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Why do we do the things we do? More specifically, why do I do the things I do, or sign up for what I sign up for, or take on what I take on? On my drive into the office this morning, I counted through five things that need my serious attention right now - and oh yeah, the family, kids, soccer practice, helping with laundry, and then some. I've got a busy life right now, and my wife has a busy life right now, and my brother has a busy life right now, and you probably have a busy life right now. Why do we do what we do?

There's the motivation of pleasing people. I know that I've got some of that in me, not necessarily in the normal bad way where I judge my self-worth by what others think. My shortcoming there is more along the lines of taking care of something so you won't have to worry about it. I'll take on a task so it'll get done and you can focus on something else. Part of it is that I would rather get rid of the things I know I can do, leaving you as the interested other party free to do what I can't help you with. Make sense?

Of course there's financial gain. Staying employed is a big motivator for most of us, so we try to do a good job, try to do as much extra as we can without being overburdened. But the stress comes when projects and people start to press against us in different directions. That's probably my biggest blockage, and it takes time to unravel the strands, get things done, meet the proper deadlines and move on. Time, I have to keep reminding myself that this too shall pass.

I think there's a pressure to "be all we can be" by showing how mature we are or how dedicated we are. I've got two main jobs at church, and I have no room to take on more. That's ok - "just say no" should have a prominent spot in anyone's phraseology. In the "this too shall pass" category, the pressures aren't so bad, and there are time limits and constraints that will move the tasks forward as long as I keep things prioritized and moving, right?

Being a good husband and father motivates me, so I hope I'm doing okay on that front. They get caught up in my whirlwind, too, and I get caught up in theirs. That's what families do - swirl around together through schedules and bedtimes and bathtimes and homework and practice and breakfast and all that jazz. But we're in this together - and if there's any thread through all of these motivations, it's that together is a good thing. Being with people, working through challenges and starting and ending projects and getting through crises and sharing the spoils of victory - all that is much better together.

Hermits have no motivation. That's why they're hermits. And why they don't bathe. But I digress.


Blogger Margaret Feinberg said...

Sometimes it seems carpe diem is just plain exhausting. Where do we carpe restum? :)

25/10/05 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may be a gross over-simplification, but as Christians aren't there only two things we are "supposed" to do: Love God and love our neighbor? I guess in my mind, when we do those two things well, then all else falls into place. We know when to say "No"; we don't get caught up in the "unessential" aspects of life; and the things to which we say "Yes" take on a place if greater importance and prominence in our lives. If, as John 15 says, we remain "vitally united to" (Amplified) Him we begin to develop an "eternal" perspective on things.


26/10/05 12:46 PM  

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