Stop Wishing. Start Doing.

Jon Davidson
Jun 8, 2017 · 3 min read

“I wish things were different.”

How many times do we utter this phrase, wistfully imagining what the future would be like if we could just catch a break?

How many proverbial pennies have we wasted on our weary wishing wells? How many birthday candles have we blown out? How much time do we spend blaming circumstances, blaming people, blaming politicians, blaming everyone but ourselves for the way our lives are, for the way things have turned out?

I wish. These two seemingly innocuous words are devastatingly deadly.

We wish. We hope. We dream. We never do. All the while, that baleful bandit known as routine robs us of our time, and we are left to wonder where we went wrong.

Staples, you lie. In this life, there is no Easy Button.

It’s time to do. And it’s time to eliminate the word wish from your vocabulary.

It’s time to wreck your wishing well.

After all, a wish never changed the world.

What if Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Winston Churchill…Jesus, even…had sat around watching Netflix and wishing things were different, instead of making daring, difficult decisions that changed the course of human history? The world would be a much darker place.

Want to lose weight? Don’t cry into your Ben & Jerry’s about how you wish your metabolism was faster. Instead, exercise. Eat healthy. Change your lifestyle.

Want more financial security? Maybe skip that new flat-screen you don’t need and that twice-daily Venti Frappuccino. Instead, budget. Save. Work. Plan.

Want more meaningful friendships? Stop playing Candy Crush and look up from your phone. Meet people. Be open. Be a friend.

In the words of Switchfoot, this is your life. Are you who you want to be?

Allow me to step down from my soapbox and be honest with you. In certain areas in my life, I’m on point when it comes to planning. Changing. Doing. I budget well. I invest wisely. I eat healthfully. I exercise. I spend meaningful time with people I care about.

In other areas, though, areas of the heart, I’m far better at preaching than practicing. For instance, I’ve been saying for years that I want to give of my time and money till it hurts, not just when it’s convenient. I want to volunteer more. I want to spend less energy pursuing my own selfish agenda and more loving the not easily loved. Have I spent a lot of time talking about making these changes? Yes.

Have I made them? No.

Yes, there are circumstances beyond our control in this life. When I was on crutches for four months with a torn Achilles, for instance, all the decisive action in the world wouldn’t have expedited my healing process and allowed me to walk again at an earlier date. Obviously, in each of our lives there are such circumstances, whether financial, physical, or relational. As simple and ubiquitous as it is, Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer speaks to this distinction: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

When it comes to the things we can change, it’s important to remember that change doesn’t happen overnight. Grand goals aren’t always achieved at a rapid pace. A journey of a million miles does indeed begin with a single step. Then another. Then another.

It’s time for you, for me, to take that first step.

Where do you want to be? Who do you want to be? What do you want to change? Think about your destination, and then think about what you can do, today, right now, to start down the road that will take you there.

Stop wishing. Start doing.

Wreck your wishing well.

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