Yesterday I read a thought-provoking post called “What We Give Up.” The author, Rachelle Gardner, is a literary agent. In her post, she listed many of the things she cannot do—or rather, chooses not to do—in order to make time for her passion, which is writing.
Number three on her list is “I don’t separate the whites from the colors.” I am so perplexed. Is this even an option in Laundry Law? What happens to the whites? I’m seriously asking. I need someone to enlighten me here.
Anyway, this got me thinking. In the area of balance, I learned long ago I simply cannot do it all or be it all, ever. I’ve tried and it just doesn’t work. If I want to be a godly wife/mother/writer, not to mention somewhat physically fit, something’s gotta go.
Yes, even good things.
Yes, even things my friends do.
Yes, even things I enjoy.
At least for now.
It changes from time to time, the things I can and can’t do. But living a life of balance always takes prayerful sacrifice. It means saying “no” a lot, even to myself. It means not having the prettiest flowerbeds or the cleanest floors. It often means being misunderstood and unintentionally hurting feelings. It means keeping my eyes fixed on God, rather than looking around at what my peers are doing. It means letting it roll off my back when someone doesn’t like or doesn’t understand how I choose to spend my time. It means disciplining myself to forgo some good things now so I can have better things later.
Here are 30 things I’d like to do if I had more time, but prayerfully neglect for this season:
1. I don’t clip coupons.
2. I don’t go to multiple grocery stores, looking for the best deal on organic milk.
3. I don’t pull the weeds.
4. I don’t deep clean my house (thank you, Jesus, for Molly Maids).
5. I don’t scrapbook.
6. I don’t keep a written budget.
7. I don’t belong to the neighborhood women’s club or the Bunco group.
8. I don’t volunteer to be room mom, book fair coordinator or organizer of the PTO hospitality committee.
9. I don’t attend women’s ministry events at church unless I’m speaking.
10. I don’t attend Wednesday night classes at my church unless I’m teaching.
11. I don’t talk on the phone.
12. I don’t watch television unless the words “American” and “Idol” appear in the title.
13. I don’t shop unless I need something.
14. I don’t grow my own herbs or vegetables.
15. I don’t vacuum under the furniture.
16. I don’t sing on the worship team.
17. I don’t take my kids to serve at the homeless shelter.
18. I don’t exercise longer than 30 minutes on most days.
19. I don’t attend jewelry parties.
20. I don’t read fiction.
21. I don’t sew or alter any item of clothing by hand.
22. I don’t send hand-written letters.
23. I don’t iron my husband’s clothes.
24. I don’t read the paper or watch the news.
25. I don’t cook from scratch every night.
26. I don’t sleep past 5:30 am during the week.
27. I don’t Twitter or Skype.
28. I don’t take classes to get my personal trainer certification.
29. I don’t look at catalogues.
30. I don’t file the mound of paper (aka the “hyperventilation pile”) on the desk.
To be honest, that was a little hard for me write, and even harder for me to read. My heart aches a little to do each and every one of those things. But my heart aches even more to be in the center of God’s will for my life today. To hear God speak today. To be conformed to His image today.
What’s on your list? What do you prayerfully neglect in order to stay focused and balanced?