Thursday, May 27, 2010

But I don't wanna!

A couple of weeks ago, there was something that I didn't want to do. I knew in my head and my heart that I should, that it was the right thing to do, but I just didn't feel like committing the time or the energy to it. At this moment, I don't even recall specifically what it was. But the feeling of a whiny "I can't do that because of ___ and ___ and ___" is very clear. The resulting feeling was weird, as I'm usually pretty sure of my good-person-ness. I couldn't justify myself. Rationalization of my actions was impossible. God/Universe/Spirit/Conscience had told me what to do, and I was willfully ignoring it.

Yelling "I don't wanna" was keeping me from living the good life.*

My kids stomp their feet and whine when they don't want to empty the dishwasher or put away their clothes, or brush their teeth. We expect it from children. We have fancypants experts to tell us that they are "exploring their boundaries" and "learning their place in the world." But what about us grown ups? We don't stomp our feet and cry very often. Willfully not doing the right thing because it isn't the convenient thing to do is really the same action, isn't it? What's our excuse? Our boundaries are explored. Our place in this world is set. But still we rebel against doing the right thing all the time. Right action is hard. It very often isn't comfortable, and it usually isn't profitable.

Doing the right thing, feeling the right feeling, thinking the right thoughts, are not easy. Justifying non-action by writing a check instead is easy. Turning down an opportunity for mission, citing other (more fun) commitments, is easy. Getting all self-righteous about how politicians are screwing up the world is incredibly easy. Ignoring the whole kit and kaboodle by watching a movie is also very easy.

God tells us what to do, and we stomp our feet, screw up our faces and yell, "I'm not going to do it! I'm not going to throw away my comfort, my comfy couch, my free time, all that I've worked so hard for! You can't make me!" I suppose there are some people who are satisfied there. They do that, go on about their lives and do just fine for their years on this earth. But something has happened to me, and I don't think I can do it anymore. I don't know how I'm going to do it, it's going to be a difficult process, balancing the needs/wants of my family with the needs of Spirit. But it needs to be done.

I picked up a book at the library the other day** and in the introduction was this:
Prayer is not so much about convincing God to do what we want God to do as it is about convincing ourselves to do what God wants us to do.
I guess I'd better pray on it, eh?

*Good life = right-lived life, not the cocktails-on-the-veranda type of "good life", although that is much more enjoyable.
** Becoming the Answer to our Prayers by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. I'm only a chapter in, but it looks to be a real barn-burner.