Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dear PB, you're only hurting yourself

Okay. Let’s face it. We have all put things off at one point another. Maybe you said that you were going to make reservations to a restaurant for a special occasion that was coming up. Or maybe you said you were going to apply for some awesome position that was just right up your alley. But then, you know, life happens… or so we say. Oh yeah, that week long marathon of the Walking Dead was totally a legit reason to put off applying to that life changing position that would pay you 3 times the amount your dead end job is shelling out. And as for those reservations? Shooo, they’ll have seats the night of. After all, it isn’t every day that your friend gives you their Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!

Well guess what? By the time you finished ungluing your eyes from your program, the job posting has come down. And remember that restaurant that you were sure would have room come the night of the celebration? Yeeeeah… they are all booked. Congratulations! You successfully procrastinated; but that’s not all! You also failed to follow through completely.

Following through with what one says they are going to do is a pretty big deal in this day and age. It might be surprising to some, but people actually expect others to keep their promise, especially if they are exercising trust. Trust is a very important factor when building relationships. In order for someone to rely on another, the person has to be trustworthy to begin with. And if someone is unreliable, chances are, they will also be untrustworthy. I know, I know. This might sound harsh, but just bear with me. If you had a friend who said they would meet you at such-and-such place at a certain time and they were always late, would you trust them to pick up your child from daycare? Or perhaps you would rather entrust your dear grandmother, who just got off the Greyhound at 1:07 a.m., into the hands of this unpunctual friend. Heck no! I wouldn’t and neither would you.

To many, this sounds like a simple and reasonable thing. Honestly, who wouldn’t want someone else to keep their word? But for others, the whole idea just flies over their head. I mean swoooosh!
Oh, they get it when shattered promises rain down on them; cutting their hearts like shards of ridged broken glass. But when the time comes for them to step up to the plate, they have a million and one “reasons” why they were a no show. At first, these reneges start off small. Maybe they are only 10 minutes late to the movies. That’s all good. The previews are the only things showing during that lost time. But as time goes on, the offender is canceling dates at the last minute. And as a result, we’re feeling used, foolish, and, let us be real, downright pissed! And to add insult to injury, excuses with a mixture of sarcastic humor is thrown our way when we express our disappointment and hurt.

This, my dear, is when it begins to fall apart. The trust that our family, friends, or whoever has for us is slowly chiseled always with each excuse we give. And to us, these excuses may actually be legit reasons. However, when plans that are made days in advanced are always being shot down with the same reasons, it begins to sound like an excuse. Yes, we all understand that work is important, but is it so important that it trumps every single event in your life? Is work so important that you cannot take time out to of your day and just chill with the person who has held you down from the beginning; the person who helped you get that position in the first place? What’s worse, we find the time for our favorite television program, but we can’t seem to use that excitement and energy for scheduled birthday parties or picnics. And when the person who has been patiently standing by sees this, they begin to lose respect for Promise Breaker (PB for short).

No longer will their words mean anything. This is because the PB has becomes so good at talking a good talk, but there is nothing to back it. There is no walk to go with all that talk, is what I am getting at. Stating that they will be at the usual spot at noon has no weight. Those words are just leaves blowing in the wind. PB has become a joke. Whenever they open their mouth to announce the things they have planned (things they want to do, places they want to go, views they want to see), the classic side eye with the knowing smirk is the expression that greets them. And yes, we all laugh because we know PB has good intentions, but intentions do not make things happen. The Bible tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-14). I can have faith that I when I plant a seed, it will grow into a bountiful apple tree. But if I never go outside or get the seed to grow this awesome apple tree, how will I reap the rewards? Same principal applies to our lives and our given word.

When you and I do not keep our word, it discredits us. We begin to lose the trust and respect of those who thought could rely on us. The people who love us no longer come to us for the smallest favors. They no longer call on us when they are feeling down or have a problem. Sure, we want to be there for them, but with all of our excuses, all of our “reasons”, we give off the message that we are not interested in their struggles, concerns, joys, and accomplishments. We show that we can’t afford to be bothered with them because we decide that whatever it is we have going on was more important than spending a little time. What’s more, we give the impression that our cares and wants are more important than those we love.

And at the very marrow of it all, we let ourselves down. We, the PBs, can’t even take our own selves seriously. Will we really get off our “buts” (pun intended) and actually do what we said we were going to? Are we really going to write that poem, bake that cake, draw that picture, read that book, or do anything for ourselves that will benefit or elevate us? Or will we allow excuses to flood our lives and drown our ambitions, our hopes, and our dreams? Will we allow the broken promises to ourselves litter our lives and bury us alive? Or will we finally get fed up with the mediocrity of it all and do what we set out to? Do what we were created to do.

There have been many times that I wanted to cancel on an event. It could be because of school, work, personal interest, or the fact that I was just down right not feeling life. However, when I went to that graduation, birthday party, outing, volunteer function, study session, or even church, I felt accomplished. The excitement of the people who saw me made me glad to be there. And, usually when I follow through with a promise to myself, a weight is lifted off of my heart and I actually feel good about myself. But then again, on the flip side, there were times when I was PB; and she has an explanation for everything.

That being said, I understand that there are genuine reasons for canceling a date or not being able to have something done in due time (you can plan a pretty picnic but you can't predict the weather). But when reasons begin to hinder you from growing, they are no longer reasons, but excuses. So, my sweet PB, please don’t let those that you love down with those excuses. They want to be there for you… but in a way, you’re pushing them out. And just as importantly, don’t do it to yourself. Cause in the end, you’re the one who’s losing. You’re only hurting yourself. You’re worth so much more. I love you.

Tea Tea


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