I’m going to admit it. I’m lazy. I love planning and organizing, but sometimes when it comes down to executing my grandiose plans I lose steam and suddenly the plans that I spent hours considering and documenting don’t seem that important to carry out. This is especially apparent around New Years, when we have the chance to start fresh and make all these great resolutions. I’ll start out with (at the time I think) a modest 11 or 12 goals which will slowly dwindle to 2 or 3 as the week progresses and I decide that I don’t want to give up pop and actually spend less time on Pinterest.
I don’t know why sometimes there is this disconnect between my plans and their fulfillment – maybe it’s a bit of a humility check for me to realize that I can’t do everything on my own. It’s something that I always forget that when I want to improve on some area of my life. But this is not to say that we shouldn’t make goals and resolutions. I happen to love them, but it is just a little harder for me to carry them all the way through. So that will be one of my goals this coming year, to become a woman of action. As Henry Bergson wrote,
Think like a man of action,
Act like a man of thought
I feel like this is applicable in relation to my previous post about “Forgetting Our Own Happiness.” Instead of focusing on whether we are happy or not in the present moment, and getting stuck, like I often do, pondering my lack of momentary contentedness, we should simply act. Do something that you love. Make grand plans for something you are passionate about, and then take the first step to doing them! The world needs passionate people. The Catholic Church needs passionate members. Maybe it won’t work out like you expect it to, but embrace the obstacles and challenges along the way instead of being discouraged.
On an adventure, we don’t think about our need for little pleasures, like the perfect amount of hazelnut creamer in our coffee or wearing our comfiest pair of socks. I just went to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and I feel like I relate to Bilbo Baggins in a few ways. And no, it’s not that I have hairy feet. It’s his hesitancy at starting out on an adventure. Even as much as I think to myself that I want to have “adventures,” when it gets down to it, am I willing to sacrifice daily comforts and the security of my present life to do something or go somewhere that is completely new?
I think everyone wants to have an adventure. No one wants a life where nothing changes and you never go out and do something, anything. That kind of stagnant lifestyle would be stifling, and there would be no personal growth. Living out your own adventure requires the sacrifice of some personal pleasures. But we are willing to sacrifice that because we crave adventure.
Hard work goes into action and even though it might not be pleasant now, in this moment, it is worth it. G.K. Chesterton wrote, “anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” We are humans which means we are far from perfect. The efforts that we make will be clumsy and flawed. If we wait until we are sure we can accomplish a certain task or job perfectly, we will never act. We will be someone with “good ideas” but if it is not turned into actions, it doesn’t really count. I can think about how to give food, shelter, and help to the poverty-stricken people who live in my town, but if I never actually do any of it, what would my “noble idea” be worth? Nothing.
Gandalf, always full of wisdom, said in The Hobbit,
Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check,
but that is not what I have found.
I found it is the small, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay.
Small acts of kindness and love.
“Keeping the darkness at bay” does not only refer to the evil that goes on in the world – it also means our own darkness. Our own discontentedness. Our own unhappiness. With kind deeds, done in a spirit of love, or even on difficult days, done in a spirit of obedience, we can become people of action. We can be people that carry out our goals for personal improvement in all areas: health, career, relationships, fitness, family. All it requires is trust, humility, and a knowledge that we really can’t do it all on our own. What we contribute is our actions. Take the first step and act on the plan you have made. Launch yourself into an adventure instead of sitting on the sidelines thinking how great it would be to do x, y, or z. God can point you in the direction that He wants you to go, but you and I must do the physical actions of walking down that path.
That is my New Year’s resolution. To become a woman of action. To not stop at making plans but to also act on the desires and passions that God has placed in my heart. It’s time to start my own adventure. Momentary happiness is welcomed, but not required.
Happy 5th day of Christmas! This is currently one of my favorite Christmas songs, and to make a small contribution to your own momentary happiness, I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy.