Taking a Sharpie to Your List

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No offense, but I'm crossing your name off my list with a big black Sharpie.

I'm not crossing you out of my life–just off my list.

It's not crossing you off because you're unimportant or because I don't care or because I don't think you're cool.

Blackening your name off isn't easy for me, but I've got to do it.

It's not you; it's me.

And I'm not superwoman.

Sorry, but I've got to do this?

Screech? (Sound of Sharpie on paper.)

This one-sided dialogue was repeated in various forms in my mind throughout a revolutionary hour I spent with a blue index card, a pencil, and a big, bad, black Sharpie.

Before that hour, my life looked a bit like this:

There were the various groups I was already a part of: a book club, a ministry group, a home group, a Sunday-school-class group, and a few various committees peppered in here and there. Then there were the groups I felt interested in joining or guilty about not participating in or somewhat pressured to be a part of: Wednesday morning women's Bible study, a mentoring program at church, three more committees and ministry groups at church, and various parent volunteer groups at my kids' schools.

There were also all sorts of various relationships I was trying to maintain: "outreach" relationships with neighbors, relatives, friends, international students, and a regular Jehovah's Witness door-to-door visitor. Then of course there were the close friends who live far away in Portland and Boulder and Istanbul and Grand Rapids and Chicago. Then there were the Christian friends who are close by, from my present church, from my old church, from MOPS, from book club, from here, there, and everywhere. Then of course my family: my husband, my son, my daughter, my sister, my brother, my sisters- and brothers-in-law, my nieces, my parents, my parents-in-law, my aunts and uncles, and my fabulous 17-year-old cousin. Oh, and there were the people I'm trying to invest in and encourage, like the newlywed couple we go on double-dates with, the single mom I'm encouraging, the new Christian I studied the Bible with at Starbucks on occasional Friday mornings, the mom-friends who I swapped parenting advice with and, well, trust me, I could go on and on.

And along with groups and relationships, there were spiritual growth habits, exercise goals, personal aspirations, various other neglected hobbies, work commitments, and household tasks. I felt like Bilbo Baggins when he told Gandalf, "I feel...thin. Sort of stretched, like...butter scraped over too much bread."

December 19, 2008 at 9:21 PM

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