I live with four men. I’ve got one husband, two adult sons, and one middle school son living at home at the moment, and they’re not good at cleaning up after themselves. If you ask them about that, though, they will deny it. I’ve heard it.
“I always do my own dishes. I always put up my towel. I always put away my things. I always…”
They aren’t lying. I mean, they’re wrong, but they’re not lying. In their heads they have this memory of themselves putting away clothes, doing dishes, and hanging towels, and somehow their heads have convinced them it isn’t one memory. No, it’s many memories of doing it many times, and therefore, they always do this thing.
I can laugh about this, because I also have memories of doing these things for them, and I tend to say, “You never do your dishes, hang your towel” etc, for exactly the same reason. We’re all wrong.
I wonder how often I do that in other things. How often I remember incorrectly (were seasons really different when I grew up, or am I remembering a single drought/snowstorm/rainy season and assuming every season was this way??)? How often do I think I am one way when in reality I’m not that way at all? For instance, in high school I wasn’t popular, and I still see myself as that unpopular, pestered kid who never belongs even though I haven’t been her in twenty years! How many of my normal behaviors aren’t really that normal? Do I see myself clearly at all?
I have decided to start praying a new prayer for myself and my family. I want us to see ourselves clearly. I want us to remember accurately and to know the reality of our actions, attitudes, all of it. Did I read my Bible a month ago but think I do it every day? Do I pray once a year and think I do it every evening? Do I treat people badly but remember that one time I was kind to someone and figure I always do that? What sins do I tell myself I never do? What did I do today? Today is possibly the most important. God says to persevere in living godly lives, which really means every morning I focus on today and pay attention to what I do now. No more extrapolating from the past instead of living as I should in the present.
My brain is lazy, and it seems to lie to me. Life is filled with distractions, and it’s easy for me to pay little attention to the patterns in my life, the day in, day out behaviors that actually sum up who I am. I hope from here forward to pay more attention and to persevere in living as I should.
And if one of the results is that my family realizes they really don’t always do their own dishes, and they start to be a little more faithful in that area…that’s just an extra bonus for me.
And again, my shameless plug for my new endeavor. I’m now a happy author of three books for Christian teens, and my first Christian fantasy, aimed at adults but still accessible to teens, is coming out before the end of October. Check it all out at www.JillPenrod.com