Do you ever try to do it all, and in the process, never complete anything? Or never do anything well?
I had to give up on the idea of doing everything a long time ago. I like to think of myself as relatively competent and interested, even enthusiastic, about lots of different areas. It killed me to let go.
Rather than keep attempting to do a whole pile of things so-so, I decided to concentrate on a few things. Maybe then something would turn out well-done.
In a lifetime, perhaps you can do it all, but not at any one time. There are seasons where you focus on one aspect of life or another, but in order to do that, something else has to give.
You have to say “no” to some things so you can say “yes” to the things that are most important to you at that season of your life.
I had to re-learn this lesson recently. During most of the 3½ years I worked on my graduate degree, I tried to keep doing all the same things I had been doing before. I just squeezed in class time (with a long commute) and homework time on top of my full-time job, my full-time life, and everything else.
At first, the only things I let go were sleeping and cleaning the house. The second thing wasn’t hard to let slide at all.
When I decided I’d better double up on my courses if I wanted to finish before dementia set in, I realized my ship would sink unless something drastic happened. I started throwing ballast overboard, just grabbing stuff and heaving it. I said “no” to all kinds of things, out of desperation.
I had to give up things I liked doing. I ditched good things for better things, at least better for the season I found myself in.
And I said “yes” to finishing my degree and writing a novel.
This is what I learned: Before you cram more things into your stuffed-to-the-gills schedule, you have to take something out. Something besides sleep.
When I relaxed my expectation to blog every week, I felt free. But now that I’m trying to add it back in, I find I’ve gotten out of the habit. And it’s hard to go back.
Maybe you already discovered you can’t do everything, but how do you decide what to keep and what to ditch? And then how do you do it in such a way that you’re not stressed-out and unapproachable?
Jesus never rushed but he completed his task. He finished the work. He walked everywhere, and talked with people along the way. Just imagining that lifestyle makes me feel refreshed. People never felt second place to his agenda.
Once when his disciples were exhausted, he invited them to rest. “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” That invitation is open to us, too, every day.
Saying “yes” to spending time alone with Jesus gives back to us. It never takes away.
When Jesus say a large crowd gather, he felt compassion for them. He willingly postponed the planned R & R. The result was 5,000 being fed with five loaves and two fish. It was all that the disciples had to offer, but it was enough. (Mark 6)
I tried to picture how I might respond if someone interfered with my plans. Would I be willing to submit my agenda to the Lord’s plans for me on any given day?
What about you? Are you interruptible?
When you’re meeting with someone, do you look at your watch or other people around you, or do you focus on the person you’re with and their needs?
Sometimes I’m so stressed with my growing To-Do list that I don’t notice God trying to rearrange my day. I get frustrated with interruptions, but some of them may be divine appointments.
I need to learn the difference of what to say “no” to, so that I can say “yes” to the things that matter.