Saturday, 7 July 2007

Considered neglect

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit."

This is one of my favourite quotations (and anyone reading this blog will know that I am fond of the occasional quotation). It is written on the whiteboard in my office - as a reminder to me and my teams.

It came into my head in a less positive way today - as I spent a large part of the day in the garden... weeding, weeding, cutting the grass, weeding, weeding ... I should say at this point that I love gardening and have a fairly large garden on a challenging slope.

As I thought about the chore of weeding, I was reminded of Gordon MacDonald's book "Ordering your private world". The cover notes talk in terms of a tidy garden indicating that you spend too much time weeding and not enough time on God's business. (I'm oversimplifying the argument for the sake of brevity here.) I think that the general point that he makes is reasonable - although I'm a bit aggrieved that he chose gardening as an example - why not people with a low golf handicap?

Anyway, the real point that I want to get to is the need to establish positive habits in our lives. On a practical level, if I weeded more regularly it wouldn't be such a big and tedious job. On a spiritual level, if we establish better Sabbath practices, we should have more balanced lives with greater insight to God's will for us. On a personal level, if we don't spend time doing things that we enjoy, we will become limited/ obsessed individuals - work/life balance is important.

There is a phrase that Gordon MacDonald used in his book (I think!), which I use regularly - "areas of considered neglect". These are the tasks at the bottom of my to-do-list, which will only ever get done if something happens to change their importance - and they will be replaced by other "areas of considered neglect".

Enough now - I'm wabbit (Scots word - look it up!)

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