A Long Obedience in the Same Direction…and the Joy of Victory

Dear Readers,

Years ago I heard of a book titled “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.”  I never read the book so this entry isn’t about the book.  But the title has stuck in my head for more than twenty years.  At first, it was a curiosity: what could such a title be talking about?  Later, it became a reminder to do my duty: that sometimes things we don’t enjoy doing are non-optional duties that require “a long obedience.”  Off and on through the years I focused on the “in the same direction” part, realizing that I needed to be more consistent about doing good things, making good changes, and substituting good habits for bad.

Today I discovered the joy of exercising “a long obedience in the same direction”: after many years of working to whittle down and organize my accumulation of papers and books, and after a hiatus from that obedience of several months, today I sat down at my home office desk and groaned at the piles of paper covering it’s top.  My one goal over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays was to clear that desktop down to the bare bones and it just never happened, for various reasons.  I’ve been putting the clearing off, dreading the process of sorting papers yet AGAIN!

But as I began the process today I realized that the habits I’ve been trying to build for so many years are beginning to pay off.  What I thought was another huge stack of unsorted papers turned out to be already sorted stacks that just needed to be filed away.  It took much less time than I expected, only about an hour and a half. So here I am, with a spot for my laptop and the actual time to share with you this victory.  Yes, there are still plenty of things to be done, but today I’m taking the time to thank God for success and savor the moment.

How about you? Is there a book title that has impacted your life? Is there a victory you’d like to share?  If so, I invite you to share it here.

Resources on Persistence

The One Way to Guarantee You Won’t Succeed Michael Hyatt