How do you remember what’s important?

This post isn’t about time management!

“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

Practically speaking, what could it look like to stand firm and hold fast to the things God has taught you?

My nature is to be impulsive–this has ups and downs. One downside is repeated mistakes. I knew I’ll never stop being impulsive so I needed to make sure my impulses went in the right direction. Therefore, I needed to learn to how to reflect, the art of recognize mistakes and recording my learnings. I have my dad to thank for developing this habit!

When I was just getting started in my spiritual journey, I developed the practice of summarizing the things I learned into a single sentence. I’ve been collecting these summaries for 20 years (along with some of my favorite scriptures), and I read them 2 or 3 times a week. Some of these lessons were painful to learn and I don’t want to re-learn them!

So, I’ll ask again: what could it look like for you to stand firm and hold fast?



==== UPDATE ====

In response to Jeff’s request below:

early morning devotions — this is edited slightly, because some stuff would take too long to explain …

reflection: self-control

When I hear people talk about a lack of self-control, they are usually looking back on some impulsive action, typically with regret.

“Self-control” is mislabeled. That is to say, when I lack self control, who then, is in control? For this discussion, we will not leave the realm of personal responsibility. Let’s take a deeper look:

When we have too little self-control, we are impulsive. We fail to act without considering the consequences. Think: Mountain Dew drinking adrenaline junky.

When we have too much self control, we are paralyzed. We fail to act without extreme caution Think latte sipping librarian.

The answer is not to be somewhere in the middle, but to be in the right place when for every different kind of situation.

This begins with understanding and insight into our personal strengths and weaknesses. Most of us lean one way or the other: either the Dew drinker or the Latte sipper. Which one are you?

Don’t wish to be something else! Embrace the strengths you naturally possess!

A joy of the Impulsive is their (nearly) worry free life, everything is an unknown adventure. Life is a continuous stream of unexpected discoveries.

A joy of the Reflective is their (nearly) risk free life, everything is well known journey. Life is a comfortable series of planned results.

Chances are, one of the above is attractive and the other repulsive.

Knowing who you are is important. Knowing the world around you and the situation you face is just as important. There is a time for Fast action and a time for Slow thought.

Where is the discernment to tell the difference? Reflection will be your teacher. Ask God for wisdom.

If you are worrying too much, it is time to let go of a little self-control.

If you are constantly surprised by the consequences of your actions, it is time to slow down and add a little more forethought to your life.

If you have no wonder, it’s time to open up the throttle.

If you have no comfort from consistency, it’s time to settle down.


Control yourself the right amount, know your strengths and know your situations.


There is a time when we always need self control: in our struggles against selfish, sinful nature. The struggle to remain faithfully obedient goes beyond this post, perhaps we’ll look at this another time. (See Mark 8:34–38)