The danger of drifting
I suppose drifting is dangerous at any age but based upon my own experience, the temptation to drift grows even more powerful in the mid-life years. The early monks warned us against the danger of acedia (often translated as sloth or laziness).
According to Gerald Sittser, in a chapter on the rhythm of work and prayer that the early monks tried to establish, laziness is more a result of acedia than the meaning of it. He says, “Acedia is better defined as boredom, restlessness, inattentiveness.” Boredom, restlessness and inattentiveness very well describe what I have been experiencing in the last period of my life. Ouch!! Sittser goes on to say, “Routine can make us impatient; we wish that there was an easier and faster way to maturity of faith and fruitfulness of life. We want to take shortcuts; we look for entertainment along the way; we expect to be dazzled by the speed of our progress.” When we are experiencing acedia, the one thing we should not do (and yet are tempted to do) is to quit! Seems like I have heard these words from my wife more than once.
The real danger is that often acedia leads us to drift and Hebrews warns us about what happens when we start to drift. “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” (Heb 2:1 ESV) In fact, if one traces the warning passages in Hebrews, there seems to be a progression: from Drift to Indifference to Disobedience to Hardness to Rebellion to Failure. We start drifting but then we end up in a place we never planned!
Michael Hyatt offers three solutions in a helpful post on drift.
- Become aware of your current location
- Decide where you want to go.
- Start working toward your destination.
What has worked for you in dealing with acedia? in dealing with drift in your life? I would appreciate hearing and perhaps others might benefit as well