Going Through the Motions

I caught myself doing it again not long ago. You know, going through the motions. I hate it when I realize I’m doing it—when I see that I’ve let something special slip into another hurried check on my to-do list.

Going through the motions isn’t always a bad thing, though. Making the bed, sorting laundry, doing dishes, etc. don’t require a lot of thought or emotional involvement. Going through the motions works just dandy for tasks like those. In fact, we should all get gold stars for going through those motions, right? :)

The problem comes when we get so hurried or distracted we let meaningful habits or endeavors lose their fire and become routine rather than being a passionate part of our routine.

My latest slip into this check-list mentality happened with my 1,000 Things journal that I started keeping after reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. I determined, like Ann, to list 1,000 things for which I was grateful.

I started this particular gratitude project with good intentions, with an acute awareness of things all around me that inspired gratitude in my soul. But a couple of months later I found myself jotting things down in a distracted, not-fully-present fashion. It dawned on me that I was just going through the motions. Just trying to get it done for that day.

I’ve caught myself doing the same thing at times during my personal prayer and worship times or during corporate worship at church. I’ve even slipped into it with another journal project I started years ago. In fact, any noble habit that’s part of my routine can fall prey to becoming routine if I’m not careful.

I don’t want to auto-pilot through meaningful activities while my mind is on other things. I want to be fully present in my gratitude, my worship, my relationships. I don’t want to be found just going through the motions. I want them to keep their fire. I want them to come from my heart. How about you?

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” Colossians 3:23 KJV

*Flickr photo by Courtney Dirks, Creative Commons License