“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” -Romans 7:15
Paul sure said it well, didn’t he? If the author of a significant portion of the New Testament felt this way, surely it’s not unexpected for us to feel this way too! I know I spent my last post on this topic, but really – it’s a good topic, don’t you think? So here goes part 2. 🙂
Eating well. Meal planning. Exercising. Sharing about Jesus. Things I want to do but do not do. These are just the examples that popped into my head immediately. If I gave it more time I’m positive I would have a much longer list.
Staying up too late (every. single. night.). Giving my kids my divided attention instead of my undivided attention. Not speaking up when I know I should. Staying in my comfort zone because it’s “too hard” to get outside of it. Taking my kids through yet another drive-thru. Things I do but do not want to do. Again, just a sample of the examples I could give.
Surely I’m not alone here. Surely each of you struggle with similar issues. (And if you say you don’t, I know you’re lying!) So what’s the deal? Why is it SO hard to do what we know is best? And equally hard to not do what we know we shouldn’t?
Well the first and most obvious reason is that we are imperfect people. It’s the nature of sin and humanity on this earth. We can’t attain perfection this side of Heaven. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this one except to go back to God over and over again asking for forgiveness, direction, and motivation. I personally find myself doing this regularly.
Another reason it’s hard to prioritize what we know we should do and avoid what we don’t really want to do is our cluttered lives. Think about it. What does a typical week look like for you? If you’re like most of America, chances are your weeks are full. And if it’s not – good job!! (And please leave me a comment with your secrets to success!)
For the rest of us, a normal week is overflowing with work, kids activities, church and/or community meetings, various projects, home upkeep, and other miscellaneous activities that keep us going, going, going. We barely have time to sit down when we eat – how can we be expected to find the energy to focus on prioritizing and planning for success? Right? Isn’t that the thought process that runs through our head when we start to feel guilty?
Chronic distraction. This period in human history has to be the most distracted generation of all time (so far). Thanks ever so much to those oh-so-helpful-time-saving smart phones that are always a reach away. Thanks to social media, TVs, tablets, commercials, radio, movies, video games, Amazon, and Google. These things have infiltrated our lives and brains almost to the point of no return. Do a quick calculation. How much of your day do you invest in these things? Probably more than you’d like to admit. More than I’d like to admit, that’s for sure.
When we are chronically busy and distracted, what else can we expect of ourselves? If we never factor in margin to be silent, be still, and just be alone with our thoughts and with God, what is the best we can hope for? A life of getting by, that’s what. Just getting by as we keep doing the things we don’t mean to, and not doing the things we do mean to.
Let’s make THRIVING the goal. What if we chose to say no to a few commitments and say yes to slowing down enough to let God steady our racing minds and point us in the right direction. A new direction, perhaps.
Being deliberate with our thoughts and choices is the only way to go from getting by to thriving. Maybe it feels frivolous when you’re in the moment. “Sit on my porch with a cup of coffee and quiet my mind? I don’t have time for that! I have things to do, do, do!”
“Sit on my porch with a cup of coffee and quiet my mind? Yes. Then I can hear what God has to say. I can plan out my priorities and also see where God wants to lead me. Yes, how can I not have time for that?”
Be still. It just may be our first step toward doing more of the things we want to do and doing less of the things we don’t want to do. Toward putting aside getting by in favor of thriving. Take that step. I’ll try it too. See what happens. And then leave me a comment and let me know how it goes. 🙂