We’re halfway through the year, and you’re feeling behind. I know. I feel it too – the angst of having our hope of peace and balance precariously hanging on by a thread, as the overwhelming weight of responsibility threatens to take us under. I swear there have been days this year that I’ve had to take a deep breath, and say to myself … keep it simple, sister.
Just saying it calms my anxious spirit, reminding me that while God designed our lives as complex, His plan for how we will achieve all He has in store for us is decidedly uncomplicated. All the angst we feel over what may be and might happen, or the stress we experience over what we’re not getting done and can’t control – all of that is garbage we brought to the table, and it’s our responsibility to take out the trash.
I learned this as I was seeking God’s direction at the end of 2014. As usual, by December I was bone weary. Over the past 12 months I’d launched an online television show, released a new product line, and doubled web traffic, all while running my consulting business. All things I was super thrilled about, even as I harbored a bit of disappointment. You see in addition to all the wonderful things I’d accomplished, I had also tried to finish my first book, along with several other projects, but those I wasn’t able to check off my list.
I was just like many of you. Starting each day with a list of 15 things to get done, and ending with about 10 I’d have to transfer to the next. It’s a crazy cycle, that when we step back and think about, we realize is flawed in its design and can lead to nothing but frustration. Only we don’t stop and think about it, because we’ve done it so long we’ve normalized our deviance. We can’t see that by over scheduling we are the ones setting our selves up for frustration, failure and self-judgment.
But that December, as I was asking God what He had in store for me in 2015, the Spirit led me to a new way of living, as over and over the only message I heard was “keep it simple.” Stop running around like a lunatic, trying to do everything all at once. Just work on what’s in front of you, with what you have, today. I’ve got tomorrow.
Umm…what? They didn’t cover this in business school. I have to plan, forecast, watch trends, think big, and work hard. I have to “make it happen.” That’s when honest to goodness – I think God chuckled. No you don’t. You can’t. Your job is to work where I have planted you, with what I have given you, in the time that you have. My job is to make it happen. I don’t need you to do my job and yours.
Well, okay then. I thought to myself, this is going to be interesting. May not get much done, but I’ll give it a try. No new projects, no resolutions, and no goals – just a singular focus on being present each day to see what God has for me to accomplish, learn or observe.
Each day I’d wake up and ask, God what’s on your agenda? Wherever the spirit lead is where I worked. Some days, I was with clients, and I focused my whole self there. Other days, I was pulled to the computer to write. There were also times when a person would be on my mind so strongly that I would stop and seek them out, placing all my energy on hearing and seeing to their needs. Were there days I would doubt if I was getting enough done? You bet! But every time my stress level would try to ratchet up I’d hear my little refrain…just keep it simple.
By the halfway point of the year I realized I was having the most fruitful year I’d had in probably the last decade – and doing it without driving myself to exhaustion. Yes, I was still working hard, but because I was on His plan and not my own, I wasn’t wasting energy. It was such a beautiful experience, watching and waiting for the plans for my life to unfold, versus trying to push my way down a path on my own timeline and agenda.
So many remarkable things happened, including finishing the book. The one I had been so frustrated over the year before, in God’s time, flowed through me like a bubbling brook. I’m telling you life is so much sweeter when we learn to chill out, and trust God to bring forth greatness.
But of course that’s easier said than done. So as I started 2016 I once again had checklists a mile long. One day as I was making a list of all the things I didn’t have and hadn’t thought about, God tapped me on the shoulder. Remember what I told you last year? Let’s try that again. Look around … what can you do with what you have today? Go do that, and be at ease. I got you, and it’s all good.
I know God may not talk to you like that, but you see, he knows I’m hardheaded, and sometimes hard of hearing. In the middle of trying to be my best self, some of my worst habits appear. That’s why every now and again He lovingly reminds me that he’s aware of the circumstances, and has everything under control.
So for anyone who is a little like me, feeling behind before you get started, try to remember God is in control. Ask him what he wants you to do each day, and then focus your energy on where he directs. Remember – Our job is to do what we can, with what we have, in the time He’s given us. He will make it happen, in His timing.
Keep it simple sister, and be at ease. God’s got our back, front, and both sides covered!
Hugs and Love ❤