Monday, October 29, 2012

Scripture Challenge Week 14: Sucked into Cycles

This week's scripture update isn't based in any specific scriptural passage I read this past week. Instead, it's spurred by the patterns of events in the scriptures and unfortunate similar patterns I'm seeing in my own life.

As I read the scriptures or see what others are going through, it's often quite easy to see some patterns of poor choices that lead people into not-so-good places in their lives. The Book of Mormon offers the same pattern again and again - people are righteous and happy, people get prideful and forget the Lord, people get in trouble and wind up pretty miserable, in the humbled state, they turn back to the Lord, they get righteous and happy again and the cycle begins again. In movies and books people do things that we, the outsiders who can see the bigger picture, recognize as really bad moves.

In my own life, I can see my own silly cycles and ill-fated decisions that must look so obvious to the Lord or to anyone else who could see the details of my life:
  • I sit down at my computer after the kids are in bed to check a couple things and then I'm still sitting here, hours later, my back hurting, thirsty, tired, but sucked into something I started that I think I should finish so the next day might be less packed - but I don't work efficiently when I'm tired so it's really not smart to do this.
  • I wake up to my alarm in the morning and lay there for a few minutes, rationalizing that I'm prepping my mind for the day and that 10 minutes of wake-up transition will work out fine. It doesn't. We're rushed and late again and again. If I need 10 minutes of wake-up time, I have to set my alarm 10 minutes earlier. So I do. Then my morning brain suggests that I've woken up 10 minutes extra early so I have extra time to doze off before I really have to get up. I need to stop listening to my morning brain.
  • I often say I'll do something and then realize I spoke too soon and my schedule and brain is just going to be too full but I'm not sure how to get out of what I said I'd do and saying no feels more stressful than just plowing through and doing what I said yes to. I am getting better at saying "Let me check my calendar" or "Let me think about it" but I've still got a ways to go.
  • I put in too many hours on Power of Moms for a couple weeks and start to feel the sad irony of spending so much time trying to help other moms be great moms that I may be compromising my own mothering (or my own sanity). Then I promise myself I'll be more in balance the next week and won't let myself get so out of balance again and I do draw better boundaries things are better for a while. But then I find I've created too tight a deadline again for myself and end up putting in too many hours again on Power of Moms. 
  • I put on my running clothes first thing in the morning and head to my favorite running trail after dropping the kids off at school and then sit there in my car for a bit, trying to get myself to get out there and run when it's cold and I really don't want to and I ultimately do go running every time and it feels great but why do I waste time and emotional energy on thinking about how I don't want to do things that I know I need to do and that I'll always wind up doing...
  • I try to change things that aren't really very changeable in other people far too often and re-learn the need to let go of certain hopes or expectations repeatedly.
  • I go for several days or several weeks reading scriptures with real intent, praying before reading, finding great insights and bits of personal revelation. Then I get a bit lazy and start rationalizing and my scripture reading gets shorter and more shallow. Then many things in my life seem to suffer. Then I get going again on higher-quality scripture study and the cycle starts again. But at least with this scripture challenge I'm doing with my sisters, I'm reading at least SOMETHING daily and writing these weekly updates so it keeps the cycle on higher ground...
I know what I'm doing wrong in the case of a lot of things that aren't going particularly well in my life. But I allow myself to fall into the same old traps time and time again. It gets old learning the same lessons again and again. 

Perhaps it all comes down to getting my lowering some of my expectations of myself and of others (and not just theoretically realizing I should lower them but figuring out how to actually lower them for real) and raising my will power.

P.S. I've been watching General Conference Highlights which are 2-minute nuggets from the apostle's talks in the most recent General Conference - love these bite-sized gems of inspiration that I can enjoy so quickly and easily. Check them out if you want!

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