This will be a fairly brief post. The mission of a Work in Progress (A-WIP) is to better ones self. I have, in previous posts, outlined what this means to me. Through photography, philosophy, and creative writing I find the best way to live for me. I share this better self of me on this blog as an example of taking control of my life. Now this this idea of being better is different for everyone. Here at A-WIP we want everyone to reach that ideal self, and we believe the only way to do this is to make a commitment to yourself.
I want say this as gentle as I can, but this commitment cannot have excuses. I know that many people suffer from issues be that of mental, or physical and my goal isn’t to mitigate those issues. However, saying I cannot because of _____ just tells me that you have a crutch that you cannot let go of yet. To make a commitment to oneself is to know that these issues may affect us, but should not control us. There is the difference.
To make a commitment to yourself first find out what it is you want out of life. For me it is to live an accepting Christian lifestyle, this could be different for you, but what does life look like to you in the future? Who do you see yourself being?
Know what challenges are ahead for the choices that you make and create a plan for overcoming those challenges. If you aren’t sure what challenges await then at least create good coping skills for when issues arise.
Finally when you create this commitment let us know, and let us know your progress. If anything we want to be supportive of you in your journey along with us in becoming our best selves.
Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness
Soren Kierkegaard in Skrifter vol 11 (maybe the correct citation) meditates on the above paraphrased verse in his writings, discussing the deeper meaning of the words. In short, he discusses that one must first seek the Kingdom of God, and this is accomplish by silence. Silence, according to Kierkegaard, is the first and most important goal in seeking the Kingdom of God.
To Kieregaard dropping everything for God is not the first step to seek the Kingdom of God. The first step is to be silent. To be silent, and to make yourself nothing before God. In this silence we arrive at the beginning, and this beginning is where we seek God.
Yet, what is this silence? If Kierkegaard states that silence is being prepared for the opportunity when it arrives, then isn’t mindfulness the same thing? It’s just another word for the same thing, and we know that mindfulness by itself isn’t spiritual. Rather it is an inward observation. By knowing ourselves we can better seek the Kingdom of God.
In our mindful/silent lives we make ourselves ready to serve God when the time comes. In this meditation we ready our inward self to serve. How can we serve God if our own lives are not in control? First seek the Kingdom of God. By first seeking the Kingdom we learn to be silent/mindful, and we take control of our lives.
God calls everyone to different things. Silence and inward observation gives us clarity to what those things are. The first step toward God is to become mindful of your own life, understanding of your weakness, to become nothing, so that God may use you for his will. The freedom to follow God starts with getting control of ones life. To understand your part in the world, and to be accepting of it.
I can work for God, and do great things for him, but first I must seek the Kingdom of God.
Fasting is an important process for almost all religions. It’s about denying ones self to focus on God. The hunger inside will grow, gnawing at your insides, being an ever present reminder of your choice to deny the body the pleasure of food, but by having that emotional control to deny yourself food (or whatever you fast from) you satisfy your spiritual hunger seeking God. Learning that emotional control teaches discipline to follow the teachings of your choice of faith. It’s a great time of reflection and offers clarity to what is important in ones life.
I had the privilege to participate in a fast recently with my wife. The whole opportunity came about when we were discussing fasting with our Bible study group. There was discussion about the multiple ways we could fast, and that the whole point of the fast was to deny the body its pleasures. My wife and I decided to try fasting from food, and cell phones.
We started off with the cell phone fast. We agreed to stay off our phones unless we had a message or call. What I noticed immediately was how much I am on my phone. It’s become a sort of comfort entertainment that I use to pass the day. When things are slow at work I browse Facebook or Twitter. I look up funny pictures or videos to stimulate me even when there are other options to satisfy the craving.
I found after that the first day I had all of this free time. The phone was such a time killer. I believe I was on it four hours a day. Which may not seem like much, but when you consider the breakdown of my day it is a a lot. Instead of being on my phone I used that time to read additional verses, or attempt to challenge what I had learned. I took the focus off something important to my flesh and instead turned that focus to God.
After about a week of doing this the results were pretty much what we expected, by taking this bad habit out, and replacing it with a good one we were able to look at our lives a bit more critically. It allowed us to actually see how much we came to depend on our phone, and how much that pushed us away from each other. By removing the phone our relationship became focused on each other, and God.
I will discuss how our food fast was in a later post, but I would really like to reiterate that fasting is denying the flesh what it craves. If you examine your life what it is that your body craves that holds you from God?
I have probably the best mother ever. Not trying to brag, but honestly, she is awesome. She taught me so much of what I know today and is an inspiration to me. Anyone who can constantly tell you “Life is supposed to be fun!” is someone you want to listen to.
One of the most important things she taught me was how to take over the world. Not in a literal sense, but in a sense of how to conquer my world. To take on the challenges that I face and overcome them. She taught me how to set goals.
Setting goals is one of those important things that we all believe we know how to do. It’s like budgeting or doing laundry. Everyone believes they have the knowledge to set goals, but it takes time. It takes time, work, and drive to push through completing what is hard now to have something in the future.
In the past I had these outrageous goals like publish a novel next year when I don’t know the first thing about writing, or publishing. Creating a club, and having it be the most popular club on campus when I know nothing about club management. These goals were things that I wanted to accomplish but set the bar too high too soon. There is a saying that you should shoot to the moon, and if you miss you still land among that stars. To me that only means they missed their goal, and if they had spent a little more time calculating they could have made it.
What I am not saying is give up on your dreams. What I am saying is make achievable goals that lead you to your dreams gradually. If the dream is to become the world’s most famous rock star the first step is ensuring you can play the guitar well. If the dream is to own a house, then the first step is understanding loans. In the example of the moon scientists didn’t just shoot the first rocket they found full of people to land among the stars. It took years of careful research and experimentation to complete.
My mother taught me that these baby steps, though small, eventually take me higher until I reach the top of the mountain. If I want to publish a novel the first step is learning how to write well.
Here is how to set achievable goals to take over the world:
Create the vision. We ask this question first, so we know where we need to go. It won’t help us one bit if we just do things without knowing where it ends. What is it you want to do? Is there a job that you want, or a skill? What is the final product?
Research what it is that you want. I mean actually research, not just a google search and look at Wikihow (though they are helpful). Go to a library, ask a professional in the field, or even look at reviews (if it’s a company, or membership needed). Really understand what you’re getting into. This will save time and money
Begin your first steps by creating smaller destinations along the way. If you want to get in shape determine what your first achievable step is. If someone hasn’t ran a mile since high school, then running a block might be too much. Try walking a mile or jogging less than a mile. Continue working up from there. They should also determine what their eating, and if it is a benefit to them getting in shape. If it’s not, then what can they take out of their diet over time?
Mistakes WILL be made. Whoever try’s will fail, especially if it is a new skill. We shouldn’t assume mistakes are a sign of failure they are a determination of what we did wrong, and what should be done to improve. Mistakes are for learning and growing. When first trying to fish I used too much junk on my line leaving fish disinterested. After multiple failed attempts I caught my first fish. Approach mistakes positively they are the guide to success.
Create for yourself the drive to complete these smaller goals and push past the point of disinterest. Most people will stop short of their goal because the drive isn’t there anymore. Find the drive in yourself each day to complete the tasks set. As time goes on it will become as natural as breathing. Find someone to hold you accountable and will push you to succeed.
Setting goals is the easy part, completing them can be difficult. If you want to control your world and become the master of your destiny you must be willing to work for it. Each day creates the opportunity to learn, but like anything not used it will atrophy.
What is the vision you have? Do you know how to get there? Let me know.