May 8, 2012

Taking Flight

"Weekends are for seeing how the grass always grows greener right where you point the water hose and that can be right under your feet."  Ann Voskamp

I read those words today.  And they couldn't be more timely.  After the Lord came down hard this morning (listen to Alistair Begg's sermon for reference),  it was as if when I read these words he was softly saying, "Okay, now that you get it, let's start right where you are. What you are longing for starts right here, right now."  "No more flitting around to and fro.  It's time to get down to business." It was kind of like the hug that comes from a mother after you've been disciplined.

When the Word of God cuts through all the rationalization and justification of years of bad habit, and it is all laid wide open, with nothing hidden, it makes me feel naked, like I want to run and hide, but it's too late, I've already been seen.  My heart is contrite.  Tears flow as  I sit before God with a bare soul, nothing left to hide, at least that I'm aware of, and left with no excuses.  Faced with the knowledge that I can no longer call sin bad habit, I'm faced with a choice, obedience or disobedience.

Since before I became a Christian at the age of 9, I have covered the sin of laziness with words like, overwhelmed, insecure, perfectionist, procrastinator, and undisciplined (which is also a sin and the other side of the same coin).  I felt so good about this ugly habit when a professor in college told me that I am dealing with my perfectionism by procrastinating.  I thought "perfectionist" was a good label because it meant that when I did things I did them well, real well.  True, I do procrastinate because I don't' like to do things halfway.  Doing everything perfectly is overwhelming and one rarely has the energy, let alone the ability, to do all things perfectly all the time.  But when we have let things go to the point where opportunities have been missed, and things have piled up so significantly that we cannot muster the motivation to begin, then we've allowed our feelings to rule our life. I have been sinning by leading an undisciplined life, and I have been so weighed down that I have been stuck in one place unable to fly, movement slight, but insignificant.

I don't need to get into the nitty gritty of how laziness has moved from a lifetime annoyance to something that has taken over my life.  Some how I've managed to keep it out of my work life, but it spills freely into my personal life and things are out of control.  When I speak of laziness to well meaning people, like my mother, the response is always the same, "You're not lazy.  You've earned two degrees, you work full-time, you spend lots of time helping family and others, you are involved with Bible study and church.  You don't have much free time to be lazy with!"  I have learned however, that action does not mean progress. One can travel in circles after all. And like a butterfly, we can flit from one beautiful project to the next, and back again without really getting anywhere at all.  When we do only what we want to do because of how we feel at any given moment, and we don't do what we need to do because of how we feel at any given moment, that is laziness.  When "want" overrides responsibility, that is laziness.  I often take the path of least resistance.  I spend a lot of time doing what I want to do, and very little time doing what I need to do.  As a result, I have hours, days, maybe weeks of work that I am staring at like a barefoot climber might look at the sharp rocks on a rugged incline that he is about to climb.  No shoes, just grit, true grit.  It's going to take work, hard work, to change.  It's work that I have to do.  Yes, God will help me, and give me strength, but he won't do the work for me.  I have taken paths of least resistance all of my life, the ruts and grooves that have formed run deep.  But when it becomes a matter of sin.  There is only one choice.  That choice however has to be made over and over and over again every moment of every day as I spend the time he has put in my bank.

I'm 45 years old, and I have wasted A LOT of time.  Some dreams that have slipped away are more than likely unattainable at this point, but not all of them.  There is work that God has placed before me, work that has collected dust, and I don't want to take advantage of his long-suffering any longer.  Because ultimately, it is a slap in the face of a God who has displayed an unfathomable faithfulness to me in spite of my daily failure to be obedient in this area of my life.

I have shared my deepest feelings about this with my husband, and now I'm sharing it with you.  I am accountable because I've confessed the sin.  It is that ugly word called sin, not simply that glossed over phrase, "lack of self-discipline." Now, I've been stuck here in this place of inaction long enough; it's time for me to take flight.

And what a gracious God to teach me such a lesson while sitting in the middle of a flower bed watching and chasing butterflies as they flit around from flower to flower.  I saw myself there amongst them, and I pray that is me in the last photo.

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  1. Usually we are our worst critic. We look at our personal life and think it should have the same drive as our work place. If voices are showing us a trend or something special that we believe needs to change, then it is time to listed carefully and notice if it is God speaking or if it is the Accuser!
    You must not think rest is being lazy for God often calls us to rest.

  2. Ah yes, "anything worth doing is worth doing well."
    But it's also true that anything worth doing is worth doing not all that well rather than it not getting done at all!

    Thanks for sharing this honest post. I can't help thinking that you may still be expecting more of yourself than God is. May He give you balance and peace, and walk you along baby step by baby step, which is the only way things get done anyway.

  3. Thank you for this post. I've been guilty of the sin of laziness in my life. I want to be obedient to do those things the Lord has called me to do, as opposed to wasting time on those things I desire to do.

  4. It's good to know when it's time to fly. It's also good (of God) to know when it's time to be still and know that He is God. Blessings on your journey.

  5. I love this post. I think about a lot of the same things, but for me it's to the point that I don't even know what God wants me to do anymore.

  6. I can relate to this post all too well. Sometimes I just get stuck in the start position. Frozen by what to do first. If only I would get started, then I would be off.

  7. His faithfulness in light of my own imperfections amazes me. How brave you are to confess and commit to living into His grace better! I think that is what it takes to fly--a willing and teachable heart.

  8. Beautiful post! I'm working on self-discipline too... in a bit of a different way - but still - it's hard! God will help us!

  9. Maybe more of those dreams are still attainable than you realize.

    And maybe mine are too.

    Thank you for encouraging a sister perfectonist.

    p.s. I love the post before this one. Your profile shot is stunning! And I'm sure that you look beautiful even without makeup.

    Sweet dreams,

  10. Ann is so full of wisdom and it's amazing how God will take others words and convict us of issues He wants us to deal with....My sister, you have done that for me today...He has used your voice to say to me...."Stop waiting and get on with it I will give you all you need for each assignment I will give you" there now we are both accountable.....


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