I’m writing this week’s blog at the start of the week for two reasons, one practical and one purposeful.
The practical reason is that I’ve got a busy week, sermons to prepare and I’m good at procrastinating. In some part I’m using writing this as a means to procrastinate, but I’m also doing the tasks that I know will end up falling by the wayside early in the week, so that they’ll be done and I can focus on what else needs to be done.
The purposeful reason is that I’d like to take a bit of a step back to reflect more generally on The Road to Character and the subject of character. I’m around halfway through the second (or third?) chapter, on Eisenhower, and it’s an absolute joy to read. It has helped me to think around what building character practically looks like, and the sort of things I need to be doing to do so. In particular, the area of self restraint and making seemingly arbitrary rules is important to me.
I’ve found January quite hard to get back in to the swing of things. I haven’t been getting up as early as I’d like, journalling, or consistently doing bible reading. Even when I was, this hadn’t matured in to real study at any point. My running has suffered of late, and I’m eager to do something worthwhile at the gym. I know that I struggle with consistency, and need to build these things in to my life more deeply.
It can seem strange to reflect on these things in such a way, but I’m aware that things like reflections on strengths and weaknesses can be massively helpful. As the book shows, you need to admit your faults and actively seek to better yourself. For me, I’m not sure what this looks like. I’d like to have a notebook that I only use for the sake of diary and journal writing for example, but I always get bogged down about the presentation of these things. Should it be in writing or on the computer? How easily accessible is it? And so on. It doesn’t matter, but I’d like to be able to look back on these things, and my handwriting isn’t too helpful for this.
But the issues are clear: I sell well and can say the right thing. I can present myself, put up an image, say the right thing. And believe it. But too often I can find myself telling small lies, being false. And this is something I need to get past, I need to be genuine, consistent and trustworthy. I was very interested by the language of authenticity being dismissed by the book, as this can often represent being yourself, rather than shaping yourself in to something better. I’ll have to think some more about this.
As for trying to improve, here are some basic, undeveloped ideas on how to do this. Again, I’ll think of this more but I thought for this blog it would be helpful to think about character and the process of that, rather than just what I’m doing!
- Getting up on time, the same time every day
- Fasting once per week/fortnightly?
- Always dressing well – no compromises (a more arbitrary rule)
- Journalling and diary – actively having things to think through
- Keeping track of wrongs and moral qualities
- Doing the same tasks at the same time each week (I’ve started this, kind of)
- A more disciplined diet and exercise regime
- Limiting social media usage (another one that I’m working on!)
- Prayer and bible study
- Always being on time
I’ll have to develop this some more, but the idea of developing an intentional ‘rule of life’ is a good idea I think!