Monday, May 11, 2009

Good Intentions or Good Character?

Once upon a time I was in a committee meeting. (I've sat through a LOT of committee meetings in my time). On this particular committee we were deciding who should fill an open spot. A name came up, and I immediately thought it was the wrong name. I sat for a moment thinking how I could politely say that this person lacked follow through in my experience with them.

As I was formulating my thoughts, another committee member voiced their own reservations. I concurred. Then another, and another. When all was said and done, every person in the room shared how this person, while having the best of intentions, had failed to do what they promised.

After the meeting I wondered if this person realized how often they let people down. I wondered if they realized that they had become characterized as someone who had good intentions, but lacked follow through. Then I wondered how I would be characterized in a room full of people.

I realized that day, that your character is not defined by some epic moment in your life. Rather it is the sum of your daily actions. Are you characterized as reliable or unreliable? Are you characterized by being prompt or late? Are you characterized as caring or impatient?

Because people are noticing, whether you realize it or not. Your every day actions define your character.

What are your actions saying about you today?

Ruth 3:11 -- And now, my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character.

Acts 17:11 -- Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

1 Corinthians 15:33 -- Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."

Chatty Kelly


Mel said...

that is excellent food for thought...

B His Girl said...

so true Kelly. I have some good intentions on a few things I want to do for others but I haven't seen them through... yet. I better get with it! Thanks for the poke. B

Sue J. said...

This is where we are taught to be discerning over folks in their service....but this is still hard to read. Who, then, reaches out-- not out of judgment but out of love--to tell this person that good intentions aren't "good enough"?

Having faithful friends be bold in their willingness to share is such a blessing....folks to give us the nudge to hear what the Spirit is trying to tell us about ourselves.

My ADHD Me said...

I swear I really did have a migraine I mean "nice post".

Susan said...

Oh so VERY true, Kelly! I so want what people say about me when I'm "out of the room" to be exactly what God wants...and I pray that in those times when I do fall short, that there is grace extended. I am working in a similar situation right now and about to have to go confront someone about "follow-through" won't be easy, but I hope it will be an intersection that leads to growth.



Runner Mom said...

"Your daily actions define your character"...whoa! These are so true! I have great intentions, and so many times, I run out of that...TIME! I am learning to say "no" a little more often, and that helps!

Thanks so much!!

Ronnica said...

Liz sent me over.

"I realized that day, that your character is not defined by some epic moment in your life. Rather it is the sum of your daily actions." - Ooh, that really hit a spot. It's so true though...I need to be living out my faith in the little things, as well as in the big things.

Carmen Gamble said...

Very insightful observation!

The Patterson 5 said...

Oh I am so thankful for His grace! This from someone who sadly has not always been able to finish what I've started. I am always so excited and thankful when I do finish things....definately by God's power not my own...the only good in my character is God! Thanks for the encouragement to complete our intentions and keep at the tasks God has called us to!

Mrs. Sidney said...

Wow, that really got me thinking... I wonder?

Blasé said...

I think I did ok, today.

Of course, tomorrow is another day...

I guess I'm a 'hit-and-miss' at some things, but I ALWAYS follow through with what I say I'm going to do (about 98.57% of the time).

As usual, your devotions are Superb!...[high-five, *slap*]

Billy Coffey said...

Oh, this is so true. We're much more known by what we do than what we say.

That was wonderful, Kelly.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Good one, CK. And it's so easy to pigeon-hole others and difficult to see some of our own stuff.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Good one, CK. And it's so easy to pigeon-hole others and difficult to see some of our own stuff.

HisPrincess said...

Hmmmm...I shudder to think what people are saying about me...I'm a bit haphazard. I guess that's what they are saying!

Wendy Blight said...

This is an EXCELLENT post, Kelly.

I just had a situation at school where someone alleged my son did something, and it was his character that kept him from getting in trouble. The teachers and administrators believed him over the other child because over the six years he had been at his elementary school, he had never been in trouble. He had proven himself through actions and attitude.

I share this story not to brag on my son but to show how incredibly important how we behave every day is so that when days like this come, our character stands for itself. We also warned him that no matter strong your character is, it can be destroyed in one day by one bad choice!

At his school every year they teach CHARACTER COUNTS, and he saw the reality of that lived out in his life, and I pray it is a lesson he will always remember!

Thank you for sending such a powerful reminder to all of us to look within our hearts and ensure that we are serving and living every day as if we are doing it unto the Lord...that we are women of our word...faithful and reliable.


Greg C said...

I think I would come out pretty good if you look at my track record as long as you throw out those occasional slips. I do have a good track record and people know they can trust me and rely on me. I guess that is why people keep coming back for more. Is that a good thing?

Pinkshoelady said...

I loved this post!
In the counseling sessions we are going through that is something we are looking at in ourselves.
Thank you for always challenging my heart and for remaining my freind even though I have stepped back from blogging some. Since I finished my curriculum deadline and school is winding down, I hope to get back writing more often.
Love and miss you my friend. I will be back more often to chat.

On Purpose said...

Coming away from this post with the intent to submit my intentions to God and allow Him to shape them!

Pat said...

This is so true. How little we realize how BIg our wordless ways speak of who we are.
Great reminder, thank you.

Things Above said...

What a good point. It's all the little decisions and behaviors that sum up our character. I really appreciated you sharing about this. Love, Heather

Irritable Mother said...

Ah, yes!
I want to be a woman who honors God, on whom other people know they can depend. When I am not in the room, I want the words about me to be admirable - not for my glory, but for God's.

Lois Lane II said...

Great post -- and I love that last verse. SO TRUE.

Mary Moss said...

Very good food for thought. I wonder if anyone ever let this person know "the truth in love" about how they are viewed?

THAT would be a huge step and so often I hesitate to be that one who does the telling.

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

For me, my lack in follow through's are usually when a get overwhelmed by too much. Like volunteering for too much and then before I know it my husband or family get's sacrificed coz I can't do it all. Now I'm learning boundaries and to beable to say NO and not feel guilty just because someone asks me to do something. I believe in honesty and doing what you say you will. When I fail, I'm thankful God's the God of second chances and I'm learning to care alot less if others criticize me because I messed up. I do want others to know they can rely on me. I'm sure I've let people down in the past.