Simple actions 5: make a mark

First published May 15, 2009

“Every time you say no or say yes, put an x on a calendar.”

We’ve been looking doable actions coming out of Titus 2:11-14. We’ve talked about activities that have been pretty spiritual – praying, knowing that God loves us, saying no to ungodliness, saying yes to godliness.

These are important actions, and doable. They also feel unmeasurable.

This isn’t new, of course, the feeling of wondering about progress.  That’s why people piled up stones as reminders of what God had done, as reminders of notable conversations with God. When you walk past the stones, you see reminders of interaction.

Sometimes we need marks. Sometimes we need indicators. Sometimes we need reminders that something happened.

That’s why we write, whether journals or diaries or blogs. They provide EKGs of our spiritual heartbeat, tangible tracks that we can review to remember. However,  sometimes, a simple mark on a calendar can note a day when something happened, something significant, something worth tracking.

It’s possible to make marks day after day as well. A set of marks on a page can show progress, or at least actions, or perhaps consistency.

For example, what if you are wanting to learn to say no to screaming at a coworker? It has been happening every day. Until last Tuesday. You woke up and said, “God, this has got to stop.” And with a variety of actions, you end up not screaming. Put an x on a calendar. Happened again Wednesday. Another mark. Thursday, lost it.  Friday, kept quiet.

Now you have a calendar with three marked days, three days when you said no, with God’s help. Three small altars that prove you wrong when you say, “I always” and when you say, “I can’t.”

“Every time you say no or say yes, put an x on a calendar.”

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.