The Difference Between Knowing & Doing

by | Sep 1, 2015 | Christin's Blog Posts

I thank God and my Auntie Jacquie (who was also my elementary school teacher K-5th grade) for my love of learning. I was one of those kids who couldn’t wait for the new school year to begin. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED to learn.Back to School with Auntie

I’ve learned a lot of things over the years that have been very helpful to me and the people in my life God has called me to minister to.

But one of the things I’ve learned is that learning by itself doesn’t do much for you. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you don’t apply it – if you don’t do anything with it – it doesn’t make much difference.

Exhibit A: With everything I’ve learned about exercise, weight loss, and nutrition — all the books, magazines, medical journal articles I’ve read, and all the doctors, nutritionists, therapists, personal trainers I’ve talked to, and the thousands of dollars I’ve spent on equipment, programs, and, supplements – I could have a Ph.D in the subject.

Seriously. Ask me anything. Including why I’ve spent the last twenty-five years ducking out of family photos, gaining and losing the same 30, 40, 80 lbs, again and again.

Knowing what to do and doing it are not the same thing.

Exhibit B: There have never been enough hours in the day for all the things I want to do, need to do, feel obligated to. With all the books, blog posts, and articles I’ve read, all the shows, workshops, webinars I’ve seen, all the experts I’ve met, and the thousands of dollars I’ve spent at the office supply store – I could have a Ph.D in goal-setting, prioritization, and organization.

Seriously. Ask me anything. (My friends do – I’m a fountain of helpful organizational strategies, which I really enjoy sharing.)

But knowing what to do and doing it are not the same thing.

It’s true in a spiritual sense, too.

The Difference Between Knowing and Doing

Sometimes… SOMETIMES… in an area where there’s a disconnect, I discover I just haven’t found the right solution yet for me. When that knowledge finally comes, things do click into place.

Sometimes there are very good reasons I can’t or don’t or won’t follow through. And even when they’re excuses (not reasons), I’ve seen God, in His mercy, work in them and through them – and in and through me, too.

He’s taught me a lot about letting go of perfectionism, unrealistic standards and impossible expectations, and that sneaky striving, self-righteous, works-based theology.

And of course, grace. His amazing grace.

But knowing what to do and doing it are still not the same thing.

And when I gave my heart to Him, I promised to love, honor, and obey. All three of those things can mean “to do” what He’s asked me to. (Or in some cases, “not to do”.)

There a couple of things I’m pretty sure He wants me to do right now. He’s been asking me for a long time. At first I thought maybe it was my idea… then I thought maybe it was a suggestion, you know, a kind of optional thing. But not really. I’ve just been stalling. Honestly, I’ve known for a while now these are things I really need to do, because He’s asked me to.

And the people in my life who love me and know me best (and hold me accountable) all agree.

I know, but I don’t do.

I keep getting distracted…. See, there are all these other things I also need to do. Good things, important things. I think if I could just get them done, then I’d be free to concentrate on the more important things God’s asked me to do.

But the list never ends. I cross ten things off and fifteen more appear in their place. So I do a little of this and a little of that, and I try to make some headway. It’s like sitting in a rowboat in the middle of the lake, paddling a few strokes in each direction. (Please DON’T ask, “How’s that working for you?”)

And then, when I do have free time, frankly I’m too tired to do anything but veg out in front of the TV. Which just makes me feel guilty.

It’s been going on too long. So I’m taking some drastic action: I’ve identified what (for me) are some of the urgent, important, often really-good-things I think I should be doing – the things that take up so much of my time and energy  – and though I’m half convinced that the Earth itself will stop spinning (along with all kinds of other dire things), I’m taking them off my to do list for now.

So that I have no excuse.

So I can start being obedient to Jesus. Knowing AND doing.

One of those things is the whole social media / blogging thing. I’m going to try to take the month off, at least, even if it kills me, til I get these other things done. Or get back in a more obedient groove.

I might pop in on Facebook to let you know where I’m speaking or if God puts a particular verse on my heart to share… I’ve already sent some guest posts to friends who might be running them soon — and if so, I’ll let you know where. And if you need something, if you need to contact me, I’ll be checking my messages, too. I’m not going anywhere.

In one sense, I know I don’t need to make a big announcement. I’ll probably be back before you miss me! But I thought I’d mention it just in case…

In case you do miss me, or in case there’s something God’s been asking YOU to do.

Maybe we could try being obedient together (well, separately, at the same time)… and come back together in a while and share what we’ve learned – what happens when we know AND do.

Love to you,

Obedience Just Do It


UPDATE:  Just a few days after I wrote this post, I got a copy of my friend Glynnis Whitwer‘s new book “Taming the To-Do List” in the mail… I can’t wait to read it. She always has such great advice and encouragement. And the book is all about this very thing. How we let responding to Facebook, email, and our daily to-dos keep us from focusing on our bigger priorities. We feel like we’re really working hard, but actually we’re procrastinating (ouch!) by doing the easiest, “urgent” things first — instead of the harder, more important things. Click here to learn more.