It feels like a lot should have happened in week 4 and didn't. I didn't finish my book...again...thus annihilating all leeway in the year. I now must finish a book every week in order to reach my goal of 50 books in 52 weeks. And, according to my self-set limitations, romance novels don't count. If they did, I'd be completely unfazed. However, romance novels add nothing but entertainment to my life and the point of the 50/52 goal is to improve myself by renewing my mind - taking care of the proverbial garden.
However, regardless of all that *didn't* happen - getting my house cleaned, finishing my book, finding a job, etc - it has been a good week. We still have plenty of food, there are just a few things we'll need to pick up when the check comes in. Unemployment has been approved and - as much as I hate needing these programs - it's good to know that we at least will have that little bit to help cover basic needs. I've gotten myself organized by means of reverting to age five. That is to say, I've made myself a chart. I would have gold stars except I don't know where the nearest school supply store is, so I'm sticking to marker stars.
Additionally, God is working on me. I've been in a place of half-faith, half-connection. It sometimes seems that this place is my home and connection and faith are just vacation spots for me, but I'm working to change that. God has helped me to see the failings in my faith, the places in my heart where I haven't let him work, and how those things are keeping us apart. And, after about two weeks, I'm back on the right track. I'm having faith, hearing from the Holy Spirit - well, more accurately, I'm listening - and I've just started Prayer Partner training at our church.
The book for weeks 3 (and 4, I finished it in the beginning of 4) was The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. I read the revised version this time, and it has so much more in there. I don't know why I didn't see everything the last time that I did this time, but once again it seems that God perfectly poised what I was going to read for where my heart has been. This time around The Slight Edge is helping me to be a little more lenient with myself, a little more forgiving. I'm better able, with the lessons of the water hyacinth and the gyroscope in mind, to accept my failures (daily though they may be) and get back on track sooner.
For those of you who haven't read this book: First off, read it. It's one of the best books you'll ever pick up in terms of what it will do for your life. Secondly, allow me to explain these analogies.
The water hyacinth is a plant that grows on ponds. It takes a long time for even one leaf to show on the surface. About a week after that there may be about fourteen leaves, barely enough to notice. But as time goes on, it quietly uses the law of the Slight Edge to it's advantage. The water hyacinth doubles itself, and within four or five weeks it will have covered half the pond - seemingly overnight because of how small the growth looked before. The very next day, the entire pond will be covered.
The example of the water hyacinth illustrates to us that it's the little choices we make day by day that are easy to make and easy not to make - should I read this book? Should I watch this TV program? Should I eat this doughnut? - that make the difference in our lives. They may seem small today, and they won't drastically affect our lives today. But over time that positive influence book will position your mind and understanding in a way that makes you incredibly successful, that TV program will make you a sarcastic and cynical person, that doughnut will give you a heart attack. It's not today that your decisions seem to matter, it's the way your daily decisions compound to create your future that matters.
As one of my heroes, Dave Severn, so often says: "Make the choice today so that you will have the life you want when it is no longer your choice to make."
The other powerful example in this book for me was that of the rocket to the moon. During most of the time it's headed to the moon (or wherever it's going) it's rarely actually on course. The gyroscope inside the rocket is a little device that is always on course, and it sends messages to the processor to correct the course so that the rocket gets back to the right one. 2 degrees to the left. One to the right, come back to the left again.
In our lives, our goals act as our gyroscope. They tell us where we want to be and give us a basic idea of how we need to get there. For example, I know I want to lose 60 pounds in as healthy a manner as possible this year. That goal is my gyroscope, so when I'm going a little too nuts, pushing myself too hard on too little sleep or fuel, my gyroscope says: "Woah, girl, let's get back to the left a little." And when I have pudding on Monday and a doughnut on Tuesday, my gyroscope sees the cake I'm about to eat on Wednesday and says "Let's go right about five degrees. To the pears."
Having this example has done me a world of good, allowing me to see my life as a journey, a series of course corrections that will eventually get me to where I want to be. Knowing this, it's easier not to feel terrible and beat myself up when I have a doughnut, or when I don't walk one morning. And it's easier to feel better when I do walk and it's not quite as hard to make it up the hill as it used to be.
All in all, week 4 has been a good week for us, though my darling husband is going a bit stir crazy. Yesterday, after everything was closed and we were at home, he sat on his chair with his head in his hands and woefully moaned "I'm so tired of being bored." Fortunately for him (and for me) World Vision is really interested in him and his little brother is really pushing hard for him, so now we're just waiting for his third interview. Most likely, he'll be hired after that.
So, good news all around!
May week 5 have even more good news for us - and for you!