When my son started 8th grade we had already had a number of conversations about studying & grades. However, it was at the beginning of the year when I had a longer conversation with him about GPA.
We had touched base in 7th grade, but August of 8th grade we spent an evening talking through at length how it works. I explained how while every test & project technically counts the same, the stuff at the beginning of the year kinda counts more because starting strong helps you mentally.
It’s easier to be strict with yourself early in the school year and loosen up later than the other way around.
Similarly, as we’ve talked over the past few days, getting off the behavior curve is easier & more important the earlier you can. While all behavior on that curve is sinful, the stuff early on affects you in a different way than stuff later . . . so the goal is ‘quit early’.
However, as with so many things, if it were only that easy . . .
So, try different techniques & see what works for you.
- REPLACMENT BEHAVIORS – These are things you can start doing which replace the behaviors on the curve. Instead of looking on your phone at triggering images, you download and play sudoku for times you’re in your dentist’s waiting room . . . or bring a book. The questions is, what are the ‘early’ behaviors (identified on the curve), and what are some things you can do instead?
- DISTRACTIONS – These are things you can do which distract you from the moment of temptation at hand. Anytime a lustful thought comes into your mind while you move around. Get up & walk, go outside, or read something. The goal here is to trick your brain into getting focused on something else before that triggering thought takes root.
- LIMITS – Pecan pie can’t be in the house if I’m expecting myself to not eat it. Same thing here. Don’t take your phone in the bathroom or bedroom – go back to an old school alarm clock & landline if you must. This approach assumes that IF you can get on the behavior curve you WILL. As Mr. Miyagi said, “Best way to avoid a fight is to not be there”.
Like I said previously, at any point of the curve, you are but one right decision away from jumping off it and back in line with what you truly want for your life.
God is gracious and when you make that decision, you’re met with love and acceptance as opposed to rebuke ridicule.
Yes, there are real world ramifications to your actions you must deal with, but God helps clean those things up too.
Your part is to get off the curve!
Thoughts to Pray/Journal:
- How have you tried in the past to get off the behavior curve & why has it failed? What do you need to do differently?
- List out 2-3 examples for each of the above 3 categories. Having this list handy in times of noticing behaviors escalating will be important.