Saturday, September 6, 2014

Do Everything Better?


“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”
— Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet.
It was a special Day – a terrific season – when I journeyed with a particular special person around the superlative, “Do Everything Better.” The way it was explained to me was, “Do” which means there is no room to simply “Be” and so, therefore, there was no space, whatsoever, to not do. “Everything,” likewise, left no room for exception – “Do Everything!” “Better,” also, left no room for anything but improvement.
Too many of us live lives where we paint ourselves into the busyness corner.
Hidden in our unconscious psyche is the mandate – “Do Everything Better.”
There, in that place, of taking on the machine-like work ethic of a madman, there is a vacuum of thankfulness. How could we be thankful at the same time as being pressed-in by ourselves.
When we must Do Everything Better we also tend to expect that others will Do Everything Better. There is no sense for the grace that makes relationships enjoyable.
But if we can embrace a more sustainable vision of doing reasonably the best we can, within the confines of our brokenness and fallibility, and do that most of the time, then we can sit in that joyful, thankful space.
If we cannot receive God’s grace within, we cannot produce it toward others without. If our call is to be full of grace in our interactions with others, we can only fall short. The call of God to our hearts is not to Do Everything Better. Only God could achieve such an onerous ask.
If we take on a more sustainable vision of being (not doing) because we understand God’s grace as it is pointed toward us, then we have the impetus for thankfulness. So, when life is sweet, we are thankful and we celebrate. And when life is bitter, we are thankful in a different way; we have inspiration for growth, because we know that God is not against us – that he is for us.
Everything we do goes better the instant we know we don’t have to Do Everything Better.
***
The life that gives to others is the life that gives back to ourselves. We have nothing to give if we have not received grace from God. This grace is free, but we have to accept it, and understand we can add nothing to it.
Everything we do goes better the instant we know we don’t have to Do Everything Better.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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