Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Leaves and all that

How often do we set out to "turn over a new leaf."

To change our life from one thing to another in one single fell swoop.

To change all, or even one, of our bad habits overnight.

And how often do we fail at that??

It's the whole reason that New Year's Resolutions are a joke!

It's also the reason that 99% of diets fail.

I have told others for years to make the best choice you can as each and every individual choice comes to you.  Don't set out to not ever eat chocolate again.  That's just unrealistic.  But if you can choose a bluberry muffin over the chocolate chocolate chip "muffin" at the store, that helps.  The more times you can do that, the better.  The total effect will add up.  (A guy even wrote an entire book about this idea).

Problem is, I haven't been taking my own advice.

Sure sometimes, especially wtih food, I can make a good choice, nearly half the time.  But the other half I just plain don't care.  Which may not be entirely 100% mental for me (see previous entries on depression). But I do hold my own level of responsibility for it, and although I'd like to deny it and pretend like it truly isn't my fault, it is.  My actions and choices resulted in the life I have, and the Santa Belly I carry.  But, I digress slightly.

My pastor gave a sermon this morning about the difference between a servant and a slave.  A slave is characterized as insecure and unsure, reluctant and rebellious, complaining and dissastified with life, they do only what is demanded and must be watched, they are unconcerned & desire a different situation and are primarily concerned with themselves.  Servants, in contrast are bold & confident, show initiative and movement, complimentary and encouraging, they do more than is required and can be trusted, often consider what can they do to make the situation better, don't need to be watched and are primarily concerned with making the "boss" look good.

We have an incredibly screwed up idea of slavery vs servanthood in America.  You have to go back to old England, possibly at the turn of the century, maybe even earlier.  Think of a Butler.  He is the epitome of a "servant."  Not African-Americans in a cotton field. If you keep in mind the picture of an Old English Butler, the differentiation is clear and immediate.

The thing is, God has been poking at me with this for months.  I would like to think I have a fairly good servant mentality, most of the time.  A source of continued improvement for me, but a reasonably good starting point.  However, work is an entirely different matter. I am deeply entrenched in a slave mentality at work.  I have been able to justify it to myself by saying that they don't treat me right to begin with and therefore don't deserve my servanthood. But that's not what God says!  That's not what Jesus taught us.

He gave his blood for me, who am I to decide who gets my servanthood and who doesn't?  He has given me all the knowledge and wisdom I need in the Bible, 4-5 verses which come to mind immediately.  And, all that teaching says that offering my servant heart to someone else is commanded in this situation. As I type that I realize that my heart is exactly what I have been holding back.  I don't consider them worthy of it, nor do I think they will steward it well.  So I harden myself.  I allow my "not a morning person" personality to dominate and I nitpick anything I don't want to do and epitomize that slave mentality I described above.

I had a moment during the sermon where I thought "Ok, I'll change my ways ... starting tomorrow morning."  and I meant permanently. As if I were capable of making this change overnight and immediately and completely.  As if I would be able to hold this enormous and incredible change for more than a half hour, if even that! And I amended my prayer.  I asked God to help me change just tomorrow.  Just Monday.  No farther than that.  Any farther is overwhelming.  Any more makes me want to quit before I start.

Clearly not God's plan for me.

So tonight, I go to bed with a different hope for a new tomorrow.  His mercies are new every morning.  I can only hope they last til noon.


  1. Like your last couple of lines there. : ) Sounds like a good sermon too.