Exploring Diligence

I have to laugh when I look at this photo from yesterday, because the alternative is a fit worthy of a temperamental toddler. We had a huge, let me emphasize this again, HUGE snowfall. That pile of snow Russ is adding too, has literally, never been higher. I was outside "helping" and taking photos and I had to wonder...is diligence born out of desperation? And if it is, does that mean you're doing it wrong?

I'm going to assume that most of us have experienced desperation on some level. I'm talking about making a desperate, all out attempt to avoid an impending calamity. Some of us have suffered some huge life altering events and calamities that have changes us forever, and in no way to wish to belittle anyone's experience. For the most part our little moments of desperation may be as simple as company coming to our disaster of a house, and a 5 minute window to get it tidied. It may be a financial need that must be met or you will lose something of great worth. Or it could be as boring as clearing snow of your driveway so that eventually you will be able to drive to your destination. These are all example of diligence being born out desperation and sadly examples like these are very often the source of most of my diligent moments.

I have good intentions, I want to be better. Really I do. I love planning and mapping out my ideas to do so, and for the first few days I'm golden. The hard part for me is sticking with it and having a sense of accountability to myself. I really shine when I'm accountable to someone else, my husband, my church, my daughter, my friends, my bank...you get the idea. But when it's just me to answer to, well, I don't seem to take myself all that seriously. Diligence is rarely a gift I give myself.

For the latter part of 2010 I had a note hanging off a clipboard in my studio. It said, "I finish projects." I realized that really what I was saying, was "I am diligent enough to see my project through to the end, even when I have no one to answer to but myself". I can't be the only one and in fact believe that many women are in the same boat. Too often, we don't value ourselves enough to think we are worth the time that "project" will truly take.

I don't think diligence born out of desperation is an indication that we are doing it wrong. But I think the heart of what diligence really truly means, is that our own desires, and needs, physically, mentally, emotionally and especially spiritually, require work and effort on our part. Not so we can impress our Sunday school teacher with our dizzying knowledge of some gospel topic, but so that we value ourselves in a way that, even if no one else ever knows that we set a goal and accomplished it, we have applied ourselves to getting it done and have the joy and satisfaction of seeing that project completed.

Diligence isn't about gold star living, nobody needs to stick a star on your life chart to prove you are going places. Diligence is truly about finding growth in the journey. It's moving yourself forward because you are making the steps, and leading the way to a destination of your choosing, and hopefully a destination that will enhance and expand the horizon of those who take the journey alongside you.

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