Is Having It All Worth Having?

Three practices that help me focus on what matters.
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This is the key to a sustainable life. You can do many different things, but not necessarily at the same time. As Ecclesiastes tells us, there’s a season for everything under heaven. Different seasons call for more attention to specific roles or tasks in our lives. There will be times when work is extra demanding, relationships need more investing, kids require closer supervision, or ministries are more challenging. Our priorities will shift over time depending on the needs around us, perhaps even within a given week. We must let go of our compulsion to do more than we can realistically accomplish in a given amount of time. We can’t have it all—at least not all at once. The good news, though, is that God is with us through it all.

I have since adopted my daughter’s phrase “you do you.” This reminds me to focus on what God is inviting me into rather than squeezing myself into cultural expectations that feed my ego but starve my soul. So often, we overfill our schedules because we want to promote our image as women who can do it all. We wear busyness and productivity as badges of honor. Yet, contentment and peace come when we follow God’s leading and timing.

To be fully present with whatever and whomever God has put before us requires an honest assessment of our priorities and a wise allocation of our precious resources of time and attention. Make a regular practice of asking God what your priorities need to be in this season of life, this week, or even this day. Then choose to invest in endeavors that fit who you are now and who you want to be in the future.

2. Good enough is good enough.

As a recovering overachiever, I still cringe at the thought of giving less than 100 percent to something I’m working on. But for the last decade, the Holy Spirit has been working to set me free from perfectionism. I no longer define my value by what I produce. I’ve found that good enough is usually good enough. I’m continually learning to give myself grace, set realistic goals, and stop comparing myself to others.

For example, I used to criticize myself at potlucks for not cooking fantastic homemade dishes for everyone to “ooh and ahhh” over. But I usually don’t have the time, desire, or skills to pull that off. So now I bring the bag salad and that’s good enough. Last semester, I turned in a term paper for a seminary class that was at about 80 percent of my effort because it was more important to be fully present at other activities that week. Sometimes the laundry piles up for too long and dinner becomes take-out too often—and that’s okay. When we figure out what our top priorities are, we can give 100 percent to those few areas and let the others things be “good enough.” The key is figuring out what matters most and releasing the rest.

March10, 2016 at 8:00 AM

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