“Do you frustrate yourself with the motions? I feel like a poser when I do that. Relying on muscle memory to ‘do what’s right’ doesn’t feel right.’”
Of course it’s frustrating!
To have something that once brought you joy become stagnant; that is frustrating!
To have something that once brought you purpose seem meaningless; that is frustrating!
To have something that was once fulfilling turn into a burden; that is frustrating!
So what do we do? We can stop and move on (or away) to something else, or we can go through the motions. Going through the motions gets a bad rap in our culture because we have had it instilled in us that we are supposed to “keep it real,” that we are to live in (and for) the moment; to live for instant gratification. Thus it comes very naturally to us to abandon what we have once accepted and jump toward something new, or different in the hopes of being instantly fulfilled again.
And honestly… that can often work for a while, but before you know it, dissatisfaction returns and it's time to look for the next new thing again (and again, and again… and yes, again.)
So should we go through the motions? Going through the motions isn’t all that bad. In fact everyone does it. Who hasn’t spent a season going through the motions at work? Everyone has days, even if they love their job, when they go through the motions. They do what needs to be done, and they do it as well as they can even if their heart is battling against it. What about relationships? That marriage? Even the happiest of married couples have approached moments where they found that their hearts were not fully engaged. Yet to survive, they go through the motions.
Why? Because generally there is a lot invested in these things. There is too much at stake. With the job, it’s an income, a sense of purpose, or a matter of pride. With relationships it can be a matter of family survival, emotional stability, or financial security. Whatever the reason, we do not lightly abandon these (and many other) things. For most people, they cannot be abandoned even if the desire to jump ship exists. There are things that we cannot hastily let go of because we are deeply rooted in them.
Read that last sentence again because it is key to the whole point of this series.