Earnestness, an overlooked personality trait, is something I have come to value. But what does it even mean to be earnest? Dictionary.com defines it as “serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous.” I love that last phrase… sincerely zealous. What are you zealous about in your life?
I fell in love with the play The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde the moment that I read it. The satirical portrayal of Victorian England makes me laugh about the ways we all view life and how hard we work to conform to the social criteria of our culture. The characters are wrapped up in their Victorian social obligations and must do things in the proper manner, from tea time to marriage to having cucumber sandwiches for your guests. Earnest, the main character (pun intended), tries to break free from these social obligations by pretending to be someone else. It really is rather funny… if you don’t like to read you should at least go see the play or watch the movie sometime!
While the play makes a joke of being earnest, I think this is a character trait we should all try to incorporate in our lives. Maybe not in regards to what the world is telling us to do, but rather what we know we should be doing, even if the world criticizes us for it… I am willing to bet that everyone reading this blog is juggling more than one or two things in their life right now. We get so busy and so wrapped up in our own social obligations and projects that sometimes we give them less than the 100% effort that they deserve. Perhaps we should start saying no to social “requirements” so that we have more time for the things that really matter.
So, I’m going to become more earnest… more sincerely zealous. The things I am passionate about are worth being earnest over. Things such as God, family and friends, writing, serving others, glorifying Christ in all I do, and being a lifelong learner (more on that later). These are the things I am going to put more effort into.
In what areas of your life can you see the importance of being earnest?