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.


Anonymous said...

It's better to say yes than live with the guilt of not doing the right thing.

Shiksa said...

Good luck to you! Very good food for thought. I wonder if procrastination is the adult way of "I don't wanna."

Kdburris said...

I don't know exactly what situation you're referring to with your family. but God's not going to ask you to do something to take away from them, so you can get ""brownie points" with Him.
When we love God for who He is (and what He's done) we are motivatied to give love back to showing it to others be it true reaction of His goodness to us that spills over to those around us. I He know's you're willing and see's something He wants specifically done, the Holy Spirit will tug at your heart, you"ll know.....:) It's ok to "not wanna", esp. if you've been neglecting yourself, you can't give what you don't have ( spiritual rest and refilling such as goodness and mercy). Being in His presence daily always keeps you filled to over flowing!!!:)

Alois said...

I found the original post more insightful than the previous comment, although I appreciate its good intentions. I agree that following God is very difficult--or at least can be. That is why Christians pray to be led not into temptation. You are (or at least have been) there! but you have also received the rare gift of a clear vision of the good life. The loneliness, or so it seems, of that gift is difficult enough; but those who receive it must listen both responsibly, to our real commitments (family, yes, and then nasty things like debt), and courageously, to the many voices in our head internalized from society--occasionally good, though often quite destructive even when seemingly anodyne (sometimes even quoting the Bible). God be with you (and all of us) as you discern the spirits. I trust that your prayer from the midst of this dilemma will bring you into peace. Thank you for your inspiring honesty.

Norm Deplume said...

Thanks everyone for taking the time to read my thoughts.

Alois, you really hit the nail on the head about the "loneliness" of having a different understanding of "the good life" than most people. I know that I'm not really alone, ever, but being so out of step with modern society does have its complications. I'm willing to live with them, though-- it's worth it.

Anonymous said...

You're at the right age for this kind of deep thought. It comes to most of us, and we have to wrestle a lot to try to figure out who we are, where we are, and where God wants us to be. I can only tell you that when you reach a ripe old age (70 will do), you'll finally let it all rest. Ah, such peace of mind! Too bad I couldn't have had it when I was your age. KdF

Kara said...

Hi Norm and fellow kegel slacker! Thanks for stopping by Mama Sweat. I too have so many "don't wanna" moments, but I like to compare them to getting through a long run when my body would prefer to be on the couch... Love the bit about prayer, too--I always try to remember "Thy will be done!"