By BARBARA LOWNSBURY
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!
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.
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.