Want To vs Ought To

Sometimes, I just don't want to.
Sometimes, I just don’t want to.

As you know, Papa Bear and I are working through our Church’s RU programme. Now, a large part of the effectiveness of the programme lies in habitually getting into the Word, studying it, meditating on it, and considering it from angles that may be new to you. The programme uses a series of challenges to motivate you to keep at it. These challenges earn you points, and for my results-motivated, check-box-driven, performance-addicted brain, it’s really an ideal way to progress. And it works!

So, today is Saturday. My sister’s birthday breakfast at the Market (which was awesome), has been and gone, and theoretically the day stretches before us: unhurried and unplanned. What shall we do?

In a flurry of Pavlovian-eagerness, Red Riding Hood rattles out her nine-times-table, feeds her dog and her bird, and begs to be allowed to play on the computer (times tables and chores are the price for computer time). Shortly afterwards Goldilocks follows suit, and I have two happily engaged daughters frying their eyeballs by gluing them to Star Stables.

I decide that it’s the perfect time to have my Quiet Time, do all the RU challenges I can do easily (get them out of the way, ya know?), get some housework done and then tackle my To Do list for work. Awesome! I’m amped and motivated and ready to be fed, and to write something brilliant (or at least acceptable).

Papa Bear asks me how I’d like to spend my day, and I say I think it’s a great time to catch up on challenges for RU. (He’s a book-and-a-half behind me, so it would be even better for him 😉 ). He says, “Hmm, I don’t know what I’d like to do today.”

I actually laughed out loud.

What I’d like to do? The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. How could I think about things I’d like to do, when there was so much I have to do still outstanding?

I was struck by the thought.

Do we do what we do because we want to, or because we should? Does it matter? Is one motivation less valid, less noble than another?

Should I want to do the things I have to do? Would that make me a better person?

To be honest, I don’t have a feeling about it either way. I do what needs to be done. Isn’t that how it goes? Now that I’ve been thinking about it, I do want to do the things that need to be done … because then they’re done. And then I don’t need to do them any more. Because they’re done. So I want to do them.

Also, I love God and spending time with Him. I love my children and I really enjoy teaching them. I love my work and really enjoy doing it, and learning how to do it better. So I guess from that perspective, I am doing what I want to do.

But I’m not learning to speak French, or play the ‘cello. I’m not reading Kierkegaard or watching Walter Lewin teach physics on YouTube. I’m not doing cross-fit or walking the dogs or painting or writing words that will impact generations. So I guess from that perspective, I’m not doing what I want to do.

I simply hadn’t considered it before.

I am now. … just as soon as I get these articles written and those social media profiles maintained …

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