Doing the Right Thing(s): Part 2

A friend and I were discussing priorities recently. I told her I'd like help with a sewing project, among other things; she said she'd like help fitting exercise into her routine. Whereas she already puts feeding her family good, wholesome, well-planned-out meals at the top of her priority list, I justify putting personal exercise at the top of mine, rationalizing it with thoughts like, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" and exercise makes me happy....and keeps me healthy and energetic and fit, which in turn makes Kurt happy and it gives me the stamina to keep up with five monsters kids.....But still, I have to admit, it does seem a wee bit selfish if you are on the outside looking in. I am pretty sure healthy meals for the seven of us should come first! (Especially over random sewing projects!)

I am envious of my friend's ability to sit down and plan out her meals for the entire week or month. And I am not talking just dinner. She has breakfasts and lunches mapped out as well. And they're wholesome, heathy, "from scratch" meals every morning, noon and night! Her organization skills so surpass my meager efforts, it's downright humbling. When I sit down to try to "plan" a week's worth of meals, I get stuck on the logistics, bogged down by the details. I start to drown in the panic of having to stick with a plan in the first place. My mind starts tricking me with the "what ifs" (what if I want to be spontaneous, what if I get a craving for something else, what if I fall off the wagon, what if the store is out of asparagus on day 3, what if I choose the wrong thing, what if.....Argh!) And because I am afraid of stumbling (or maybe because I am too busy or preoccupied to think about it) I give up the process altogether. Great role-modeling, huh?

As our discussion continued, we spoke about how we all prioritize our lives by our own choosing. While she finds it essential in her day-to-day life to have that meal plan, my workout schedule is actually of utmost importance. Without exercise, I start getting jittery and then grouchy and impatient and then downright unpleasant. It starts to interfere with my relationships: with myself, with my family, even with the food I choose to eat. Seriously. Exercise is way up on top of my list for a reason and it isn't just vanity! But in order for it to be there, I have to make choices about what won't be there. And that's where things get a little screwy sometimes because my instincts (hyped up on a dose of society) are yelling from the sidelines that I can do it all if I just move faster, dig deeper, give it my everything. That when another family needs a music teacher I can somehow find more time in the day to fit them in. That when another volunteer position opens, when the church needs something, when a friend is struggling, I can be the one to show up. And so I should.


Really, this rationale is just crazy. No one can do it all. Working faster is not always the answer. (Just take another look at our dinner plates!) No one can fix everything nor be everything to everyone and if we try, we put our own lives out of balance. Add more students? Sure, at the risk of neglecting my own kids. Fill another position at church or in the community? Even God would probably frown down on that one currently. Making hard choices? Becoming more intentional? Now we're talking!

Do you ever find things getting out of balance? Do you try to do it all? Is prioritizing difficult, mainly because you forgot how to say no? Do you move from one thing to the next at the speed of light? Are things getting jumbled and broken? (Maybe that brokenness isn't in your plates and knives. Maybe it is hiding in your relationships. Maybe it shows up in clutter or disorganization. Maybe it rears its face in a chronic health issue that needs addressing.....in weight gain, stress, depression, loneliness, dependency, forgetfulness. The list is never ending....)

Doing the right thing(s) involves making hard choices. Choices that say, "Yes, I could do that; yes, I could help; yes, I could but no, I can't do that right now without sacrificing something of importance." 

Think about it, what are you sacrificing right now? And for what?

(Ok, I just have to stop here and say, I do know a handful of people whose lives seem so perfectly balanced that they really don't need to read on. But, then again, sometimes these things creep up on us when we least expect it. Maybe we all need a good reminder!)

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