“So, how’s that book coming along?”
I grit my teeth and close my eyes, dreading the interaction that’s about to take place.
“Oh…you know. It’s coming. Slow, but that’s progress for ya.”
“How many pages do you have?”
Curse you friend who knows I am avoiding this question.
“Like 8. I’m at 8 pages. But I have an outline. And I’ve just been really busy lately with work,” I sputter, trying to somehow make it okay that in 3 years I have written a grand total of 8 freaking pages. By the time I actually get around to writing the thing, my subject material will be as irrelevant as my old Hanson CD’s. Pertinent to me, and to me alone.
I zone out during the guilt trip that I imagine is supposed to be inspirational. It’s not. I already guilt myself enough for my lack of progress on a dozen things I’ve said I was going to do but never have:
Writing a book.
Answering dozens of emails in the She Has Worth inbox (sorry everyone).
Reading my Bible.
Having quiet time daily.
Ceasing to put myself down.
Showering more. (Who are we actually kidding though?)
Writing more in general.
Watch TV less.
Trusting God enough to stop micromanaging.
Checking my phone less.
However, even the resulting guilt over my sorely neglected goals doesn’t incite me to actually DO much of anything about them.
But why? If I say I’m going to do something, then why don’t I do it? Why do I feel it’s okay to break a vow I’ve made to myself? I don’t back out of the things my boss asks me to do, or my friends, or family. But when it comes to my own personal goals and calling, it’s a different story. For whatever reason, I have decided that I am not important enough to keep the promises I made to myself. But to be honest, I really don’t like myself when I know I am not doing what I said I was going to do.
It wasn’t until I read Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 that my lack of follow-through was put into perspective.
“When you make a promise [to God], don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to Him. It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.”
Cue uncomfortable garbled noises.
So, if I realize that GOD is the one who has prompted me to do something, if it’s something He has put on my heart or commanded and I STILL don’t do it…well, then that’s poor stewardship. That’s disobedience. That’s foolishness.
I am a fool for wasting the time and talents I was given. I am a fool for not prioritizing God after pledging my life to Him. I am a fool for offering nothing other than lip service.
God has given each of us something to do, and even though it may not feel like it, He has given us enough time to do it. First and foremost, we are to love Him, to know Him, to spend time with Him. That’s at the core of every person’s calling.
But beyond that, what is God calling you to do that you just haven’t gotten around to? Maybe it’s because you thought it was self-imposed. Maybe it’s because you’re afraid. Maybe it’s because you don’t feel like you have the time because your priorities are out of whack.
I’m realizing my God-given dreams and commands are not optional. For the state of my spiritual life and my own personal growth, I need for me to do them more than God needs me to do them. And if I feel like I don’t have the time, then perhaps I need to re-examine my priorities. What is bumping quiet time out of my daily rhythm? What is keeping me from answering emails from young women who just need someone to talk to? What is keeping me from writing a book?
It’s hard. The work is hard and sometimes I feel too tired to try or care. Prioritizing is hard. Not allowing myself to get distracted by the immediate but keep my focus on the permanent, the eternal, is one of the hardest disciplines I have not yet even come close to mastering.
But if I don’t try, if I don’t start being the kind of person who does what she says she’s going to…then what was the point of all this? I will have lived, but I will not have really lived the life I was meant to.
It’s not about accomplishing more or adding meaningless, trivial task items to your already packed to-do list. It’s about realizing that we were made for follow-through. We were made to commune with God, to be filled up, and then to go, to do, to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the ways and spaces He has opened up for us. And if we can’t follow-through, then we need to stop saying we will do things we know we just won’t. That’s damaging both to ourselves and to others.
I want to be the kind of person that does what she says. I want to be the kind of person who cares enough about others, about myself, and about God and His plan to follow-through. Even when it feels too hard. Even when it feels scary. Even when I’m not sure where the time or energy will come from.
I want to be one who keeps my promises, not just when others are looking, but when God is the only one who sees…I want to do what I said I would.