This year, I will lose 50 pounds -- as long as I could still eat what I want. This year, I will quit smoking -- as long as I don't get stressed out. This year, I will find a better job -- when one comes up. This year, I will go back to school -- as long as it fits into my schedule. This year, I will be a more positive person -- as long as I am not around stupid people. Whatever resolutions I make this year, I will do -- until it becomes a pain to do them. Does any of this sound familiar?
See, when we make resolutions, we make them on the basis that we could keep them as long as it is convenient to do so. As long as the gym around corner from you stays open, then you'll continue to work out. But once that gym closes down, then all the exercising would stop if you can't find a gym that's close to you. If anybody could easily stop exercising because their gym shuts down, then exercising was never important: it was just convenient to do it.
Chasing after goals requires the willingness to be inconvenienced. Teaching ZUMBA fitness classes at the church on Mondays and Thursdays is an inconvenience to my finances. I could be spending that time putting more hours into my delivery gig, and I could wind up making much more money doing so. The ZUMBA fitness classes are on a donation-only basis: sometimes I get nicely compensated, and sometimes I barely get compensated. Not everybody gives donations. So I actually end up losing money by conducting these classes. Why am I still teaching it? Because I believe it's my calling to do so, and I do so with joy. Holding onto these classes is one of my life's goals and it's an extremely important goal. I'm keeping this goal even though I am losing out on some major money.
Sometimes, I get jealous of the guys and gals who do food delivery full-time. They are boasting of making $900, $1,000, $1,700, and even $2,000 PER WEEK! Man, what am I missing out on??? However, I have to remember what I believe my calling in life is leading me to do: homeschool my children, spend lots of time with family, and serve the community, which I do through my fitness classes. All of those goals are extremely important to me, and I pursue these goals with JOY even though keeping these goals have become an inconvenience to my wallet. Yes, keeping these goals could put stress on the bank account, but any goal worth pursuing is a goal that is worth being inconvenienced for.
Actually, simply being inconvenienced is not enough: you need to be willing to look FOOLISH for holding onto that goal. If other people don't think you're insane for being committed to a cause, then your cause is probably not a worthy one.
So, re-examine your resolutions for this new year and ask if these resolutions would make you look foolish to others? Don't worry about making resolutions that people would give you praise for. Think about the resolutions that would inconvenience you, hurt your wallet, and maybe even ruin your relationship with friends and family. Resolutions are simply adorable when they're the same ones that everybody else is making: cut back on sugar, make more money, lose weight, get a better job, find the love of your life, get an education, etc., etc. Resolutions are ugly yet richly rewarding when everybody else is scared to make them.
Let this new year be the year of making foolish, inconvenient resolutions. These would be the resolutions that would enrich your life. The other, adorable resolutions are just there to kill time.
You may not like this lesson one bit. But if you feel overworked and under-appreciated...well...then you're in the right place. This means that of all the people who could have done your job, YOU were the best person for the job. If you want to feel useful in this world, you may need to put yourself in a thankless position. Those who barely receive recognition are doing very important work, because it's the work that either nobody else wants to do or it's work that only a special person could do.
At my church, several of us were talking about people who just get up and leave for another church. They've been doing particular work in my church for a while, and they hardly (if ever) receive any recognition. They eventually get burned out and cease all of their work at that church. Now, they get to sit down and enjoy worship in peace at another church -- while the work that they've been entrusted with in my church slowly crumbles to the ground. These people never truly realized the huge impacts they made at the church because nobody told them. While I could give them some grace and say, "Well, they've worked hard, so they deserve a break," I can't say that. When you've been entrusted with a special task, you need to work it even if you don't receive a single thanks for it.
What do you think this world would look like if everybody just stopped doing something because nobody thanked them for it? Say goodbye to your local police force, because they barely get any thanks. In fact, they get more flack than thanks. Why should they continue serving if the media is just going to continue to tarnish their image?
Say goodbye to those in office. Despite how you feel about them, they are doing jobs that none of us wants to do. They have to continually make unpopular decisions and stress about their safety. The rest of us get to leave work, go home, watch T.V., and not worry about causing some global war. If everybody in office just quits, say hello to national anarchy.
Say goodbye to sanitation workers. They have to mess with our nasty garbage and stink for it. What if all "garbage men" decided to walk off the job because nobody thanked them? Back in 1968, my hometown of New York City experienced the nastiest "garbage strike" in history. Piles and piles of garbage were all over the streets for nine days. The regular people realized really quick how important a garbage man's job was.
In fact, if it wasn't for many of the unsung heroes, then those who are considered "heroes" wouldn't be able to do their jobs.
When you call 911 and the paramedics show up to save your dying father, the paramedics get the glory. What about the 911 dispatcher? If it wasn't for that 25-year-old, single-mom dispatcher who received your call, the paramedics wouldn't even have left their station. Because of her, the paramedics knew where to go and what the situation was. But she gets no glory. She gets to go home and wonder if she'll qualify for food stamps again next month.
In the Bible, there were "heroes" called the prophets who were sent to the nation of Israel to call them to straighten up their acts. Some of these prophets were killed because of their message -- but, we don't know the names of those who were killed! There isn't a single book in the Bible dedicated to those prophets who lost their lives trying to save Israel from judgment. But the writer of the Book of Hebrews mentions prophets that were even sawed in half and stoned to death! Who were they??? What were their names? What tribe did they come from? What special "powers" did God worked through them? Who knows! But nevertheless, they were so important that the Hebrew writer even said, "They were too good for this world" (Hebrew 11:38). They did good work! Nobody thanked them for it, and today, we barely (if ever) talk about those unknown prophets. Nevertheless, they did good work.
When you've been entrusted with a task, you can't accept the task expecting praise and glory. You may never get it. You just have to do the work for the sake of the work itself. If you wait for someone to thank you, keep waiting. You may get one or two people pat you on the head and say, "Good boy!" or, "Good girl!" You may get that one person who tells you in detail how much you're appreciated. But for the most part, nobody would say anything to you.
For me, I have to question myself if I want the PRAISE or if I just love the work. If I write a book, do I want to do it because I want praise or because I love writing? If I teach a class, do I want to be seen as a hero, or do I see the need to teach this class? Whatever I decide to do, is it because I want an award or is it because I want to fix a problem that nobody else is trying to fix? And once I do fix the problem, would I want recognition for it or would I simply be content that I am doing important work?
So don't get up and leave a place because nobody seems to appreciate you. Rise ABOVE the need for recognition so that you could see your work as your CALLING. If a task is your calling, forget the recognition, because it really means nothing. Your sense of calling would keep you doing that task until you are called elsewhere. But if you NEED recognition, then your task isn't your calling. Find some other work to do and leave your work to somebody who is willing to live without awards.
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.