My first thought with this remix was to hold a “rededication contest” and just ask people to comment on the number of times they have rededicated their lives. But I didn’t want to embarrass you, because I would win.
It probably wouldn’t even really be that close. To tell you the truth, even if you beat me on sheer quantity, I would have to win for quality on the ultimate rededication I pulled off my freshman year of college. I have written about it before because it was ridiculous.
During my first semester I kind of went crazy. I had just come from an all boys Catholic High School and went out of my mind with all the freedom and all the opportunities. I got put on a year long social suspension for a Halloween prank, appeared before the dean of discipline a number of times and got summarily rejected from every frat because I was such a jerk. Worst of all, because I got a 2.4 GPA for the semester, I was in danger of losing my scholarships which required a 3.0.
During Christmas break between semesters I built a robot version of me. I mentally and emotionally just decided to be different. This was going to be a new start. I could change. I would change.
And it worked. I was awesome. People loved my attitude and were astounded at the transformation. A girl I recently connected with again via my facebook profile told me in the library, “Last semester, you were such a *&%^!#*# but this semester I really like you.” That meant a lot to me at the time, but what meant even more were my grades.
I got straight A’s.
I got a 4.0 and balanced out my GPA to 3.01. The scholarships were saved. The world was right again. Of course, that summer, after the semester was over and I could stop holding my breath and white knuckling it, I went right back to my old ways. I returned right back to the stuff that had gotten me into the first semester mess. Nothing really changed.
Maybe it would have if I had just “tried harder.” That’s a favorite phrase of us rededication folks. The actions we’re failing at are less questioned, but we’ll analyze our effort level for years. I thought it would be good though to save you all that trouble and come up with a rededication guide. A how to “rededicate your life again” guide that includes an action and how long you can expect it to last.
How to rededicate your life to God again:
1. Throw away your old stuff.
Nothing says, “I’m serious this time about God” like throwing away your music and movies and maybe even your unfiltered computer. A friend of mine smashed his up with a hammer one time. I’ve thrown out stuff a few dozen times myself. It works really well if you have a group with you, possibly formed at a retreat when a minister said the phrase, “lay your junk at the foot of the cross.” Duration = 1 month or roughly until that artist releases a new album or you hear them on the radio a few times. (I’ve gotten stuff out of the garbage before that I threw away hours earlier, but then I’m the champ.)
2. Use lots of words.
Someone once said, “The truth is generally seen, rarely heard.” So true, and since you might eventually be taking back a lot of the things that come along with a rededication, it’s good to say things instead of actually doing them. I prefer phrases such as, “I never realized it until now,” or “This is not like all those other times,” or “You better be ready for a new Jon.” Duration = 2 months or until even you get that they’re just words and don’t really matter.
3. Get rid of negative friends.
My biggest negative influences both moved in separate incidents when I was in the middle of a funk so I never really had to deal with this situation. But I have seen it executed a number of times. Whether you actually tell them they are getting “friend dumped” is up to you. But bear in mind, if you do break up with your friends they’ll probably be back in your life soon so try not to be too grumpy about the whole thing. Duration = 3 weeks or until you go to that concert you had tickets for all this time or until you go out as a group and they are there too and I mean it’s just a group thing, what am I supposed to do?
4. Blame your location.
My mom kind of ruined this one for me but I’ll still throw it out there anyway. Sometimes, it’s fun to blame your recent demise on your city or your state or in extreme cases, your hemisphere. Just start saying things like, “I gotta get out of this city.” Or “Freakin’ Minnesota, I can’t believe Minnesota keeps doing this to me!” Step two is to find a really nice locale you can move to and have your life be completely, magically different. “I’m moving to Florida. You hear me Commonwealth of Massachusetts? It’s over! Don’t call me ever again, for jury duty that is.” Beautiful right? I thought so too until a family we knew was moving to Tahiti to escape there problems and my mom quoted that old adage, “wherever you go, there you are.” The truth is, we bring our problems with us. Duration = 4 months or until you move to California and realize that loneliness isn’t confined to geographical borders.
I think rededicating your life can be a great thing. I have seen marriages start fresh and blossom in some really cool ways. I have seen the radical transformation that can occur when God gets down with people. I myself have received a few emails since starting this site from people that knew me back in the day that say things like, “Is your new faith a sign of the impending apocalypse?”
My only issue with the rededication process is when we use it as a way to narcotize our hearts. Instead of going through the pain of our actions or the hurt we’ve caused, we put that in a box under our bed because “we’re starting something new today!” I think that’s dangerous. I think when we rush into the new without spending any time understanding what got us into the old, we guarantee that we’ll end up in the same place again.
The scary thing, according to author Dr. Gerald May, is that in some extreme cases, a part of you will say, “Yeah, let’s do it, this time is going to be great. I am so on board!” Your junk will actually support and encourage you because it knows that the bigger the effort, the grander the rededication attempt, the harder you will fall. And the deeper you’ll slide right back into your junk.
I wish I had a single sentence summary for this post, but I don’t. The only thing I can say is that instead of constructing highly detailed, optimistic rededication plans in my life, I’m trying to rely on some really simple prayers. They might not sound very spiritual, but this is all I can say when I feel the desire to rededicate again. I’ll leave you with them:
I can’t do this.