What if I lived how I truly wanted to live rather than how I wanted to live right now?
Maybe there doesn’t seem to be a difference in those two versions, but in my life, sadly, there is. I’m a bit dense. It takes a while for things to sink into this head of mine. While I often know what would be best for me, I take the easier path and attempt to satisfy deeper desires with more superficial things.
St. Paul understands this little heart of mine. Perhaps it is simply a condition of humanity. “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15) Even if what I’m doing isn’t sinful, it isn’t living up to the calling God has for my life. I settle for mediocrity when I am called to be extraordinary.
Examples needed? My life yields plenty of material.
I truly want to go pray. I’ve thought about it several times in a given day and I know it would bring peace. But I’m tired. So I scroll through Facebook.
I want to go for a run. But I’m tired. So I take a nap instead, planning to go for a run the next day.
I want to spend some time reading a book. But I’m tired. So I watch a movie instead.
There are a couple trends that should be noted.
1. I’m tired so often.
2. While I know what I should do (and what would actually satisfy the desires of my heart more), I tend to opt for the path that requires far less of me.
Yet when I actually put aside my momentary desires and do what requires a little more effort or discipline, I am always amazed at the internal peace that occurs.
Instead of mindlessly scrolling through the internet, I go to adoration. I’m far more pleased with myself (because even as I’m wasting time on my computer, there is a nagging feeling that I am not doing what I ought) and I feel a deeper peace because I did what my soul needed, I did what I actually wanted to do.
Sometimes what I want to do, isn’t what I actually want to do. And sometimes what I don’t want to do, is actually what I really want to do.
It makes me wonder why following my own heart’s desires is so difficult. Sadly, it is far too easy for the true desires to get overlooked by far more superficial, temporary wants. On the drive home from the church, I was thinking, “What if I always lived so that I was actually doing what I wanted to do and what was best for me?” My internal response? “Huh.” As though following my authentic desires was a novel concept.
Yet this is what the saints did. They lived! As saints they fulfilled the deepest, authentic desires of their hearts and did not succumb to the lazy wants that surfaced.
I could be such a better person if I followed my true desires (at times, genuine promptings of the Holy Spirit) instead of what I felt like doing in the moment. I could be a saint if I did now what I knew I should do, instead of waiting for a later, more convenient time.
The path to sanctity is now. And it is truly what I want. So why not start?
“Do now- Do Now- what you’ll wish you had done when your moment comes to die.” -St. Angela Merici