This morning I woke to a beautiful day and the certain reality that this blog post needed to be written. Outside my window the mountains beckoned and I could hear the fish from a nearby pond begging me to bring worms.
There were dozens of things I wanted to do and one thing I was obligated to do. I love the opportunity this post gives me to keep in touch with my fans and friends but today, I didn’t feel like doing it.
Several years ago I was plodding up a mountain ridge as a lightning storm approached. It was too late to turn back and if we did not make it to the ridge before the storm, I knew we might become crispy critters, smoldering heaps of ashes on the side of the mountain.
Even when my life was in the balance, my rubbery legs rebelled. I didn’t want to continue climbing.
Almost a half a century ago I stood face to face with Diane and promised in the company of my family and several hundred friends, that I would cherish her as my wife in sickness and health and through wealth or poverty, until death do us part.
Over the years there have been times when I did not feel like keeping that vow. What does one do when one knows something needs to be done but one doesn’t feel like doing it?
After a good breakfast and a 15 mile bike ride, I sat down at my desk and forced myself to begin typing this blog post. A few paragraphs later, I was engrossed in the project.
I know that every day millions of people do honorable deeds and complete menial (but important) tasks that they don’t feel like doing. They do it because they know it’s the right thing to do. Only a few sentences into this post I felt the inspiration that had been missing only minutes before.
As lightning hunted us on the mountain side years ago, I remember saying to my friend who was climbing with me. “I can’t do this. My strength is gone. I can’t make it to the top.” My friend who was relentlessly wise said, “You don’t have to make it to the top, Ken. Just take the next step.”
We beat the storm to the top by taking one step at at time when we didn’t feel like it.
As I write this post my wife of 47 years is sitting across the room reading. There were times in our marriage each of us faced moments when we didn’t feel like honoring our vows.
I know for certain there were times when Diane could have justifiably set my luggage on the porch and sent me packing. But we made a commitment. Today, as we enjoy this season in our marriage and bask in the love of two children and six grandchildren, we are thankful that we kept that commitment, even when we didn’t feel like it.
Tomorrow I have to leave this beautiful place, drive almost three hours, board a cramped airplane and fly to my next speaking engagement. I don’t feel like leaving. But, like you I must weigh my actions based on a set of values far greater than, “do I feel like it?”
Is it the right thing to do!
Is it part of my duty?
Is it something that will benefit others?
Is is part of a commitment I have made?
Is is what God wants me to do?
Is it something that will bring joy?
Is it something that will bring life?
There are very few things I feel like doing. Playing sports, sleeping, lounging around, eating, laughing, flying airplanes are a few that top the list. Yet it is often the things I don’t feel like doing that end up bringing the greatest joy and benefit to myself and others.
So what do you do when you don’t feel like doing it? Ask the questions above. If the answer is yes to any of them, start typing, take another step, before you know it the storm has passed and the blog post is done.
What do YOU do when you don’t feel like doing it? [reminder]
When I don’t want to do something I try to think about whether or not I’ll be able to do that task, deed, project, etc. in a month, a week or a day from now. thanks to dementia and progressing hemi paresis I have uncountable things that I remember that I used to be able to do things and I know first hand that procrastination is no longer an option. 24 days and counting until the start of year 9 and the day I thumb my nose at the doctors who gave me the latest life expectancy.
When I don’t feel like doing something, I put something in my path to look forward to after I complete the task. I hate vacuuming but I promise myself that after vacuuming I will take out time to read for enjoyment. I hate doing dishes (hmmm this seemsto be a theme going here) but I promise myself after they’re done that I can watch a show I enjoy. For me I balance the not-so-fun with the i-really-like-doing-this or else I am sure I would never move off a comfy chair I love to sit in with a good book. Great post. I am sending it to my son who just started his first job and is learning how to balance the things that need to be done with the things he wants to do.
Thank you for for helping me not make the same mistake today that I made yesterday. Procrastination! You just gave me the inspiration and the kick in the butt to do what God has been calling me to do for the last 20 years. Launch… How To Get an A With 7F’s and 2C’s by September 24th, 2015.
Philippians 2:13 New Living Translation (NLT) “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
Phillipians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Time to get busy and do what God is working in me to do right now….take one more step! NOW!!
Blessings to you Ken for your incredible ministry. I first saw you many years ago at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Denver, CO. Laughed my behind off when you were talking about your unique relationship with sheep. Thanks to your buddy and mine that I haven’t seen in a long time….Greg Bettis.
Thank you for taking that step today! I really needed to read this blog post. It has really helped me. Again thank you!
Thanks. Just thinking last night and today. Why try. Just spinning my wheels. Not making a difference. Wouldn’t be missed at least for long.
Lora Reeves Thanks for your inspiring message Ken. I am 67 and have several common and rare diseases. I’ve had 34 surgeries in the last 36 years. I don’t want to keep trying and fighting all the time. I don’t want to go to physical therapy and face the pain all the time. But, I have an amazing physical therapist who prays with me, is compassionate, encouraging and talented. And I have a loving and supportive family. Most important, I have a big, loving God who is with me all the way and brings me to the highest possible level of functionality every time. So even though I don’t want to try through the pain and difficulty, I know the first step is worth it. It will get to the best I can be and I am never alone. Thank you and God Bless.
It’s like when you are scheduled for a surgical procedure, do I want to or not, it’s needed, but. ……. It is the commitment that I too made to my wife and family to be there when called upon so you let the surgeon write that next step for you. Thanks Ken for being a great inspiration.
Just what I needed today Ken!! As an alcoholic in recovery we have been reprogramed to live “One day at a time,” some live one hour or one minute at a time. Sometimes I think we all could live by the 12 steps alcoholics and addicts use to stay sober. But there are those days when I feel like I just don’t want to do somethings. Your blog today reminded me of just how important it is to keep going. As I live a sober life for me…but I also know if I don’t continue my soberiety, I will lose everything…including my joyous time with my beautiful Grandangel, Kendall. I am so grateful she is too little to know the drunk that I was. Thank you for the reminder!! This is also my reminder attached.
Wow Ken! Very Powerful! Thank you!
I really needed to hear this today, thank you for sharing this.