Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Push, Pause, and Persevere
By Micky Wolf
It was one of those days that seemed to go on for a week—all about the “p” word. Well, make that a few of them.
Some mornings when my rear end hits the seat in front of the screen, the thought of writing anything meaningful is about as far from my sensibilities as possible. Everything has been said. And by others far more talented and gifted than me. Whoa. Stop right there. And usually I do, sooner rather than later. Been down that path of briars and brambles with names like envy and comparison.
However, there are times when seeing what lays before me, the only way I can stay the course is to push myself to make the good and loving choice. Doing so requires intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual strength. It is important to note this kind of “pushing and doing” is not about working out of our own strength but more akin to taking responsibility and choosing to shove aside the mud and debris of negativity clouding head and heart. There it is, see it now—the path you truly desire to take!
All of us—in our vocation or calling, and as Christians—need a push at times. Not the kind of mean-spirited shove we gave an annoying playmate or sibling when we were kids. And not the kind that resemble kicking ourselves down the dark alley of self-loathing. A good push to get going in the right direction will always be one grounded in love and compassion, for others and self.
Some mornings when my rear end hits the seat in front of the screen, the tap-tap-tapping of the keys can’t begin soon enough, or continue long enough. On those occasions, the incessant growling and grumbling of my stomach may reach discordant levels before I realize there is a need for food and water. All things physical aside, the intensity and focus of being in the sweet spot of flowing words and ideas is indeed a wonderful state of being. But it cannot last forever.
As with the Christian journey, it isn’t always about being ensconced in the mystical realm of bliss and ascendency hour after hour, nary a challenge or problem to be seen or heard. Occasionally—yes.
Pauses are important. If we hope to be responsible and compassionate, we need to remember we are part of something much larger than self. And of what it means to carry out the duties we are called to as spouse, parent, family member or friend. At other times, pausing for rest or to nourish our body, mind, and emotions is equally necessary and appropriate for maintaining health and well-being.
Some mornings when my rear end hits the seat in front of the screen, the ensuing action is such a thrill. Right. Plunk. Plunk. Plunk. Attempting to pluck the feathers off a frightened, fleeing chicken would most surely be more exciting and effective. So I hunker down and take a deep breath. Making the choice to focus on another idea or project for awhile is often all it takes to ignite and energize thoughts as well as the attitude.
Moving over, around, or through the various obstacles that lay in wait on the writing path is one thing. When it comes to the spiritual journey of remaining faithful and trusting God, most of us know all too well, some of the potential deterrents: being so busy daily time for prayer gets short shrift, or no attention at all; taking part in idle conversation that tickles and titillates our flesh; getting discouraged when we think God is taking too long to answer our prayers; wanting to give up on an important relationship because there seems to be little evidence the other person is making any changes for the better.
The choice to stay the course and persevere faces every single human being on any given day. Sometimes the challenges are nigh to overwhelming, on other occasions they present themselves in the subtle guises of boredom or indifference. Nevertheless, in God we have all that we need—if only we will turn to Him. It may seem we have little to show for our good intentions. Yet, whether it’s about taking one tiny step forward in becoming more Christ-like, or tap, tapping out a mere handful of words on the blank page, we need to appreciate there is growth and insight which didn’t exist the previous hour or day.
Peace that Prevails…
I am thankful that many mornings when my rear end hits the seat in front of the screen there is a great sense of joy and contentment, which brings to the fore another “p” concept.
If we truly desire to live in the peace that prevails, we need to realize we are not powerless when it comes to our thoughts and feelings—we do have a choice about what we are thinking and feeling. What has been helpful to me is recognizing and accepting that my feelings and thoughts need an adjustment from time to time and that I am no less or better a person for it.
Not one among us know the length of hours or days we have been allotted. Given that Truth, let us embrace each moment, unique unto itself.
Do I feel comfortable or uncomfortable about pushing myself on occasion? Why?
What does taking time to pause mean to me?
Do I understand the difference between pausing and persevering?