Maintaining an Inner Drive
The other day, after a moment of contemplation, my teenage daughter marveled at how long it’s been since she’s been grounded. Now, before you assume she had been a rebellious or difficult child, I must admit, her father and I can be strict about certain things, and her dedication to school, or lack of, is top on our parental radar. For numerous reasons, the primary being we are very concerned about the character traits developed on a daily basis.
As I’ve mentioned before, I believe everything Steve and I do as parents develops habits in our daughter, either positive or negative. Let me explain. If I walk into her bedroom, notice clothes thrown across the floor and pick them up, I’m encouraging her to continue this behavior. In other words, I’m encouraging her to develop a habit of being careless with her belongings. I’m also encouraging a “serve-me” attitude. However, if I make a conscious choice to leave the clothes for her to pick up, I’m encouraging her to take responsibility for her actions.
Similarly, if we allow her to do the bare minimum with schoolwork, focusing more on the product (grades) then the behavior and attitude (studiousness and a desire for excellence), then we encourage her to develop a habit of taking the easy way out. When she reaches adulthood this attitude of laziness could get in the way of her career aspirations and marital growth.
Because of this, Steve and I have always enforced consequences for missed homework or sloppy work (regardless of the grades received).
So why hasn’t she experienced consequences this past year?
Because she’s developed an inner drive. Her motivations isn’t to avoid getting grounded but instead, to reach her goals and dreams of getting into the college of her choice. And because she is driven, we no longer have to drive her.
Obviously, inner drive can be taken too far. If it overshadows our relationships and spiritual growth, or if it’s rooted in pride and selfishness, it will become toxic. But, if it’s rooted in an attitude that pursues excellence, doing everything to the best of our ability in order to honor God by utilizing the gifts and talents He’s given us, then it’s an act of worship. This pursuit of excellence, in my opinion, should be evident in every area of our life: how we approach our marriage, parenting, our spirituality and walk with God, our “home-making”.
Pause to consider Colossians 3:22
How might your daily tasks and work ethics be an act of worship?
I suspect we all have areas and times where we’re tempted to “just get by,” doing the bare minimum or frittering away our time. Pause to consider today’s passage in light of your day and/or week, and your motivation. Do you have an inner drive that strives for excellence in every task you undertake, or are there areas you’re cutting corners? Remember one of our early devotions on discipline and determine now to face today with discipline and perseverance.
Do you work with the same fervor when alone as you do when others are watching or you know you’ll be “graded” for your efforts?
If you’re a parent, pause for a moment to consider the character traits you’d like to see your child/children develop. Are you encouraging those by your daily actions or are you, perhaps inadvertently, encouraging laziness? What are you modeling?
Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.
Learn from their ways and become wise!
7 Though they have no prince
or governor or ruler to make them work,
8 they labor hard all summer,
gathering food for the winter.
9 But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep?
When will you wake up?
10 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
scarcity will attack you like an armed robber. (Proverbs 6:6-11 NLT).
The ant doesn’t procrastinate or waste its time. It works during the summer in order to prepare for the winter. If procrastination is an issue for you, prayerfully ask God to show you the underlying cause. Is it laziness? A desire for pleasure, perhaps preferring to spend time watching television or engaging on Facebook? A lack of clarity or focus? Or do you get overwhelmed when you look at a task? If the latter is true, how might focusing on your attitude and a pursuit of excellence, rather than the end result and perfection, help?
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