Self Control (The Meaningful Life Series)
Last Sunday we had our first 'Anchorage Online' service, and it went surprisingly well! If you haven't already, check out our Facebook page to watch of Jim's sermon.
If you don't have time to watch the video, the main point that Jim put across was how difficult, yet how important, it is to have self control now in the midst of uncertainty, panic buying, and a change or loss of your usual routine now that we are mostly all working remotely or taking classes from home.
One thing to remember is that a key aspect of self control is thinking about how our lives affect others. In only refraining from stockpiling food, we make more available for others. In staying in our homes, we limit the spread of the disease and protect the vulnerable among us. Self control isn't just about orienting your own actions towards desirable goals and away from negative behaviours, but about aligning our lives towards the flourishing of those around us.
However, resisting procrastination and living well as individuals despite our changing circumstances is difficult too. For this, Jim recommended thinking about establishing a Rule for Life. This can look like many different things, but the basic idea is about building some structure into your life that you will do your best to live by (e.g. when you will get up, when you will pray, when and where you will work, when you will exercise, etc.). We often don't have the strength or self control necessary to make the right decision about what to do and how to live well throughout each day without a little foresight, so take some time this week to give a little thought to how you might structure your daily life in this season.
Top tip: start small. Don't overcommit and end up stressing yourself further.
If you're on our mailing list, you'll be receiving a daily morning prayer. Why not start by committing to pray the simple prayer each morning along with others in the Anchorage community, making your Rule for Life a little more communal as well as prayerful?
For other ideas, see thecommonrule.org by author, Justin Whitmel Earley. I couldn't recommend more highly the content on that website for establishing healthy habits. If you have the time, Justin's book is well worth a read too. On the website you will even find a page on Spiritual Rhythms for Quarantine, written especially for this season.
These are unprecedented circumstances in our own lifetimes, but not in the grand scheme of history. Interestingly enough, Julian of Norwich, an anchorite of whom the Anchorage is especially fond, lived through similar circumstances, though much more extreme.
Being an anchorite meant that Julian spent years self-isolating in a cell attached to a church in Norwich. Furthermore, Julian lived through several bouts of the Black Death during her lifetime, which saw her city come to a standstill each time. During a time of becoming seriously ill herself she had a vision which she later wrote down in a book we now know as Revelations of Divine Love.
Now that we have concluded our Meaningful Life series, the next editions of this blog will instead include excerpts from Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich. I hope that they will be an encouragement and a blessing to you all at this time. I look forward to jumping in next week.