Part II: Shifting My Expectations

To continue my previous story . . .

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not counting myself a complete failure for not completing my to-do list. With this season of Lent, I’ve been thinking a lot about how second chances don’t have to wait. The next available opportunity to make a change is right now . . . not tomorrow morning, or the beginning of next week, or the first day of next month. So I’ve already reprinted off my list with intentions of reviewing and revising it this weekend, and starting afresh on my detox endeavors.

The difference this time is that I’m focusing on changing my imprint and being more disciplined.

What am I talking about with this imprinting business, you ask? My pastor introduced this term to me in a new light a couple weeks ago. In psychology, Konrad Lorenz coined the term while working with greylag geese. He discovered that the geese defined who their parents were based upon the first moving object they saw within the first 36 hours after hatching. As wikipedia notes, “Most famously, the goslings would imprint on Lorenz himself (more specifically, on his wading boots), and he is often depicted being followed by a gaggle of geese who had imprinted on him.” Studies have shown similar behaviors within child development, as babies in the womb even begin to learn who their parents are.

As we navigate life, the things we have imprinted affect our view of life, our beliefs, and ultimately our behavior. When I worked in human resources, we often referred to this as our internal grid. Everything we observe passes through this grid first as we internalize and analyze its meaning. I was encouraged and challenged by my pastor’s exhortation on this concept. It’s not enough to make lists and intend to change our behavior. If we don’t first change the imprint, then we’ll always revert back to the old behavior at some point.

His sermon came with good timing, as I’m wrapping up this month of detoxing and lists of behaviors I want to change. As I have worked to strip away some of these distractions, I think I have created space to allow God to reveal these insights to me. I have changed a few habits, but if all I took away from this month was the revelation to change my imprint and to admit that I stink when it comes to discipline, then it was worth it.

Stay tuned for the final part of the story: Where Do I Go From Here?


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