Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” Ecclesiastes 9:10
I know what you’re thinking.
Oh, no! This woman is about to tell me I need to get with it and get busy in this new year.
Nope. I’m actually going to challenge you to do less!
Confession: In the last few years, my life had gotten to the point that I didn’t know if I was coming or going most days. Every minute of the day was filled with unrealistic expectations and an out-of-control to-do list. Sure, I was accomplishing a lot, but nothing was given my best. Spread so thin, that each part, including my family, was only given lackluster effort.
Some days, I wanted to just crawl under the covers and hide from the list, but guilt wouldn’t allow me to take a time-out. I feared if someone found out I sat unproductive for a moment or, heaven forbid, took a nap, I would look lazy.
There were clear signs that an impending collapse was on the horizon.
-Each time my phone rang or a text came in, it would give me anxiety from worrying what expectation was attached to it.
-My weight crept back up. I’m a lifelong member of the stress-eaters club and have a bad habit of putting myself on the backburner. I was right back there again.
-My mind was constantly foggy and my focus scattered.
-I went to bed tired and woke up tired.
-Leaving the house became a chore that I put off at any chance I could.
-I didn’t smile very often, and when I did it felt forced, like I was hiding behind it.
Gentle whispers began filtering through my thoughts.
-This is not the life God intended you to live.
-Why have you lost your joy when you are so richly blessed?
-You’ve taken your gift of life on as if it were a burden.
-Something has to give before you give out.
God was clearly telling me to get still somewhere and reprioritize, so I began praying for some guidance on how to get to that point. It took a new Bible study to help me understand this, and boy did it ever! It’s All Under Controlby Jennifer Dukes Lee was the simplest-in-form Bible study I have done. It was actually one of the reasons I picked it, because I was so busy and didn’t have much time to devote to it. Yes, that’s another confession. One I’m not proud of, but I want to get real with y’all and hope for that in return. The study may only be 114 pages in length and only a 6-week commitment, but it packs a punch!
Summary, in my perspective: We want to handle it all on our own and show the world we have it under control while nearly buckling under the weight of each added task we take on. We put on a brave smile to passersby and say, “I’ve got this!” We wave for them to quickly move along, worried they will notice the train wreck we’re becoming and view us as less for not being able to handle it all. We tend to try to be everything to everyone.
Newsflash: It’s NOT possible. Only God can handle that role. With great humbleness, I’ve come to realize I need to step aside and let him have it.
Hardest part of this realization: Sometimes you have to say no. I’m that girl who wants to be depended on and wants to please everyone, so saying no is not my MO. I’m working on that and the notion of just being quiet—slowing down, listening more and not always feeling the need to respond, paying close attention to what I’m called to do by God and not by a multitude of people with good intentions but are slowly dragging me down.
Jesus calls us to rest, to spend quality time with him, to live an abundant life, and to use the gifts he gave us to glorify his kingdom.
Bible verses to back this up:
Mark 6:30 – Find a quiet place with Jesus and rest. *Can’t do that while juggling an insane day planner filled more than we can handle.
John 15:14 – Jesus calls us to be his friend. *Can’t do that when we brush him to the side and don’t make quality time for him.
John 10:10 – Jesus came that we’d live abundant lives. *Can’t do that with a frown while focusing on negatives instead of on all our blessings.
1 Corinthians 12: 7-11 – Jesus gives us each a specific gift to use for his glory. *Can’t do that when we’re taking on gifts not assigned to us.
We cannot accomplish the life he designed for us if we’re running around like a bunch of deranged chickens clucking out a yes for everything tossed our way. I do not recall ever reading in the Bible where Jesus rushed around in a tizzy, yet he accomplished so much with his patience and focused compassion. He showed us quality is more important than quantity by sometimes saying no, or give me a minute, or not right now. People were probably disappointed with his answers, so people probably won’t understand your answers and may be disappointed as well. Sometimes doing what’s right for you won’t be pleasing to others. The study also pointed out that our no’s give others the opportunity to say yes.
In 2019, my resolutions will not depend on myself to control. I want to give the plan over to Jesus as he intended it. My sweet friend Trina gave me a prayer journal for Christmas. On January 2nd, I wrote, “God, please guide me to the path you’ve designed only for me and give me enough sense to stay on it.”
My 2019 Goals:
-Live my life instead of barely managing it.
-Learn the technique of saying no to what I’m not led to do.
-Continue to make my quiet time with Jesus a top priority.
-Focus on my family, enjoy our private time together, and be present in those moments.
-Share a more personal time with you through this newsletter and blog.
-Focus on book content and storyline while taking a break from social media.
-Enjoy my early-morning jogs with my dear friend Teresa, and put more focus on my health.
-Commit to only 1 or 2 volunteer possessions or causes as God leads me and invest quality time in them.
Our goals for 2019 will vary, but I hope we will do them with all our might! I want to leave you with one of my favorite prayers included in the study. My prayer is for you to pray it as well.
Give me the strength to let go of what you have not asked me to do, so I can shine at what you have. Give me the courage to say yes to your plans and no to everything else. And give me the wisdom to know the difference.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
I’m looking for a new Bible Study and would love for you to share your recommendations!