Sunday, January 17, 2010

The To "NOT" Do List

We're in the middle of a new series at church called Stuck, which is discussing the fact that many people are stuck in a rut & feel there is no way out. There are three categories in life that you may find yourself: The Dream Zone, The Drained Zone & The Danger Zone. God, of course, wants to find all of us living within the Dream Zone where you have a passion for Jesus & life. Unfortunately the majority of people fall within the Drained Zone; myself included.

Jesus died for our sins to give us a chance at a FULL life. Instead, so many of us are going through the motions each day, feeling frustrated, drained & stressed, only to wake up the next morning & repeat the same, negative actions all over again. We lie to ourselves when we say, "things will eventually slow down." Because if we continue doing exactly what we've always done, how will our lives change? How will things slow down?

We say yes to so many commitments & obligations & stretch ourselves so thin because we're afraid of letting people down. I know I'm guilty of living in fear of what people will think of me if I say no to a request, if I don't stay late at work when it's expected of me. We fill our days to the brim & feel that this whirlwind of activity equates to a meaningful life. We're never without our cellphones or computers; we're always available for calls, e-mails & text messages. We're pulled in so many directions that the days, weeks & months can pass & your thoughts get so distorted because you haven't had the chance to take a deep breath & actually enjoy life.

Instead of just saying, "things will eventually calm down... after Christmas, after the project is wrapped up at work," etc, we need to get our priorities straight. And what should our priorities be?

1) Our relationship with God. Taking time for prayer, reading the Bible, going to church; whatever it is you have to do to strengthen your relationship with God.

2) Your relationship with your spouse. When you're busy & not giving your marriage enough care & attention, things can slowly fall apart before you even realized there was a problem. We come home from work with so much to do around the house, dinners to be made, children to be bathed & put to bed that by the time we do have a second of downtime, we're too tired to put forth the effort to reconnect with our spouses.

3) Our children. This can be a tough one to wrap your head around since many parents feel guilty if their children aren't the #1 priority. I know that I guilt myself into thinking that I'm never doing enough as a parent. But, when you let your relationship with God & your spouse fall to the wayside, you'll never be the best parent you can be.

4) Our purpose/careers. It can be very difficult to put this last since we spend so much time each week at work. It's easy to get wrapped up in work, especially when the economy is in a bad spot & we're thankful to even have a job.

I for one know that I need to shift my priorities & give more of myself to God, to Mike & to Cameron, instead of coming home from work haggard & stressed with my mind so full that I can't see reality clearly. It's okay to say no to commitments in order to have that extra breathing room. Yes, you may let someone down, but in the grand scheme of things, it will make you a better person; the person that God put you on this Earth to be.

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