Packed schedules, the constant ding-ding-ding of text messages, e-mails unopened, phone calls that went to voicemail, full inboxes, sticky notes all around…Does any of this ring a bell? We want to do it all! Superior quality work, keeping a clean home, meeting the needs of those we care about, achieving the ultimate work/social life balance. Often we go through life with anxiety hanging out just beneath the surface. It’s come up a lot in my conversations of late. A teacher that I partner with is moving into a new house. She has a list a mile long of tasks that need doing. There is also added pressure given the reality that if this doesn’t happen soon she’ll be living with her in-laws! Another close friend has finally committed to serving with kids! YAYYYYY!!! Her first night serving was met with text message after text message coming through. Her teenage children begged for her attention throughout the program. Another good friend of mine is struggling regularly with anxiety attacks and feeling pulled in too many directions. I’m certainly not exempt from the pressure of the day to day. If I have ever been short with you when I’m in that “must get it done” mode I sincerely apologize! Please hold me accountable and know that I’m working on it! In my personal journey to overcome the daily grind, I’m discovering a few things that hopefully can help you too if you find yourself caught in the whirlwind of the daily routine.
Your value does not come from what you do. Often, we seek approval from others through doing. We unknowingly believe that our worth increases when our workload does. We create a buzz of busyness in order to feel important. Don’t get me wrong! We are on this planet for a reason and the “doing” of life is a big part of that. We are called to go and make disciples of every nation! Go is an action verb! But we must hold fast to the truth that each of us is intrinsically valuable. As sons and daughters of the most High God, we are royalty. As such, our lives are to be spent doing His work. We work not from a place of proving ourselves but from gratitude for what he has done and valuing the time for which He has placed us here on earth for a purpose.
You don’t have to save the world in a day. A mentor once told me that I was approaching each day and event as if that day was the Olympics. I would push hard and hit the pillow feeling like I had underperformed. I was burning up my productive energy via a fire of nervousness. I would pour too much emotional fuel into accomplishing feeling like every day was the main event. I would set big goals in the morning only to find disappointment in the evening when I didn’t meet them. It often felt like there just there just weren’t enough hours in the day. It is important to live every day to it’s fullest. And there is a benefit to living like you are dying (yes, I am a country much fan). But for me, it was too much, too big, too overwhelming. Setting smaller achievable goals helps me. I am learning to piece apart big projects. Pastor Randy has asked me on several occasions, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer: “One bite at a time”. One calm bite at a time. For me, finding that endurance pace rather than constantly trying to run the marathon has been a game changer.
You can work smarter instead of harder. Spending more time on something isn’t always the best choice. Sometimes, we think that the longer we work on something, the better it will be. This false belief seems to be reinforced as society as times seems to reward busyness over productivity. Craig Groeschel, founder and senior pastor of Life. Church, spoke at a conference I went to recently. He mentioned that our work past a certain point diminishes in returns. He said that you can “overbake” a project. At some point, putting more time into something doesn’t actually benefit you or those around you. Have you ever worked on something for so longer that you feel you have nothing left in that brain of yours? Maybe that’s a cue to stop and recharge. Working smarter for me means setting timers. I’m setting blocks of time for completing certain tasks. When the buzzer sounds, I’m done with that for the time being. I’m super motivated beating the clock! There are certain tasks that I do only on certain days. This enables me to have to have one less decision to make. You don’t have to set down the loads that you carry. Just get a cart of a backpack so your arms aren’t so tired.
Each of us is on this planet for a reason. It is my prayer that when you feel overwhelmed and want to give up, you are reminded of your value! You don’t have to do it all today. And you can make small choices that create not only the best life for you but a world of change for those around you.