The focus of this post changed as I wrote its title. My original intent was to talk about how I didn’t want to fulfill what I promised myself I would do. It was late. I was tired. The promises I’d made were only a few small things. It’s likely that no one would notice that whether I had done them or not anyway. I was utterly unmotivated. I wanted to go to bed or, more likely, scroll mindlessly through social media until I’d wasted enough time I could justify going to bed, even though it was late enough that, to be my healthiest, I should have been asleep for an hour or more already. The temptation to skip out on these things, that only I would know whether I’d done or not, was strong, but I dug in. I relied on discipline over motivation and I got them all done fairly well.
This post was supposed to be about that. I was going to write about how I wasn’t happy to come home from a long day and fulfill the promises I’d made to myself, but, as is almost always the case, I may not have been happy to start, but I sure was grateful for having done them when they were finished and gratitude is more fulfilling than mere happiness any day! What’s more, gratitude general leads to a deeper level of happiness.
There is much I could write about this, but when I saw the title I that seemed to write itself, “I Didn’t Want to, But I Did,” I immediately began thinking about all of the negative things I hadn’t wanted to do in my life but did anyway. These include things I’d convinced myself were right or not that big of a deal when they either were or snowballed into a big deal over time, times I’d been pressured into things I wasn’t strong enough to resist, and times I’d lied to myself and didn’t fulfill promises I’d made to myself. These broken promises changed my self perception and made the next snowball easier to start. What’s worse is thinking about, not just all the little things, but also all the plain wrong or sinful things that I shouldn’t have done but did anyway knowing full well how wrong I was. The part of me who knew, might not have wanted to sin, but that did not stop me from doing so and opening that slippery slope.
But today I had planned such a positive message! Knowing this, I looked at my title differently. I realized there must be many times I’d done bad things when a little self discipline would have changed the bad to good. How different would life have been in those instances?
Then I began thinking of the times I didn’t want to do good but did. Surely there were many of those as well!
- I didn’t want to go run in the morning, but I did.
- I didn’t want to pray my Rosary, but I did.
- I didn’t want to go to work, but I did.
- I didn’t want to call that student’s parent, but I did.
- I didn’t want to give that teenager a second chance, but I did.
- I didn’t want to come home and make dinner, but I did.
- I didn’t want to go to Confession, but I did.
- I didn’t want to sit in the cold and the rain at my son’s game, but I did.
- I didn’t want to out my phone away, but I did.
As I started thinking of them all, I realized the list was almost endless! There were so many times I’d chosen what was right and good, over what I’d wanted to do. I could not think of one time that I regretted doing what was right and wished I’d done what I wanted to.
I also realized how quickly my mind had jumped to seeing the potential for negative and criticism in my title when it could have gone either way. What’s more amazing is how I’d seen the negativity in the title I, myself, wrote and knew was meant for positivity.
Our bias toward the negative is strong. It is part of Satan’s rule over this world. We must be diligent in our awareness of this tendency and conscientiously defeat it by building positivity and goodness. It is possible, but only when we are aware of both the negativity bias and the good that comes from doing what is right, especially when doing that is difficult.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father and Author of Good, please help me to see your good in this world, help me to do the good I do not want to do, and help me to bring your good to others. Amen.
Gratitude Journal – June 7, 2023
Thank You Lord for…
- Doing what I didn’t want to do.
- Getting me up early.
- The extra, unexpected time to get tests graded.
- Getting those tests done.
- Chatting with C and E in the hall after the concert tonight.
- R taking C to the movies.
- Them realizing how rude it was for people to talk during the movie and how the parents should have disciplined them.
- For R and C knowing I would not have let them grow up like that.
- For B and K whose tests make me laugh, think, and know I am loved.
- For R checking in on us.