(Picture: Alexander Baxevanis via Creative Commons)
Our culture is one which likes to romanticise. We romanticise relationships, success, certain pastimes like acting, writing and singing. We even romanticise God. Our culture encourages us to romanticise because it’s away of avoiding the harsh reality of life. The reality we all know truly lies behind those stories.
And usually, what we romanticise about the most is the the thing we don’t have. As C S Lewis says is Shadowlands, the greatest pleasure is not in the having, but in the anticipation of it.
Relationships aren’t easy. Anyone who has been in a relationship will always tell you that. I heard this many times but I didn’t understand it fully until I was in a relationship. Now I completely empathise. And it’s the same with writing a book. Many people romanticise about writing a book, but the harsh reality is it’s work. It’s hard work, commitment and perseverance. It’s showing up when you don’t feel like it.
And I suspect the truth is, every single thing we romantcise about is exactly the same. Not as easy or wonderful as it sounds, and a lot more hard work.
Does this mean we don’t do it? Well yes. Unless, of course, there’s something else motivating us. One sure way of telling if you’re called to something is to see if you find joy in the work. Because if you don’t find the joy in the hard work of it, then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to stick it out.
I love writing. And not just the joy of sharing work with people – though that’s amazing – but the hard work of it. The sitting down and waiting for the words. The planning, the rewriting, the corrections. I love the work of it. And I enjoy being in a relationship. I enjoy the hard work and commitment it takes.
There are moments of joy in both those areas of life.
However, if you can’t do the work, then you won’t stick it out. You’ll give up when it gets too difficult.
And there’s one thing we romanticise about more than anything. Changing the world.
I read lots of material about changing the world, and mentions it a lot. I talked about it in my book. But I hope I’ve never romanticised about it. Because the reality is, changing the world isn’t glamourous. It’s not simple. It’s not quick. And often, as we’ve seen through history, it involves sacrifice.
Changing the world will never happen overnight. It will happen only when each of us does what we were created to do. (tweet that here). When we forget the myths culture tells us of what’s “normal” and dare to be ourselves. And when each of us discovers what we’re willing to pour hours and hours of our lives into – and simply enjoy the process.
If you’ve ever wondered what your calling is, ponder on these simple questions:
What is it you would do even if no one paid you?
What is it you enjoy doing not for the results, but simply for the work of doing it?
What are you most passionate about?
What would get you up in the morning every day from now until the day you die?
Once you’ve answered these questions honestly, you’ll be closer to your calling. Closer to being you. Closer to being uniquely you. And when you embrace this calling and develop and in the context of community, and serving others, and each of us do this together, this is when the process of real change begins.
it’s not romantic. It’s a slow process, and it will never be completely perfect because e live in a broken world.
But in time, it will, eventually, change the world. Not in clean, romantic way. But in a dirty, messy, painful way. A way which will involve sacrifice and hard work. But there will be one moment, when you get a glimpse of that joy. When you see how you have impacted this world for good.
This is worth all the sweat, work, and sacrifice. And it only comes from doing the work.
Are you with me?
Do you agree with me or disagree with me? Why?
Have you ever over-romanticised a desire only to find the reality very different?
What is it which brings you joy simply from the work?
Let me know in the comments below!
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