A few months ago I wrote a post called “Playing Whac-a-Mole?-A Discussion of Personal Demons.” In it, I discuss how we…all of us…are plagued by some sin or sins that despite how much we fight, they keep popping their ugly little heads up in our lives. If you want to read the original post, it is one of my most popular and as such it is listed prominently along the right side of this page…just click on it and give it a read.
Like everyone else, I have my own set of sins that tend to attack me from time to time. I hate them. I fight them. They burden me. They embarrass me. You understand what I’m saying…I know you do.
Anyway, this morning I was lamenting my set of personal demons…and I was struck with an idea. I’ve decided to give it a shot, and I thought I’d share it with you just in case you want to give it a go also.
I shouldn’t need any more motivation to change than the knowledge of how much I’m hurting God when I fail, or how much I’m hurting myself, or even more so how much I might hurt those that I'm closest to, but based on my ongoing failures, I apparently do.
So, here’s the idea…
I’m going to reward myself for success. Each day that I am successful in avoiding my specifically targeted failures, I will pay myself one dollar. I will put that dollar in an envelope marked as “R & R” for safe-keeping. I will save the money for a future item that I’d like to buy…in my case I think I’m going to save for a new laptop computer. If I stay successful, I should have the new device in about eighteen months. Of course, if I hold out for a Mac, it may take a bit longer.
On the flip side, there is a penalty for failure. If I fail, I have to pull 50% of the money out of the envelope and donate it to my church. The longer I’m successful, the bigger the penalty for failure and the more disappointed I'll be. For example, if I’m good for 100 days and then fail, I give $50 to the church and I start again with $50 in my envelope. If I make it to 300 days and then stumble, the penalty jumps to $150, and I lose 150 days worth of successful effort.
In case you’re wondering, the “R & R” stands for “Repentance & Reward.”
If you want to join the challenge, here are the rules:
1. Get an envelope or small box and write “R & R” on the outside.
2. Identify an item that you’d like to save for so that you have a clear reward.
3. Determine how much you will put in the envelope/box for each successful day. Any reasonable amount will do.
4. Decide where you will donate the penalty money. Any charity you feel good about is appropriate.
5. Clearly define what constitutes a failure so that you cannot rationalize your way out of the penalty…I know how you think….or, at least I know how I think. Be specific with the targeted sin.
6. Start today and pay your first reward tomorrow.
7. If you have a failure, immediately pull the money out and prepare your donation. Don’t put it off and don’t hesitate.
8. Share the plan with an accountability partner.
This may seem like a crazy idea, but it’s got my attention, so I’m going to run with it. Wish me success.
Now….where’s my mallet? I’ve got some moles to whack!