So, I’m going to be honest… today I’ve spent time with God, responded to discussion boards, returned emails, graded over 100 pages of papers, worked on German, listened to an hour of Augustine’s City of God, memorized part of Psalm 23 in Hebrew, taken part in a bible study, done grocery shopping, and… well, a few other sundry things (like watching an episode of Agents of Shield). Sound like a lot to you? It does to me. So, I have to admit that I’m exhausted and ready for bed, and I completely forgot that it was my turn to post today. Here’s the thing: there are always… always… always going to be things that you need to do, even when you’re too tired to do them, too busy to do them, to whatever to do them. There are always going to be times when you want to phone things in, ignore your responsibilities, be selfish… you get the point. Whatever the situation, whatever the reason, whatever the circumstance, there will be a reason, often a good reason, that you can’t/shouldn’t/don’t want to do what you know you’re supposed to do.
Do it anyway.
Whether it’s calming down a distressed girlfriend, or wife, in the middle of a busy work day. Taking the time to talk to a worried student or co-worker, even though you don’t have the time, or making time to relax when you’re life is going to fall apart if you miss another deadline. Your figure out what it is that you need to do. You set your priorities. You make the decisions in your life. This is true of writing, relationships, school, work, and pretty much everything else that you will ever do. There are things that we can control, and things that we can’t control. All too often we spend our time worrying about the things that we can’t control (like whether our professor hates us or what our co-workers are doing), and don’t bother actually controlling the things that we can control (like how we spend our time and energy). Instead, try focusing on the things that you can control, and let the things you can’t control slide. If you can’t do anything about, don’t worry about it. It’s a pretty simple rule, but then… simple and easy are two completely different things.
And before you think I’m being sanctimonious, I’m not perfect at this. Sometimes (it really depends on the day), I’m not particularly good at it. However, I’ve done my best to live in a manner that recognizes what I can do, and what I can’t do. In our bible study tonight we discussed Ecclesiastes 7:15-22. The major, overarching theme of this passage is that you shouldn’t focus too much on being righteous (because trusting in your own goodness will never get you anywhere), but at the same time you shouldn’t stop trying to be righteous (because giving up just isn’t an option).
Ultimately, we’re all on a mission in life that we are going to fail. Whether your goal is to be righteous, to be the best author, to be a great scholar, whatever… You will fail. We all fail sometimes. However, that doesn’t mean that we quit. This is something that authors should know better than most. So, take your day, focus on what you can do, be cognizant of what you can’t do, and keep trying to be better. Oh, and enjoy yourself along the way. It’s quite a ride.