I am a rule follower. Tell me the rules and what needs to happen and I will make sure it gets done… within the appropriate boundaries. My “spirit of the law” husband teases my “letter of the law” ways, but I like the safety and parameters that rules provide. I like knowing expectations and fulfilling them. And dramatic as it may sound, doing so feeds my soul.
I suppose it’s that part of me that also finds fulfillment in doing the things I say I’m gonna do. I’m slow to say yes because of it, but I hope I’m known as a person who keeps her word and someone others can depend on.
I remember a situation many years ago where I was asked to give a short presentation at a conference of what God was doing in our women’s ministries. I said yes in spite of my anxiety over public speaking. As the date drew near I began to experience tremendous fear about it. So I tried denial, by telling myself it wasn’t going to happen since I hadn’t heard from the organizer in months. Ultimately I ended up walking around with a bowling ball in the pit of my stomach for a week leading up to the event. I’m embarrassed to say that when the day arrived, I backed out and my dear friend had to rescue me on the fly.
It pains me greatly that I didn’t follow through on my commitment. In fact, I can still feel that bowling ball if I think too long about it. Regret over that situation has had a lasting impact on me because my rule following ways can’t seem to grasp what I did (or shall I say didn’t do).
I heard a phrase recently - “keyboard courage”. It’s a great way to describe the freedom people feel to blurt out on social media or vent carelessly in an email things we would never dream of saying to someone face to face. Our fingers tend to have a lot more courage than our mouths.
I think this idea can apply to the way we make commitments as well (like the situation I described above). I can feel inspired at the moment and sign up to do this or help with that, but when the time comes a myriad of excuses keep me from doing the very thing I was determined to do just weeks before.
Pablo Picasso said, “What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.”
I am determined to be known as a woman who can be trusted and does what she says she’s gonna do. I know it won’t always be easy, that’s for sure, but then again neither is the alternative… regret. Besides I can do without the bowling ball!
People with good intentions are always making promises, but people with good character are the ones that keep them.