Carefully And Continuously

12 07 2010

I don’t even want to write about this one today:

“The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” Proverbs 13:4

Don’t you hate it when you know what you ought to do but don’t feel like doing it? You know that what you ought to do will have a good result in the end, it is just that the thing you ought to do is quite often not that appealing.

Yesterday, Brian referred to the Law of Causality in his message; the definition is as follows:

“Causality is the relationship between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), where the second event is a consequence of the first.” (Wikipedia)

Side note: To me, it sounds kinda obvious, but do a little reading on it and you will see that philosophers have philosophized about the Law of Causality to oblivion.

Proverbs 13:4 urges us to be diligent so that our desired outcome will be realized. Diligence, in case you are interested, is “careful and continued work.”

See, that is the problem right there. Unless you are like my mother who thrives on doing the jobs no one else will do — the unrewarding ones that take a long time and are really picky and tedious and boring — “careful and continued work” isn’t particularly attractive.

Diligence needs a zippy marketing campaign to draw us in a little more. For example, here is a picture I found that came with the caption, “Cleaning The Toilet Can Be Fun!”

Some guy hooked up a drill to his toilet brush. So, maybe not the best idea, but at least he is making an attempt at jazzing up what is otherwise a tedious job.

Or there are the guys who thought they could make vacuuming fun by turning it into a game:

(actually, you should read their blog. They have 10 suggestions for making vacuuming fun or, “fun-er”)

As I am writing this, I am realizing something. It is hard to be diligent because it lacks the fun factor. Anything that is “careful and continued” has a bit of an assembly-line sound to it. If someone says to me, “Hey, do you want to do something carefully and continuously for a while and see what happens?” I will be inclined to take their temperature.

At the same time, the Proverb says that the sluggard craves.  Am I the only one relating to this? I mean there are things I genuinely want to see happen in my life — good things, smart things. Some of these things I go after, but I definitely have a list of things I crave that I don’t see happen because the Law of Causality proves that my lack of effort equals lack of results.

I like how the Proverb ends: fully satisfied. If we apply some diligence, we will be fully satisfied. Doesn’t that just sound good to say?

“I am fully satisfied because I have put in my full effort; I have been diligent and I can now sit back and look at what has come as a result.”

Does that ever sound simple. In reality, all it takes is 5 little words to kill the momentum: I don’t feel like it. If I look at what I do, much of it is based on how I feel. I feel happy so I do this. I feel hungry for something in particular so I eat that. I feel energetic about something specific so I do that specific thing. But ask me to do something that falls into my “dislike” category and I am not really going to feel like doing that, so I won’t unless I have no other option.

The problem with having no other option (and you can put yourself in place like that – rehab, bootcamps, programs, structures, prison) is that someone else is governing your behavior.

To be diligent is an act of free-will, to be a sluggard is an act of free-will. To crave is an option. To be satisfied is an option. It is frustratingly simple and simply frustrating at the same time.

I just have to pray, God, help me with those areas I tend to be lazy in. Help me to change that mindset of being governed by what I feel like doing and move me towards acting on what is good. Help me to be “diligent about being diligent.” I don’t want to miss out of any of what you have for me simply because of a lack of effort on my part.

So today…what is that saying?

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

— Teresa Klassen

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2 responses

12 07 2010
Brianne Christiansen

Hello Teresa

I just wanted to drop a little note and say, thankyou. When ever I have the courage to check your blog I am left encouraged by your truth. You challenge me to look deeper into my life and find the truth that I tend to hide. I seem to go by the motto ignorance is bliss. Its not working out so well for me. It seems like everytime I read your blog it’s about something I am struggling with. Thankyou again for writing from your heart! You’ve changed my day!!!

12 07 2010
teresaklassen

Thanks for letting me know that Brianne, that is so encouraging! Looking forward to seeing you soon 🙂

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