Sunday, December 10, 2017
I am heading back on the train from Lille to Paris right now. I rise tomorrow at 4:00 am to head to the airport and should be home, God willing, by 10:00 pm tomorrow. As alway this has been a wonderful, if tiring, trip. I have noticed that each year I have less time to roam around and far more dinners and meetings to attend. That suits me fine, of course, and I am so glad to have a full agenda when I come here.
Today, however, was one of those days when I wanted to pull away from the promises I made to myself (in terms of emails and calls to return, etc) and take it easy and rest on what had been accomplished. But one thing I learned in college was that if I was not honest with myself first, I should never expect others to trust me either. So I began to stop making long lists of things I could not or would not complete, and instead stuck to goals and agendas that I could honor.
I don’t consider myself a being a successful businessman, but I have learned to trust myself when I tell myself I am going to do something. This might sound a bit schizophrenic, but what I mean is that I make myself complete things I do not want to complete if I put them on my agenda. It’s made me happier with me, regardless of how happy or unhappy it might have made others.
The point is that today I did not want to send out some twenty emails on my list, but I knew that I promised myself I would not give up and let up. And so I did and today I received the best responses I have in three weeks. I did not want to do the work, but I made myself do it anyway, and the results were the most outstanding yet.
Now three things I “re-learned” today: I like myself more as I do the tough things I must do and promise to do, and as I refuse to hide behind excuses. Next I was reminded that work can be fun, but a lot of the time it’s just not fun—-it’s work! And finally it caught my attention that spiritual endeavors are no different from common labor in this regard. If I do what is good and proper for my soul and as a means of honoring to God (going to worship on Sundays, praying, reading my Bible, sharing my faith with someone seeking light, even writing one of these devotions!) and have an expectation, each time, that I need to “feel good” about doing it or experience some sort of ecstasy and sublime satisfaction each time, I will soon be missing church and eventually digressing in my relationship with God.
One reasons I give the boys in my home chores daily (and they’re not “fun”) is because I hope that I can instill in them the satisfaction that comes from doing the chore properly and so that it becomes their discipline, then habit, and then nature to do what has to be done without whining or whimpering.
Anyone that thinks that being a pastor or priest or Christian camp director is principally about spiritual mountaintops has not lived with that person very long. The work is often boring and tedious—-as all good things are at times—-but sticking at it produces a harvest. I saw it again today.
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