Sunday, December 23, 2012

When good things are not really good...

Caution:  I'm not entirely confident I'll be able to get my thoughts out in a coherent manner, so please, I'm asking for patience and grace.

I am considered by many to be busy - with friends, social events, committees and general life (work should be included here, being that it takes up approximately 40 hours + an extra 9 hours in traffic each week).

Every so often I have these "light bulb" moments. These moments have led to a variety of (good) things over the years - Happy Tuesdays, Proverbs 31 Prayer Project, Priceless Hamilton, mentorship opportunities and a few pretty awesome social events. Some have fallen aside (probably some I don't even remember) and others are going strong, whereas others are faltering. Some are meant for a time and that's okay, others are more permanent. Sometimes the ones I think that need to be permanent, ought to be shelved.

And other times, those "light bulb" moments should remain just that - moments. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with creative thoughts, in fact I think creating and dreaming ought to be encouraged.  What I have learned though, is that not every thought or dream needs to be carried through to fruition.

I find that I have become so busy by new thoughts, that I don't always carry through on long-ago established commitments or I may let friendships that need nurturing, fall to the side. I call this my "ooh shiny!" gene. I tend to get caught up in new and exciting endeavours and forget about nourishing what God has already placed in my life - be it relationships or commitments.

I have a quote on my fridge which reads (in German):

Ein Leben ist wie eine Blume. Man muss es hegen und pflegen, damit es nicht in Vergessenheit geraet und verwelkt.

Which, roughly translated means:

A life is like a flower. Man must take care of it, so that it does not wilt and die because it was forgotten.

I sometimes find it much easier to find a new task, rather than finish an old one. I remember that as a kid (and I'm sure my mom does too!), I would start half a dozen different craft projects and they would all end in various stages of completion, and be left around the house to annoy my dad. Not intentionally of course, it was just the way I was.

And still am!

I look around my apartment and there's the vacuum cleaner - in the main hall, the stairs, laundry room and foyer have been vacuumed, the rest? Nope. I'll get to it. My desk is covered in papers which need attention - bills, cards, addresses to update my address book, you name it, it's in a pile there, somewhere. Even my kitchen looks ridiculous - I have some washed dishes that made it back into the cupboards, others that made it to the table and need to be put away (but needed to be moved out of the dish rack to make room), some in the dish rack, and others sitting and waiting to be washed. I'm one person - there really is no need for this. It's not that it's messy per se, it's just that I get distracted.

Heck, I'm writing a blog instead of doing dishes ... :S

Anyways, the whole point of that preamble is to get to the title of this post, "when good things are not really good..." How often do we (I) fill our lives with "good" things, that are really detrimental to ourselves, or our loved ones? Yesterday I had another "light bulb" moment which I was ready to implement right away, when another thought entered my mind - and resulted in this blog post. The thought was a good one, it was going to be an encouragement to others, it was a "random acts of kindness" idea and I was excited about all the people I could bless. And then I remembered all the people who write me letters, call me, take care of me, and how I never seem to have time for them. My friend Brianna is amazing at writing letters - and I think in the year and a half since her and Peter have lived in England I might have written her one letter. One. That makes me not just sad, but disappointed in myself. Why am I thinking about ways of blessing others, when I have my own friends for whom it might seem that I don't even have time for them?

I have a friend, Dawn, who asks me questions that really challenge my thinking, who causes me to question my actions and to reevaluate what I'm doing with the time God has given me. I'm thankful for her, because she is not shy about asking me the questions that will challenge me and potentially cause a redirect (likely a much needed one!) in my life.

Little by little I'm learning how to say no, when to just sit and relax (and when to step away from facebook and do something productive!) and the freedom that comes in not trying to please everyone that crosses my path. Just last week I was at a board meeting and was asked if I would allow my name to stand for nomination and I said "I can't give you an answer right now, I need to pray about it". My heart leapt for joy a bit when I said that, even though my palms were sweating and all I could think of "but if I don't, who will??" (yes, I have that "I need to save the world" mentality sometimes ... most times)

But now comes the hard(er) part. The part where I need to actually pray about the things I said I would, to not get distracted by the new and shiny things of this world, to remain committed to those tasks that I have been given and to invest in the friendships that mean the most to me. The last statement is the hardest for me, because by investing in those friendships that "mean the most", it means I may offend some people by not dropping everything to spend time with them or eventually letting some friendships become memories.

To be an effective servant of Jesus Christ, I believe I must give Him my best - that means I may have to cut back on social events so that I'm not doing devotions at 12am when I come home from being away from the house for 17 hours and just want to crawl into bed. Jesus deserves the best and He knows if I'm cheating him, and so do I.


  1. I'm pretty sure I wrote some parts of this post. Or at least, I sure could have written them!
    Witness my 'pile' complex - piles of stuff that needs to be sorted, all over the house. I'm sitting here on the couch in my housecoat, though I'm also wanting to make the bed, start the laundry, fix breakfast, tidy up, find new homes for the new gifts, etc, etc, etc. My goodness. I fully sympathize with your post! <3 love you.

  2. Hmm, reading this post I had to laugh a few times... as your 'little sister' I really actually am a lot like you. Those "oh shiny" moments are oh so frequent in my day and week. My greatest dream in life is centered around just being able to DO and help others... but is that really what is most important (I know it isnt :S).
    Thanks for all the ways that you challenge me. I know that friendships take a lot of work to keep at, and I pray that God will help us both to keep committed... "As iron sharpens iron" I pray that He will help us to both ask each other the hard challenging questions, and to follow up on accountability with each other.
    And the desire to be a superhero and save everyone... yep I am guilty of that too. But hey that is why we have a Savior who actually CAN make a difference in the whole world and IS able to care for everyone... He just uses us bit by bit to make a difference in other's lives, in the name of Christ