When you say you want something, but you do nothing to attain it, what is that called?
Lack of vision?
Fear of commitment?
It’s something. I don’t know what to call it, but I can tell you how it feels. It’s miserable.
It’s living “in between”.
This is my relationship with many things in my life, loose fitting goals strung out in front of me. I read them like a menu: Should I do this or not? And then I choose not to order.
It’s bothered me more and more lately that so much of my life is lived in the space between. With finances, with relationships, with God, with fitness and health. I choose not to choose.
And then that is my choice. This strange, icky, in between place where I feel compelled to do something, and yet repelled by it at the same time.
I want to spend more time with God. Why don’t I?
I want to focus more on my family. Why don’t I?
I want to write three times a week on my blog. Why don’t I?
I want to be in shape physically? Why aren’t I?
I talked to my friends about this phenomenon last week. My friend Kerry called it something like “competing values”. I have a value to love God, but I also value something else more, or else I would spend the time with him that I want.
I have a value for health and fitness. But I value something else more, or else I would be fit.
This is the painful part. Peering under the boulders of inertia to see what my values truly are.
And do you want to know what mine are?
I think nearly every time I looked, I saw laziness, fear or a desire for comfort.
Really? These three things are shaping my life and destiny? Planning my days and moments?
Really? It’s so disappointing. Our actions display our true values better than anything else we do. But how often do we stop to evaluate how well our actions actually match our values? I rarely do.
Instead, I made peace with the discomfort of in between. Why? I guess it’s obvious by now: because it was too uncomfortable to change.
We all do it.
But if you’re fortunate, if you’re very, very lucky or blessed or divinely favored, something will happen and you will become uncomfortable again. A cosmic event, tiny or giant, will come along like an undertoe and sweep you up and you will just have to go with it. You will be forced to change, to adapt, to see yourself as you truly are.
But only if you’re lucky.
And yet, the thing we need most, the discomfort, is what our comfortable selves spend our lives avoiding. Strange, isn’t it?
I started asking for help a while ago, sending up loud, pleading prayers, recognizing my helplessness to make real, significant change.
For as progressive as the human race is, we truly are so limited in managing our own hearts and behaviors. We need help.
I don’t like asking for help. I don’t like discomfort. But even more than these, the thought that laziness, fear and a motivation for comfort are directing my life with more strength than God’s calling on my life, that is too painful to ignore.
I’m making changes. They start with an acknowledgement I’m no good at self-help, a repentance for living without intention. And they’re followed by one of Anne Lamott’s favorite prayers: “Help!”
And then I try again.
[Photo credit: http://www.artisamerica.org]