There is always a constant question in my head that I believe sweeps the same dirt into the heads of others: Am I doing everything I can?
A mother wants to recreate every touching moment she has seen on TV, a teacher wants his students to respond in the same way he saw the inner-city teens respond in a movie, a firefighter wants his marriage to be as strong as the one he read about, a kid wants to change the world the way she saw it happen on YouTube. We all have the deep desire inside us, not necessarily to make a difference, but to do all things well; and that’s where our problems lie, because we only have ourselves to do them.
As a writer, it’s not so much that I want to have my name known; it’s that I want people to have something open inside them to more when they read the noodle of words I put together. If I write a helpful article, I want others to feel inspired to run to try what I’ve just told them they can do. If I write a short story, I want its readers to laugh and have a better day, or to cry because I’ve finally hit the spot they couldn’t reach, or to think more deeply about how their lives affect others. I said above that I didn’t necessarily want to make a difference. I lied. I do, but I want to make a difference on the inside of private hearts, not in the outer glimmer and sheen of my life.
Wanting to do all things well can be overwhelming. I can have my checklist so long that it never gets done, even on a good writing day with no one else around. I lie in bed thinking about the number of words I could have written, how far ahead I’d be in my novel if I’d only gotten off Facebook earlier, what I’ll write about on my blog tomorrow.
So how can I fix myself?
The only thing I can do is try to copy the most perfect man ever so I have to ask myself What would Jesus do? Cliché, I know, but very practical.
Would he be on FaceBook? Absolutely! He loves people.
Would he write up his blog every two to three days to keep subscriptions and visitors coming? Dunno. He did go out every day to talk with people.
Would he have a target word count for his novel? I think he got other people to write for him. He was more of a story-teller. 😉
Would he lie awake at night feeling like he’d shortchanged himself and others? No, he got his to-do list in the morning and just did that for the rest of the day.
Jesus lived in the moment and everyone thought he was perfect. Well, he was, but that’s neither here nor there for this discussion in my head. He enjoyed who he was; he enjoyed each person that came his way; he was ready for all the interruptions (even welcoming them as opportunities to love); and he had no worries about the next day, let alone the next year. He didn’t have a house. He had no income. He spoke his mind. He knew he had a lot to give.
Could my life be that way, too? What if I got up in the morning and made my list then? What if the only thing on it was to write my blog and the rest of the day was an adventure? What if I didn’t even have a list? Would I feel safe, secure in knowing that everything that should be done would get done? Would I end up loving others more once they were no longer mentally treated as an interruption to my list?
I think so, and I say that because I’ve tried it recently. Before I even get out of bed I ask what I should do first. Then I do it. I wait again and think about what to do after that. Then I do it. Surprisingly, much more has been done these days, and I have more time for people. I think it’s because I’m living in the moment instead of trying to be perfect.