to help you in this area!

Set Realistic Expectations
Sure, I know that you would probably like to be diligent and consistent in your prayer life, your housework, homeschool, discipline methods, projects that you start, exercises, daily schedules that you make, everything! But start small. Decide on one or two important areas that you are going to be diligent and consistent with and focus on those things. It could be as simple as deciding that you are going to put a load of laundry in the wash, then the dryer, then fold or hang everything and put it away. Everyday. Consistently. Or maybe you decide that you are going to sign up for that Zumba class and that you are going to commit to go every week, consistently, for the entire two month session that you signed up for. Whatever you choose, just keep it simple and use it as an exercise in consistency. Practice makes perfect and soon you will find it easier to remain more consistent in all areas of your life.  

Keep Yourself Accountable
Find yourself an accountability buddy, preferably one that doesn't already struggle in this area. Nothing says failure like two inconsistent people pledging to be consistent to keep each other accountable in being consistent ;)

Make Inconsistency Inconvenient 
If possible, try and make it really difficult for yourself not to remain consistent. For years I had been committing and re-committing to lessen the amount of TV that we all watch in this household. I was not consistent with this. I would keep the TV off for a few days, and then one day I would wake up and fall right back into the familiar pattern of flicking it on and letting my kids sit in front of it for way too long. Until I made it really inconvenient for us to do so. Out of desperation to be consistent in our resolve to lesson time spent in front of the TV, we got rid of it! Well.... not completely, but we did move it out of the living room and now whenever we want to watch something, we have to carry it in and hook it all up. Furthermore, we have arranged the living room in a way that when we do have the TV out, it's in a really annoying spot and I don't want it to stay in the room after we are done watching it. I was finally able to remain consistent in this decision because it is now very inconvenient not to be!

Do you struggle with inconsistency? What are some ways you have found that helped you to be more consistent?

2 comments:

  1. Wow.. Some excellent ideas here. Really like the TV idea... Brilliant! I guess my best way to remain consistent is to remind myself how much more peace I enjoy when I am.

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