Sunday, January 03, 2016

Overcoming the Puppy Dog Syndrome



I quote the movie "Up" more than I care to admit. And when I say "quote", I mean that I mostly quote the dog in the movie. When I put Jake's cone on his head I often say, "I do not want to wear the cone of shame". And when I notice either myself or someone else is being easily distracted I say, "Squirrel!" and turn my head.

It is easy to have the puppy dog syndrome. Puppy-dog syndrome is want to get going with some project or with life in a certain direction, and then to see something else that looks interesting that diverts your attention for a moment, that then leads to another diversion, and then another. You get the point. You have a plan to start a career in one direction, but then another job comes along that sounds really neat and you take it. Pretty soon you have worked for a church, been a social worker, managed a retail store, and taught a few community college classes in the last ten years with no forward movement vocationally. Or, you decide to clean the kitchen, but pretty soon you are doing dishes, doing laundry, while you are shredding documents and your desk is a mess, you kitchen is only slightly cleaner, and there is a wet load of laundry in the dryer that you forgot to put in the washer and you have to run to pick up the kids. This is puppy dog syndrome.

There are certain parts of my life where I suffer from puppy dog syndrome. I am hoping in the next year to recover from them.

Use of organizational tools--I have an unhealthy interest in planners. I work best with Microsoft Outlook. One problem with my Outlook is that I have not been able to link it to my phone, which is my dream.  Another challenge is that I really need to write things down and have them on my computer to remember them best. So I buy planners. I have several cheap 2016 calendars.

My plan with several calendars is to use them like journals of sorts. One that records what I have done at work. One that has blogging plans. One with reading plans. One that has a journal for exercise. You get the point.

In addition to this I want a Franklin-Covey insert set that is on a really good sale right now as well. I already have the leather folder for it. It has always worked well as a planner that covers everything in the past. It allows me to do a to list, to record what I have gotten done, and to put together a schedule all in one place. I love Franklin Covey.

See what I mean..."Squirrel!"

Reading Plans--I have several books. I think I am close to around 2000 books in my library. About this time of year, I try to set some learning goals, which include a number of books I want to read to get me on my way to really growing personally, theologically, and in some practical skills and insight. My challenge is, I am always overly ambitious on these things.

Here is the draft list of topics I want to delve into in my study time next year:

  • Preaching
  • Spiritual Formation
  • Leadership 
  • Pastoral Ministry
  • Theology (non-current)
    • Continue Institutes
    • Read Barth's Dogmatics
    • NT Wright
  • Pauline studies (especially NT Wright's stuff)
  • Psalms in depth study
  • Contemporary Issues and Trends in Ministry
    • Church organization
    • Church growth
    • Small group development
  • Theology of the Holy Spirit
Devotional Plans--I would like some mix of the following. I have most of them on my phone
  • Praying the daily office
    • PCUSA version, book of common prayer, The Divine Hours,Seeking God's Face, Common Prayer, or other? Or just do whatever feels right that day?
  • Daily Devotionals
    • Tim Keller's new devotional, Hearing God's voice by Tiegren, or something else, as well as seasonal devotions during Lent, Advent, etc
  • Read through the Bible in a Year
See what I mean? Do I really have time for all of this?

I would also like to train for a 5k, 10k, and a half marathon as I lose at least 50 more pounds.

And I would like to be completely devoted to the church, wholeheartedly invested in my kids and wife's life, be more involved in my community, make more friends, etc etc.

See what I mean....SQUIRREL


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