We’re coming back from a long holiday weekend. That usually means a sluggish start to the work week. Too much food, drink, fun, etc. Long interruptions in my daily routine can often lead to a series of slip-ups that very easily turn into a landslide. I know the Fourth of July was no exception for me. It started with a missed workout and then a missed Rosary and needless to say, one thing led to another. I doubt I am alone on this one. So how do we stop it?
Step one is to realize it is happening. I know in the past when I feel myself slipping, I usually figure it out pretty quickly. As my day goes on and I miss one thing after another, I can feel an uneasiness. It adds up quickly. Your mind is pretty good at letting you know when you are doing something you shouldn’t be or when you aren’t doing something you should be! Do you let that thought pass quickly through your thousands of daily ruminations? DON’T. God is trying to tell you something. Stop and listen.
In my time in the confessional, I have learned that this is Satan creeping into our lives little by little. “Missing this won’t hurt anything” or “You can do that another time”. Thoughts like these seem innocent at the start. Over time they build up and before you know it, you’re drowning. Don’t let it get to that point.
Step two is committing to do something about it. I have thought about how best to approach this. I thought about what helps people get better. Where do people go to “fix” themselves. It might seem extreme, but a recovery program was what came into my head. I am not going to go check myself into one nor am I going to find a support group (other than my men’s group at church). But I have been able to develop my own personal “recovery program”.
What does it consist of? I set a strict routine to get back on the right track and hold myself accountable.
-Morning Prayer (thanking God before I step out of bed)
-Prayer and reflection throughout the day with set times,
-A Novena, Rosary regimen, prayer to a particular saint, etc.
I tell my wife when I am doing it so I have an accountability partner. I know myself all too well and I know that I can let a minor slip-up develop into a spiral very quickly. If I don’t acknowledge it and do something about it, I am opening myself up to temptation and continued failure. I am not saying that I nail it 100% of the time. Not even close! I frequently fail after I commit to righting the ship. But just making the commitment, attempting to try, is what brings me closer to God.
You know that voice is in your head. What are you doing about it? Are you embracing it, admitting your failures, and committing to make it right? Or are you simply letting it fade into the background with the rest of your passing thoughts for the day? It takes discipline, perseverance and humility, but as husbands, fathers, and men of Christ, it is critical that we do it.