Today is the first time in four months that I have been able to sit still, assemble my collected thoughts and put them on paper (or electronic device). Considering the fact that I have a blog, albeit a grossly-unattended one, this is completely unacceptable. Whether I write for profit, inspiration, or my own medication… I must write. It is who I am. It is what I do. I am taking time for myself today, a proverbial “mental health day”, which actually benefits spirit, mind and body.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. (Mark 6:31)
Life gets busy, and I have been busy; but busy doing what? I have been busy doing life: working, cleaning, shopping, and balancing checkbooks. I have been keeping check on neighbors, my car engine light, and my thyroid levels. I vacuum almost every day due to that loveable, 55-pound four-legged fur-ball we adopted, and my husband’s allergies. They are completely worth it, but I applaud and give heartfelt thanks to my light-weight Oreck vacuum cleaner, and for Rosie, the Roomba-Robot. I have apparently not, however, been busy enough dusting the furniture. But I digress …
With a mere six weeks remaining in this calendar year, I reflect back on the past 11 months, and the promises I made to myself. You know, those so-called resolutions we all make but seldom keep. I have not gone to the gym as routinely as I intended, and not at all since early summer. I have not yet designed new t-shirts for our ministry. And I have not recorded the weekly videos for the ministry You-Tube channel, as intended. I have not lost those last 15 pounds, nor have I abstained from all things sweet-n-starchy, as intended. And I have not, alas, finished that third book I planned to publish by the end of this year, nor have I started it. I am not lazy and I am not a failure. I am overwhelmed.
Resolutions. Plans. Noble intentions. We all have them as we should. I believe it is imperative and healthy to “write the vision” and set new goals. Taking on new challenges can be educational and rewarding. But how about we take inventory of our lives and assess ourselves accordingly? I recently did this (again), and hung my head in shame. Or perhaps it was mere exhaustion, but my gaze was downcast nonetheless. Not very fitting for a motivational/inspirational writer/preacher/teacher gal.
The above-stated inventory contains three unprofitable income stream attempts, 27 Facebook groups (four of which I moderate), and six Facebook pages to manage. I have a stack of unread books by my “quiet-time” chair, and random paperwork strewn across the “to be filed” corner of my desk. I have furniture piled high in the garage waiting to be polished or painted for the “Robin’s Nest” booth. Did I mention the used furniture/home decor store I opened in late summer? Much of my free time has been spent in building and collecting that inventory, but that venture has been a pure joy and a fun hobby that my husband and I do together. If we continue, it promises to be profitable for us and the ministry. But it does take time.
Nike coined the phrase that has become the motivational mantra of our generation: “Just Do It!” The problem lies when we try to just do it all. We often spread ourselves too thin with those resolutions, plans, good intentions and new ventures, leaving precious little time for the most important things: 1) Prayer/Spiritual life; 2) Family & Friends; 3) Physical/Mental Health; and 4) our true gifts and calling.
So after a night of prayerful reflection and meditation (I have become a chronic insomniac), I return to the resolution I made on January 1st of this year: Prioritize. Eliminate the things/activities that hinder the more important things. Just say “no” to the unprofitable time-wasters. Focus on my health, my family, and the work that God has called me to. If it does not move me toward my goals, it has to go. I must “just say ‘no’.”
In my first writing class nearly 30 years ago, the instructor emphasized this one thing that we should adhere to: “Find what you do, and do it well.” This will require pruning and just saying “no” to many things. It will require consolidating and utilizing better time management. It will require living everyday life with intent and purpose, and prayerful focus. It will require simplifying and downsizing. But I can do this. We can do this. We must do this, for our own sanity and sense of accomplishment.
Now, let’s just do it!