I’ll get to it tomorrow. I just don’t have the energy to do it today. Yuck, I can not deal with that today.
I am the queen of excuses and of putting things off. Especially the hard things, the uncertain things and the things I’ve never done before. The things I can avoid doing today.
In total irony, just because I do not do them today does not mean that they will not cause me pain, agony or frustration. In a twisted way, by not getting to those dreaded things on my to do list, they may bring more frustration by not doing them then by doing them.
I can try to avoid them to the best of my ability, but those things will haunt me. I may avoid a difficult conversation or phone call, fearing rejection or fearing the added workload that one call will bring. Or because I do not want to begin a difficult new assignment, I may opt to spend my time instead doing a mundane repetitive task that demands no real mental challenge from me. In doing so I fool myself into thinking I’m still productive because I’m busy.
Even though I can wash all of the laundry, vacuum all of the floors, put away the dishes and iron on Girl Scout badges I still feel added stress because I just didn’t take on the nagging unfinished task that is driving me NUTS. The disturbing part is that if I would just start, I know that it wouldn’t be so bad and I may actually even enjoy it. Yet I drag my feet.
Believe me, I’ve read the book about eating that frog where you take on the biggest ugliest task of the day first to build momentum. I’ve read a lot of articles and books about productivity which, oddly, have helped me avoid being productive. Some days, I’ve gotten around to accomplishing that eat the frog thing. Many other days it’s 4:00pm when I look over my list and see there’s a lot that carried over from yesterday or last week or last month or stuff I do not even write down because then I do not have to feel so bad every time I look at my list.
One of the things I really have to watch is time. I lose time. Rather, I give it away generously to the dumbest things. For instance sending an email. I do not just go into to my inbox and compose an email. I go in to browse around and be reminded of all the stuff I need to do before I can delete or file other emails. I open random emails, I follow links right out of my inbox and into the onslaught of information congestion on the internet super highway. Twenty minutes have now passed. The four minute email I meant to compose and send is still unwritten and unsent.
What can I say, I’m a work in progress. Today, I really had no idea to write. So I thought I would avoid it by doing some very good things. Laundry. House cleaning. Sending a few emails. If you are wondering, I did catch myself twice wandering aimlessly around the internet. Don’t get me wrong, doing laundry and cleaning the house are very good things to do. Even a bit of mental wandering to give your mind a break isn’t bad. My problem is that I was using those things as a distraction from other things that I really needed to be doing.
In my heart I want to write. When I sit down and get started I’m amazed how words can flow like a beautiful stream. Sometimes there rough areas of raging rapids and others it’s a gentle trickle. When I write I feel like I can reach right down into my heart and pull out a treasure that I can wrap in my words. When people read my words I feel like they accept and unwrap the gift that I have given them.
Sometimes there are so many other things vying for my attention that I feel bad sitting down to do it. I know that when I get started I don’t want to stop unless I can complete the thought. Interruptions and distractions frustrate me very much.
Yet, I still want to use so many excuses to not do it. I’m in a busy season of life. I have kids at home. It snowed yesterday. Dirt from the fields is accumulating on my kitchen floor. I really should be involved in the kids activities, that way we can be active together. It is my duty and responsibility to give back. I tell myself all these things. Then there’s the big one, I guess I will get to it tomorrow.
But, the truth is that I do not know how many tomorrows I will get. None of us do. I’ve been given this incredible gift. Yes, I’m rough around the edges and I’m in need of a great editor. Yet, when I write and the response I get from it, well it’s like I feel God smiling down upon me. There are gifts and talents that God has given to each of us.
The crazy part is that He didn’t give them to us in fully finished form. There’s a process of unearthing and discovering them. There’s refining that is needed to transform raw skill into developed talent. Experience shapes and forms us and our gifts. We have to continually be giving them back to God and seeking His direction for how we should use them.
Let me stick to my example of writing. I could write a blog. I could write an article. I could write a book. I could write a prayer. I could write a card. I could write a speech. I could write a sermon. I could write a love letter. I could write a eulogy. How am I supposed to know what to write when I actually do make the time to do it?
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5
“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16.
Call to the Lord. Trust in the Lord. Ask the Lord. Lean upon His understanding and acknowledge Him. Then we will find rest for our souls. I’ve got a hunch that rest for our souls means we’ll have a peace that passing understanding about which tasks to do today and which ones really could be done tomorrow. I also think those tomorrow tasks won’t give such grief today.
I know that you have been given some absolutely amazing gifts. Perhaps you have multiple gifts in different stages of development. Maybe you’re still trying to unearth your gift today. Maybe you are finally reaping the benefits of time spent in development. Whatever the case, this is the day the Lord has made. You are in it. God is waiting for you and He knows exactly what step comes next in your gift refinement process. Turn to Him. Let Him love you in the next step.
Thank You so much for this day. Lord, thank You for the time. Help me to not waste these moments because I’m off track wandering or avoiding something that You asked me to do. Please help me to reflect You by being faithful.
Lord, some days it feels like I accomplish so very little. On those days where the progress seems small or on days where I moved backwards instead of forwards, may I just be moving with You. May I follow Your lead and trust that You know exactly where You are going and the perfect path to get there.
Thank you for my gifts. Please help me to let You refine them at Your perfect timing. May I not rush ahead, lag behind or get distracted by looking at the gifts of others. Help me to have deep gratitude for all You have entrusted to me.
In Jesus’ Holy name, amen.