I was writing last week (over here!) about being overwhelmed – how it feels like there’s way more to do in what feels like ever shortening amounts of time. Tahd and I have been talking about this off and on for a few months now, both of us agreeing that we’re getting something wrong about life. I certainly don’t mean to imply that we’re living an awful life; in fact, our life is really, really good. Hashtag blessed and all, you know? But we’ve both said we feel like we’re drowning, and that doesn’t seem to be a particularly reasonable or effective long term life strategy. Hence the sense that we must be getting something wrong. We’re trying to do too much and we recognize that, but we don’t know what or how to eliminate.
I was super lucky ducky to have some solo time away in Houston this past weekend. I met up with a few girlfriends for a little while and spent the rest of my time writing, reading, and sleeping. Ah! I slept until 9AM both Friday and Saturday nights, but this morning I woke up feeling well rested after not quite 8 hours. Gives me hope that someday I’ll be able to live my life as rested person once again.
Last night over Cracker Barrel’s Country Vegetable platter and a few lonely tears, a question hit me.
What do you KNOW God wants you to do?
Hm…this intrigued me. My mind meandered over my swollen to-do list, which I’d even brought with me on this getaway. (Why???) It’s filled with things for my kids, issues related to banking/bills/finances, house projects, appointments to make, people to email, creative endeavors to pursue, errands to run–the usual stuff, right? None of it’s bad. Little of it is truly urgent. Some of it’s fun.
When I got back to the hotel, I sat down in front of a blank screen to make my list. These are the things I know that I know that I know I’m supposed to be doing at this point in my life:
cultivate my relationship with God || be a good wife and mom || take care of my health || steward my finances so I can be generous || write honestly and to encourage || worship with other people || live in and cultivate community || help less fortunate || do something creative to nurture my
There might be other things God wants me to do, but these were the major and most obvious ones. When I was done, I made a different list – the things I currently do that don’t make that list. Here those are:
manage or acquire more stuff || keep a perfect house || get or stay skinny || read all the books || fix up my house || homeschool my kids || build a platform || play piano at church || keep up online || photography || volunteer at MOPS or another women’s group || scrapbook || travel || work at my current job || have big holidays || learn about and implement new things like oils || cook somewhat involved, varied meals
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think things on the second list are inherently bad. I know I’m not giving up some of them anytime soon. It was more the very clear realization that they’re trades, that I can’t do everything on both lists, and if I pick some things off the second list, I can’t pick other things.
This whole process has been very insightful for me and I’ve been mulling it over since I’ve come home. I’m not sure this exercise is going to lead to drastic observable changes in the way I lead my life, but I did sense an internal shift as I made these two lists, and I’m not sure yet what it means.
I do know I need to somehow make this visible in my day-to-day life. Already, I’ve been tripping over some of the things on that second list, making them bigger than they should be in light of the things on the first list still not handled. I don’t mean to reverse things – I just find myself easily distracted and somewhat fickle, qualities I’ve learned to enjoy on some levels, but on other levels they really stink it up. Putting important things in writing is pretty helpful to me.
Have you ever found yourself in a season of priority adjustment? What surprises did you find along the way?