DEVOTION: THE GRITTY CHOICE WITH A GRACEFUL OUTCOME
Devotion seems to dance in grace. It floats around and hugs, it lifts and empowers, it builds others up. It appears soft and light. But, when you start to dig, devotion can be a very gritty character trait. It demands focused work, clarity of thought, determination, raw honesty, self care and discipline. I think very few people actually understand what it truly means to be devoted to something.
Think of your family: how much you love them, how much you think about them, how devoted to them you are, and how you would bend over backwards to keep them safe. But, let’s be honest, the actual work of parenting is hard. It is constant, focused and, at times, tiresome. I was discussing parenthood with a good friend of mine and she said something that I found profound: “Parenting is the hard choice.” And she is right. Being devoted to something is the hard choice.
If we aren’t devoted to anything, we just float through life. There is no true emotion to be felt because we aren’t attached to anything. Where is the celebration? Where is the excitement? I believe that everyone has a purpose in this life. Your purpose is what you tend with devotion – helping the needy, curing illness, raising a family, empowering others. We devote ourselves to those things that we believe to be our reason for living. Devotion gives life meaning. A life devoid of devotion is a life lived devoid of emotion.
Teaching our girls about devotion teaches them that there is a world outside our own. It is a paradox of hard and gentle. Devotion teaches our girls that hard work is gratifying. It requires courage and selflessness, but it also requires self care and grace.
Devotion shows our daughters that, in order to help others, we must be confident in our abilities. If we do not fully love ourselves, we cannot fully love others. Devotion insists on self love and self care before we care for others. Through devotion, our daughters learn to believe in themselves and in their potential. They take on an idea or a person and believe that they can help, they can serve, they can make an impact. And they do.
Devotion requires a lot from us, but it also makes sure we give back to ourselves. It is a gritty choice with a graceful outcome.