Saturday, July 26, 2008


I am realizing that a lot of what I do is motivated by obligation. Not by true desire, love, joy, etc., but feeling obliged to do this or that. Especially when it comes to the church (with the little "c," referring to the organization, whereas big "C" Church refers to the large Church, the people, at least in my usage). It's not a great way to live. Actually, it's no way to live at all. It's a way to die under burn out and resentment.

I know God does not want us to act from obligation, but from our hearts overflowing with love. One parable (I don't remember the author--perhaps GK Chesterton--and don't want to feel obligated to look it up at the moment :) ) essentially talks about how a king (God) dressed like a peasant to court a girl so he would know she truly loved him rather than showing the appearance of love due to obligation. I'm noticing that as long as I continue to live like I'm obligated to do so many things, it makes it difficult to love God and love others freely.

Writing less and somewhat sporadically on this is a way for me to practice ignoring obligation and listening to my heart more. Every day I think about things I could write. I often feel guilty for not writing more (not sure why). So if I feel God telling me the desire is out of obligation, I decide to not write it. However, other times, I sense God saying it something I should write. Those are the times (like this one) I get more excited to write. They're probably better posts, too... :)

I'd love to hear if others struggle with the sense of obligation (I'm assuming yes) and you handle it...

1 comment:

  1. Hi Josh,

    Your topic on motivated obligation really struck a few familiar chords with me. I too experience different levels of obliged "responsibility" due to my background in technology. While I enjoy the act of sharing information with those who are genuinely interested in the acquisition of knowledge, I often find myself stretched way too thin with an influx of technical inquiries and requests by family, friends, and third party acquaintances. This is particularly evident during family functions where I am besieged by family members with laptops in tow knowing that I would be there to resolve their PC related issues.

    Mind you, there is a fair level of narcissistic satisfaction when applying my abilities toward these seemingly noble and altruistic causes. The issue I have is during those times when I am at a physical and/or mental low and I just don't feel like being the good Samaritan. I find it difficult to avoid calls at different hours of the day or night from individuals pleading for my assistance. For me, this feeling of motivated obligation creates internal conflict that challenges my will to do good by pleasing others against my need and desire for personal space. While I enjoy the joyous reactions of an appreciative individual whom I was able to assist, I don't particularly care for the thought of being defined by my abilities.

    The irony is that my inherent nature to aid and please others is dependent on those skills and abilities that define me.

    Aloha Nui,




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