I love ideas. I love to think about ideas. I love to read about ideas and discuss ideas.
Someone asked me once, “Why do you have to ask so many questions? Why can’t you just have faith?”
She was not a thinker. She was a doer, the kind that hates sitting still. Sometimes when I saw her running in circles to meet commitments I would be tempted to ask, “What were you thinking?”
So here we were, one of us stuck in theory without experience and the other in practice without aforethought, both lobbing civil little incendiaries over the fence when we perchanced to have tea. We could have been good friends, but we weren’t because we failed to bless each other for our differing strengths and we both became rather defensive. Alas. She passed away before I realized my error.
Lately I am realizing that a lot of the annoyances that crop up in my life are actually sent by the One who is motivating me to work out the things he has been teaching me. An obvious example of this occurs when people pray for patience. We make jokes about it. What follows is often an opportunity to work out the patience He already placed in them.
I love watching kids do this so naturally. My youngest grandsons have watched very few superhero movies. They have only to sit on the couch in front of Netflix long enough to grasp the premise and they are leaping from the furniture putting theory into practice. The next viewing is merely for the purpose of refining identity. Theirs is a world of potential, rapidly becoming reality.
Can I admit I also loathe exercise that goes nowhere? I would a thousand times rather hike in the woods, or turn dirt in a garden than ride a stationary bike that doesn’t progress an inch after 23 minutes of sweaty effort (the length of time it takes to watch a renovation show with the commercials fast-forwarded). I joined a gym and forced myself to go religiously. One day I woke up and realized I didn’t have to go that day because I had double pneumonia. I rejoiced. When having pneumonia seems like a much more pleasant prospect than grinding through a circle of exercise devices you know you really hate it and need to find a better way to work out.
Some of us need more prodding to get off the couch than little kids with towels tied around their necks and this week, although I protested loudly, the prodding made me put some things I have been thinking about into practice. I recognize the necessity of these circumstances and that the exercise is actually taking me somewhere. I may be getting to the point where I can consider it a joy when confronted by various trials. Maybe. There is a time to hear, and a time to do. It’s time to do.
Have done, then, with impurity and every other evil which touches the lives of others, and humbly accept the message that God has sown in your hearts, and which can save your souls. Don’t I beg you, only hear the message, but put it into practice; otherwise you are merely deluding yourselves. The man who simply hears and does nothing about it is like a man catching the reflection of his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, it is true, but he goes on with whatever he was doing without the slightest recollection of what sort of person he saw in the mirror. But the man who looks into the perfect mirror of God’s law, the law of liberty (or freedom), and makes a habit of so doing, is not the man who sees and forgets. He puts that law into practice and he wins true happiness. (James 1:21-25 Phillips)