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Exiting the Crazy Train


It was an ordinary day, really, albeit a pretty one.  The sun was shining bright, the world was coming back to life after the long, cold winter months.  Flowers abounded.  For me, it started off pretty typically.  Time with God—check.  Run through my scheduled appointments for the day—check.  Time with my kiddo—check.  Taxi kids to soccer—check.  Tackle those pesky emails including the nasty one I’d been mentally chewing on, grab a quick bite on the road, quickly pop into the grocery store, sneak in those quick phone calls, give attention to the person trying to chat next to me, problem-solve ministry tasks, think through an upcoming event, make my daughter feel valued after her game, meet up with friends—whoa.  Uh, check?  In that moment, it was more like check mate against me.  Many of my days look and feel a little crazy, but this one hit me differently.

I’m tired.  After running two businesses, raising 3 children, being involved in several ministries and boards, writing a book and building into 22 different relationships—all simultaneously—something hit me.  Though I had just re-structured my schedule to streamline these processes and let go of most outside responsibilities (the last two on this day actually), I had also quit doing the fun things.  I write about the importance of building into yourself. I think maintaining ourselves is hugely important!  But it’s just for this season, I reasoned. The end of the tunnel is in sight.   But here I was having to cancel on my friends because my time was once again too full, and I was TIRED of doing that, tired of losing out on what mattered most in my life.

I re-read Stephen Covey’s P/PC principle.  I have gotten too focused on Production (outcome) at the expense of Production Capability (the person/thing doing the producing, i.e. Me).  In other words, my life balance was, using the non-technical term, whacked!

For the first time in too long, I sit here and think, What is it all for?  Don’t get me wrong.  I actually love the ministry God has called me to.  My insurance business is at a very exciting point, too.  But the running, the hurrying and scurrying—why? If I become a burnt-out shell of who I was designed to be, if my responsibilities overwhelm instead of energize, if I start dropping balls because I have too many in the air, how is that good?  If by the time I get to my family and friends I have nothing left for them to give, how is that good?  The answer is obvious, of course.  But today, it hit me differently.

So this is what I’m learning.  I can’t do something for or with everybody.  Yes, I’ve always known that.  But as a pleaser by nature, it’s hard for me to let go of some perfectly good opportunities in order to more fully embrace the great ones.  I choose to let go of crazy and embrace peace.

I think of Jesus pruning the fruit tree.  He says, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the keeper of the vineyard.  My Father examines every branch in Me and cuts away those who do not bear fruit.  He leaves those bearing fruit and carefully prunes them so that they will bear more fruit” (John 15:1-2). It’s that last sentence that strikes me most.  Sometimes a gardener has to choose between two perfectly good plant branches so that one can grow strongly.  To let both grow would weaken the overall plant.  In my life, I will have to let go of some good things in order to grab a hold of the things that can be great in order to maintain my overall spiritual, mental and emotional health.

So I’m done apologizing for what I can’t do.  I’m choosing to make time for myself again without excuse, choosing to invest my talent and treasure in what is most valuable.  Some people will understand; some won’t.  Sometimes my kids won’t understand, though in the long run they will.  And that’s okay!  I’m refusing to buy into the lie that busyness and an overly full schedule are somehow good.  Most importantly, I’m inviting God into that process so He can lead me down the correct path for me.  Why?  Because His load truly is light.

FOR FURTHER THOUGHT I think of Proverbs 21:5 as I write this: “Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.”  Sometimes careful planning requires us to let go of perfectly good things in order to move forward more powerfully on the path God has marked out for us.  Is there anything in your path today that’s keeping you from more fully engaging as a parent, a partner, an employee, a friend or a ministry leader?  Prayerfully discern with God what to prune away so that not only are the great roles you are called to play kept healthy, but you are as well.

PRAYER  Lord, I know You have promised me that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light.  Sometimes I forget and think it’s all up to me, as if You needed my help somehow.  Remind me to let go of the people and things that keep me from fully embracing the path You have called me to walk.  Help me to trust that You will still provide for and take care of me once I do.  Most of all, remind me often that what You’ve called me to matters above all.  May I protect my most sacred relationships, especially my relationship with You, because I know that is what I will carry with me into the next life.  Thank You for Your patience and guidance as I find my way.  I love You Lord.  Amen.   

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