I just got back from a five day vacation in Jamaica. When I go on vacation, I typically leave the disciplined, hard working, 5and2Guy at home. I always try to put my responsibilities behind me, as much as possible, when I enter vacation mode. You probably do too, and I think that is usually a good thing. But it can also be bad. Allow me go back a couple decades and share.
Missing Church on Sundays
My wife and I would typically go to church every Sunday with the family. It was only like an hour long, and I can remember being young and not really wanting to go. As an adult, I was kinda like a big kid and didn’t want to go, but I went to be with the family. A funny thing happened as I attended church every Sunday. I became less judgmental, more patient, and more tolerant. Simply by going to church every Sunday, I would stop cussing and found myself trying to live a more faithful life. This is a good thing.
But then, inevitably, something would happen and we would miss a Sunday or two. Some times even three. When that happened, I found myself being more judgmental, less patient, and less tolerant. I would cuss more and live my life very selfishly, being too consumed with my needs rather than others. I found that getting my weekly dose of church helped me live a better life. But missing my weekly dosage, regularly, led to an unhappier, not so nice me.
Five Days Without Practicing My Disciplines
Fast forward 20 years to the last five days. While on vacation in Jamaica, I did not practice my disciplines daily. I did not read from my daily prayer book. I didn’t meditate. I didn’t have my morning POP Hour that helps me start each day. So, what’s the big deal? Well, I didn’t become a horrible person in five days, so that was good, but I did see some old thought patterns start creeping back in.
Without my daily prayer book, I didn’t start my day focused on God’s word. This is simply a 30 second read and a daily morning prayer that I didn’t complete. I felt a bit more anxious and on guard each day. A little less tolerant of people. Not with my friends or family, but with people I didn’t know.
By not meditating, I found myself getting trapped in thinking about the past or worrying about what was going to happen next rather than fully enjoying the moment I was experiencing. I don’t mean that I did not enjoy my vacation, because I surely did. But I try to pay attention to how often my mind is thinking about the past, and worrying about the future, rather than thinking of the current moment. I can tell you, it was jumping all over the place.
By not having my morning POP Hour, I was off a bit. In my head, I was more judgmental of people. I would tell myself stories when things didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to go. I just didn’t seem to be me. It wasn’t that I didn’t have fun, because I surely did. But I could tell I was a bit off. Things that typically would not bother me, got to me quite a bit. I felt a little bit out of control when it came to my thoughts.
Not practicing my 5and2Guy disciplines for those five days resulted in a bit of a regression in who I was. It is funny how simply a five day break from my disciplines had a big impact on my thought patterns. It was like I didn’t get my daily medicine and now I a suffering from symptoms of a previously limited and intolerant mind. Today is my first day back on schedule and in my routine, and I welcome it. I am ready to be back in the driver’s seat, with a more patient, tolerant, and unlimited mind. Without my disciplines, I was not fully in the control of my mind and how I perceived things. I am convinced that I need my daily dose of medicine, a.k.a. my disciplines, to help me be the best I can be.
It just shows that we need to practice the things that make us better on a daily basis. It could be a daily prayer, daily meditation, or daily quote that can help us stay focused and be the person we want to be. Next time, I will be more diligent about what I practice on my vacation when it comes to the things that make me a better person. Sure, I will take a break from some things, but some of my disciplines will NOT be left behind on my next vacation!!!
Practice Your Disciplines Daily!!!