When I was a little girl, my grandma had a few vices that she enjoyed, and as kids, we enjoyed them too. Even after I was older and married, I would go back to their house and open the second drawer from the bottom, next to the stove, to find some of my favorites! I loved the soft chewy Archway Homestyle Molasses cookies. The soft chewy cookie with the sugar sprinkled on top is one of my favorites to this day. There was usually a bag of “Bugles”, you know the cone shaped “chips” that I could fit on the end of your fingers when I was little, and eat them off one by one.
Life has changed and my grandparents have long ago gone on to glory. I rarely ever buy processed junk food, like chips…or “Bugles”, or store bought cookies. We are a home-made family really. But now I shop for my mother-in-law and I’ve found she’s partial to a few treats each week. I try to change it up, and truthfully, at the age of 82, she has the right to eat whatever she wants! Even if there’s a few bad calories in it, or a little sodium or whatever it is, she can have what she wants. She’s far from a junk food junkie. In fact, she’s the best fruit eater I’ve ever know! But the other day I bought her a bag of Bugles and boy!, that hit just the right spot for her. She loves them! When she opened the bag and said, “you want one?” something rose up in me…a reminder of just how good they are! After sharing a couple handfuls, I stopped on the way home and bought a bag. I kept them in my car and didn’t bring them in to share with the family. After all, they’re bad for them, right? I devoured the bag over the next few days…all by myself.
You hear it all the time. “What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” We get that. It makes sense. Maybe not until the third or the fourth time that you’ve attempted; but eventually the light bulb comes on for most people and we see that there is probably another way to go about whatever it is we were trying to accomplish.
I realize for some that never happens. I think of the drug users who are caught in a vicious cycle that they don’t know how to get out of. Or the woman in an abusive marriage, who truly believes he’ll change, without doing anything different. Or maybe it’s trying to lose weight when you don’t change your eating habits….for those of us who just can’t keep our hands out of the bag of “Bugles” ….(ok, maybe the struggle was real there this week!)
I really was contemplating this when I went to bed last night. After a frantic message from a friend trying to save her marriage, but in the same sentence claiming all her options, my frustration began to rise. Maybe doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results, isn’t only the old insanity, maybe it is just plain disobedience! I don’t believe God is calling us to continuous mistakes. I don’t believe God is calling us to continuous struggle. I really don’t believe God is calling us to repeat bad behaviors. Every time I put my hand in the “Bugles” bag, I know I shouldn’t. It’s not just a “lack of discipline” on my part. I think “Lack of discipline” is a phrase that gives us a pass. Lack of discipline softens the blow from the guilt of repeatedly not doing what is right!
Doing the same thing over and over is a matter of not learning and then making better decisions. It’s not growing up, maturing, so we obtain different results. Think of a builder. If he starts to put up a wall, he checks with a level to see if the wall will be straight. If the level shows he is leaning one way or the other, he adjusts. Then he checks it again. With each new bit of information, he adjusts. That’s exactly what we should be doing in life. Learning and adjusting…in life it would be called “growing up!” Learning and adjusting is maturing. Jesus spoke to that. He still speaks to that. He doesn’t want us doing the same things over and over without results. He expects results.
I Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” We should be changing and maturing along this life path. We should be growing up! We should stop doing the same things over and over in disobedience, and grow up! The results should be different.
Hebrews 6: 1-2 “Therefore, let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death…”
Lack of discipline shouldn’t be an option. And although it might sound harsh, the only options in life should be obedience and disobedience. Disobedience leads to continuous struggle with no change in the outcome, the obedience leads to maturity and growth and guaranteed different results.
Is my spiritual life in jeopardy over a bag of Bugles? Probably not; but my waistline is! And if I continuously buy a bag of them, and stash them in the car for just me…I can guarantee the same results…I’ll eat them all! A lack of discipline? Or just plain disobedience? …