What I say is not what I do

to do list
Image by ebby via Flickr

Are you a person who has a lot to do?  Carrying around a long list of activities that were a great idea at the time and then life happens and few of them get done?  I also have a lot of intentions – too many for one life I am afraid to admit.  So many that I have spent time learning how to cram more into each day so I can feel important to myself and win the recognition of others.

For the majority of my intentions, I decided by myself that they are important and must be completed.  I was not in communion with God when I made the decision.  So, my intentions are not aligned with my actions because so often I complete few of them or the ones I do complete are trivial.  I break promises to others and everyone is dissatisfied.

Picking up on yesterday’s lesson on humility, we learn in today’s Gospel (hear the reading) about the difference between what I preach and what I do.  Jesus give us a follow-up lesson in humility – at the expense of the Pharisees and scribes:

Christ and The Pharisees
Image via Wikipedia

therefore do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.

There is a fundamental wiring of humans to recognize inequity and most of us recognize when someone is simply preaching and not living the words behind it.  It offends us.  It makes us angry and destroys our communion with one another.

How I can avoid having the best intentions fall short?

When I drafted this entry, I began to write another list!  A list of things that one should do to figure out what they should do!  I think there are many people who can be helped by this structured approach and I agree that focus is important.

My struggle is that I need to shorten my list to a few things that I can do on a regular basis to be in communion with God – to discern what I am called to do and then make fruitful decisions and follow up with actions.  I have tried my way – a structured approach – for many years and it is not working for me.  I still have too many (mostly unimportant) things to do.

I would like to rely on prayer to understand God’s will for me.  Jesus prayed all night to decide the 12 apostles and I can follow his example in my own life.

I pray today for the courage to cross off good ideas that are not important for me to do at this point in my life.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide me to make decisions that allow me to honor God and practice what I preach.


Today’s notes

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2 thoughts on “What I say is not what I do”

  1. This post recalls to my mind a book I read, “The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything.” This Priest was really, really busy and worn out. He was praying about this and he stated God told him, “When did I tell you to do all of these things?”

    The Priest realized God indeed had not told him to do all of these things. Most of them he was doing for his own glorification.

    He “shortened” his list so to speak to things he felt God had asked him to do, and discarded the others. The Priest stated how much better and peaceful his life became after doing this.

    In confession one time my Priest told me “there must be balance in all that we do.” He told me this as I was confessing I “did not have the time to do all on my list.” Since then I have tried to have balance for my time with God, prayers, my daily life, and my works of mercy. Has turned out great. Good post. SR

  2. SR – Apparently that priest you mentioned and I are kindred spirits! I have added many things to my list that are not important. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of balance.

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