I subscribe to a lot of different email lists that I find can be a positive influence in my life. Most of them are faith-based and some are health-based. One of the lists I subscribe to is by a health and fitness guy who is also a Christian, Shaun Hadsall. I read one this morning that got me thinking. I have an evil twin. Do you?
There are two distinct versions of me. When I was younger, I would frequently party, drink, engage in behavior and act in a manner that was doing nothing good for me. I was an empty shell. Even after I got married to my beautiful bride, I still found myself going back to those same tendencies. My daughter was born and shortly after, everything changed for me. I knew I needed to change. I needed to make Christ the center of my life and everything else would fall into place. God built the “new” me. But by no means did the “old” me just go away.
Every morning is a battle within myself. The decisions start immediately when I wake up.
- Get up and work out vs. Sleep an extra hour
- Say a Rosary in the car vs. Listen to something else
- Reflect on the scriptures vs. Read the latest sports news
- Eat a healthy meal vs. Get pizza or fast food
- Be selfless vs. Be selfish
These are just a few of the decisions that I personally face on a daily basis. Every one of those decisions feeds one version of “me”. I find that a good decision leads to a streak of good decisions. Alternatively, a poor decision leads to a longer streak of poor decisions. Sound familiar? So what do we do? Feed the good twin and starve the other.
My priest in confession this past weekend summed it up perfectly. One bad decision can derail EVERYTHING else that you have worked so hard to build. You must stay diligent in feeding the right version of yourself and starving the evil twin. Shaun outlined some tips to do this so I adapted some of them here:
-Surround yourself with like-minded people:
As Joel Osteen says, “If you are the smartest person in your group, then your group is too small.” If you hang out with the people who bring out the worst in you, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Find someone who has been where you want to go and keep them close.
Working out makes me feel better. It keeps me in shape and keeps me motivated. If that doesn’t work for you, then make sure you are doing something to renew yourself emotionally each day. Whether it’s reading a book, focusing on scripture daily, something. But I highly recommend physical exercise. In our culture, it is too easy to accept failure in this realm as the status-quo. You owe it to your family, yourself, and God to be around as long as you possibly can to do His will. You can’t do that if you aren’t alive!
-Take down the big “to-do” first
I have a daunting list of things to do both at work and home. Many I have been avoiding for days, weeks, even months. Buckle down and get it done. You will likely find that it wasn’t nearly as bad as you were making it out to be.
Even if they are small, set goals and write them down. Read them at least once a week, preferably daily. If you are reading them every day, you are at least forced to think twice about the decisions you make each day.
-Read the Bible, books, attend retreats, etc. that grow you spiritually and emotionally.
Find a book that you can read every year at least once other than the Bible. Mine is Magnetic Christianity by Gus Lloyd. It is step by step guide on how to be the Christian God created you to be. Keep it fresh though and read a lot. Look for the holiest person you know and ask them what they are reading. (Hijacked that from Dynamic Catholic).
-Find a way to be held accountable.
Whether it is a coach, friend, spouse, spiritual director, men’s group etc. Find some way to hold yourself accountable. It is too easy to let that evil twin take over and get you down. If you have fail-safes in place, you are that much better off.
There is a battle for your soul every single day of your life. Some decisions might seem small and harmless but that is exactly what Satan wants you to believe. The small decisions are the one that build up. Create a plan to keep feeding the “good” version of you and starve the “bad” version. You will be a better husband, father and Child of God for it. And to be honest, isn’t that the whole point?