Effort = a vigorous or determined attempt.
Vigorous = strong, healthy, and full of energy.
Determined = having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it.
So, it’s a Tuesday morning (9:51am to be precise). Two members of my team are next to me struggling to figure out how to fix their desk phones after getting their wires crossed (literally) and I’m here writing this post now instead of later on this evening because I have a few spare minutes on my hands.
I’m just going to get straight into it.
Now, if you’re like me, when someone tells you that you’re not making any effort, you take offense. Like, real offense.
“How dare you say I’m not making an effort?”
“Do you know how much time and energy went into this?”
“I actually went out of my way, kmt.”
“Yeah, you always do the washing up, but this time you should thank me because I actually hate doing it.”
You know, the usual.
Now, sometimes I do end up explaining the whole process and getting an “oh, I didn’t know that”, but other times I get a kick up the backside and realise that I was misunderstanding my own efforts. I wasn’t really trying that hard AT ALL.
Here are 7 examples of the misunderstood effort I’m talking about (I had a list of 7 in my last post, must be my thing *shrugs*):
*DISCLAIMER: you’ll be sick of the word “effort” by the end of this post if you aren’t already, sorry x*
1. Saying you made SO much effort to stay up for nights on end, days before the exam, for that module you never attended a single lecture for.
2. At work when you contact that colleague you don’t want to deal with twice (via email – never phone, God forbid they pick up) and after you don’t get a response, you don’t follow it up again because you’ve done your bit, but in reality you’re hoping they never get back to you.
3. Going to the gym and being on your phone the whole time whilst intermittently lifting one or two weights and walking uphill on the treadmill for 15 minutes, before going home to eat the Jollof, chicken and coleslaw your mum left in the fridge (you might even fry that plantain too).
4. When you think that initiating multiple conversations with the person you’re speaking to is making effort, when in actuality, this is just the normal, generally accepted standard of communication/conversation that exists within the human race. (Or when you let that person know you’re free next Saturday but don’t actually make it clear you want to meet up.)
5. Waking up to go to church EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY for months without ever, actually getting involved or becoming a member.
6. Praying the same prayer you’ve prayed for weeks just to tell yourself that you pray every night.
7. Reading the same bible verse for the whole week without actually studying/trying to understand it, just to assure yourself that you’ve read your bible everyday this week.
I am guilty of ALL of the above, so please know that there is no judgement here.
A lot of the time, we claim to have made effort in an attempt to justify the future efforts that we do not want/intend to make, or to continue to make this current level of “effort” we find comfortable and easy to manage. I mean, after all… it’s better than doing nothing, right?
Well, yes and no actually.
Yes, because these things could lead to a change and prompt actual effort to be made. However, this is not regularly the case. We often continue to do these mediocre things, or cease to do anything at all as they do not yield the results we ultimately wished for.
No, because we are wasting our time with these attempts. If we are not intending to go that step further, into that uncomfortable/exposing space where real change and progression takes place, we may as well stay at home on Sunday, catching up on How to Get Away with Murder.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” Colossians 3:23
When you proudly and boldly declare that you’re on this mission to get closer to God, who are you doing it for? I’m hoping that the answer is for Jesus, because if it’s not, that’s a whole different topic, and I don’t have enough word count to address it in this post (sorry!). If your answer is Jesus, are your efforts reflecting that? Are you working heartily? Are you pushing past what you would do if it was for that Manager you find annoying? Or even yourself? If the answer is “no”, maybe you should re-evaluate whether or not the attempts you have been making and the steps you have been taking can be classed as real, honest, unquestionable effort. I can honestly say that a lot of mine cannot.
Ultimately, we are fooling nobody but ourselves. It doesn’t benefit us to lie and pull the wool over our own eyes. Let’s call a spade a spade and do the real work. Fear of failure shouldn’t come into play when we’re trying to get closer to God, how can He stop loving us when we are genuinely trying to please Him?
Don’t worry if you keep falling down, brush yourself off and get back up to continue your journey. Be vigorous and determined in your attempts, and God will acknowledge your efforts, I promise.
I’m going to go back to helping my colleagues with the phone now because they’re pretty hopeless. Plus, I’m quite the handy man (if I do say so myself).
Toodles, Stella xoxo