The Importance of Doing

While sitting in church this past Sunday, something occurred to me:  “how” we do something is not nearly as important as actually doing it.

Let me explain…

No matter where you go in the world, one of the most – if not the most – important parts of a Christian mass is what is termed the ‘Celebration of the Eucharist,” or, as most people refer to it, receiving Communion. As part of this ceremony, each member of the congregation takes a piece of bread (or, as Catholics call it, a ‘host’) as a symbol of the bread that Jesus Christ shared with his Apostles on the night before he was arrested, and eats it in remembrance of that Last Supper.

But it’s not so simple, you see.

Breaking bread can get complicated

Some Christian religions, like the Catholic faith, perform this ritual during every mass – whether it’s a regular Sunday morning, a wedding, a funeral, a Holy Day of Obligation…you name it. While some Protestant faiths do the same, many only do it on Sunday, or even just one Sunday each month.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, in fact, only do it once a year, during what they call The Memorial, which is their version of an Easter mass.  Yet, although all congregation members are offered the ceremonial bread, only a very select few actually partake of it.

There are other differences, too. Some churchs serve traditional unleavened bread; others prefer leavened.  Some churches only allow the priest to serve it; others allow ordinary folks designated as ‘lay ministers’ to serve it. While one church may require you to stand, another may have you kneel, while another has you sit.

Some churches are quiet during the ceremony; some play music.

No matter how Christians do it, though, the important thing is…they do it.

What’s keeping you from doing?

So as I sat there in the pew, I began thinking about all the variables we encounter
in our lives, and all the roadblocks we put in front of ourselves. When we fall in love, we wonder if we should tell the other person our feelings. After a date, we wonder whether we should call or text the other person back too soon, or not soon enough. We see a job position available that we’d really like to apply for…but we doubt we’re qualified.

Parents worry they don’t spend enough time with their kids. Actors and voice artists question whether we should audition for a gig. Poets agonize over which adjective is best to describe a mountain.

It feels like we all spend so much time debating with ourselves over whether we should do something, or how we should do something…that we end up never doing.

In fact, as I write this post, it’s 10:16pm EST on Monday night, and the reason it’s so late is because I spent the last two days wondering if I should use this idea as a blog post!

“Worry is a misuse of the imagination.” – author Dan Zadra

I’m not sure why so many of us, myself included, come up with so many reasons to not do something we want to do. Perhaps it’s because of fear of failure. Perhaps it’s the fear of the unknown.

Perhaps it’s because maintaining the status quo is also the path of least resistance.

Whatever the reason, it seems to me that there’s a lot more worrying in this world than there is doing. Granted, if you want to skydive, you can’t just go jump out of a plane. If you want to quit your job to spend more time with family, you need to assess your finances. If you want to be an author, you need to learn how to write.  (Although these days, it seems that requirement is sadly becoming less and less necessary)

But if you’re not doing anything to achieve these goals – why worry or complain about your lack of ever reaching them?

“If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?”  –Śāntideva, Buddhist monk

Bottom line: worrying, debating, and stressing are not doing. The Christian churches don’t worry about whether they should sit during Communion or stand, whether they use unleavened bread like Jesus did or a loaf of regular whole wheat, or whether they should do it daily, weekly, or monthly.

They just do it.

Why don’t you? If you want to have a particular career, don’t just talk about it – do something to get yourself there. Parents, leave the dirty bathroom for another day and go outside and play with your kid. Poets, write the damn line about the stupid mountain and then go back and revise.

If you love someone, tell them! It’s time for all of us to get things done!

I, for one, am going to stop worrying, debating, and analyzing every decision I make. And that’s something I know I can do.

11 thoughts on “The Importance of Doing

  1. Janet F.

    Matt… father took Dale Carnegie courses in the early 50s and it augmented his life. He used to say when I (early teen years) was sitting alone in our den , “you’re always worrying, what are you worrying about?” Then he would tell me that worrying did no good. Of course, I used to say I was not worrying, only thinking, which I didn’t find a bad thing!!! (In church I heard a semon once about not hiding your light under a bushel… that is why we have to be willing to fail, if we don’t we might be too paralyzed to act……ie why I don’t have my blog up yet!) Let’s not get started on excuses, either. Remember chaff and wheat! Thanks for your reminder. You never know until you try!


  2. Great advice Matt. Like Jama, I think back and forth, under and over, and too often don’t do. On the other hand, there have been things I’ve been glad I thought through before impulsively plunging in. I think we do need to honor our own personalities, styles, and rhythms.

    But I’m glad you used the analogy you did, and wrote this. You’ve inspired and encouraged me today. Thank you!


    1. Thanks, Violet! Like I said, there are some things we need to prep for, if we want to do them…but not actively prepping and just sitting idly by waiting for the decision to make itself is not really an option!


    2. Janet F.

      That is a great point, Violet, about personal style. Or am I making excuses for my overly-perfectionistic tendancies in some matters????? Seriously, though, for some things we do have to go on our own path. And the journeys can be so different. But great food for thought and a boost, Matt!!!


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