The Problem

 

The problem is not the problem (1)

Thank you, Good Earth Tea, for this reminder from Captain Jack Sparrow.

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What If …

What if …

What if God is my Father?

What if He loves me unconditionally?

What if He, being my Father, died to take the full consequences of my own rebellion?

What if He gives Himself to me constantly?

What if He listens to and answers every prayer of mine?

What if He gives me my own children?

whatif

What kind of mother am I now?

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Repeat After Me: NO

You and I could enjoy lasting relief from the overwhelming guilt and frustration of our todo lists. That’s right, it is possible to achieve freedom from the tyranny of The List.

You control The List. Never let it control you.

Easier said than done, right?

Today’s advice is the most difficult for me to follow. But gaining mastery over this one little word means the difference between a successful life and a slow, painful death.

I just can't this time. I'm sorry

The truth is, we all want to say, “Yes.” We want to be the hero. We like to think of ourselves as responsible. And we pride ourselves on our work ethic.

BUT the reality of the matter is different. We can’t save everyone. We are not always responsible for the situation. And we have a limited supply of blood, sweat, and tears.

But tell me if you can relate to this story:

You have a packed schedule of family commitments, little league sports, school activities, work, and church ministry. Someone calls you up one week and asks if you would cook a meal for a new mother. In spite of the fact that your youngest kept you up all night with the flu, the car broke down again, and your daughter needs help on her science project, you stifle a sigh and say, “Sure.” Then you find yourself up after midnight again, putting together a casserole for someone else (your own family had pizza delivered again), crying in anger and frustration because you are too exhausted and too stressed and too guilty.

If you haven’t had that happen, then this post is just for me. But it happened too many times to count before I learned one simple phrase:

I just can’t this time. I’m sorry.

No excuses. No reasons. No maybe’s. No guilt. Just … no.

I’m not talking about being lazy or unhelpful or selfish. But I am encouraging you, if you find yourself in that frustrated place too often, to put your courage to the sticking place and just say no. It gets easier each time, I promise.

Because a magical thing will happen. When you give yourself the time, space, and sleep to get your own stuff back under control — a reasonable handle on the housework, the schooling, the children, the marriage, the finances — you suddenly will find your margin again. And maybe a few “yes’s” will sneak in there, you find yourself serving again with a smile, and suddenly there is Joy in Serving Jesus again.

It all starts with saying no so you can say yes.

Here’s my challenge to you, friend. Take a deep breath this week and say this sentence to someone:

I just can’t this time. I’m sorry.

Then walk away and get back to your life. With a smile.

Did you do it? How did it go?

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Who Would Have Believed It?

Who would have believed that our entire

I recommend The Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-li Jiang.

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Just Quit (and Get More Done)

I’m still walking toward the promised land of freedom from slavery to The List. Last week I told you my strategy to just do the quick things right away to keep them from even getting on that nasty list in the first place.

But still, The List grows! And then there is only one thing to do:

quit

Be a Quitter.

Don’t pass out, I’m not suggesting you become a lazy bum and shirk all responsibilities.

BUT, if you are a chronic over-achiever [or at least over-commit-er], then this is a vital part of recovery:

Quit things.

Quit the non-essentials.

Quit the extras.

Quit the things that don’t “count.”

Quit the project hanging over your head/

Quit the long book that is really boring, and you wish you hadn’t bought it in the first place.

Quit the baking.

Quit the curriculum that isn’t working.

Quit the job you hate that is costing you more in childcare and gas than you make each month.

Quit carrying the albatross around your neck.

Because when you quit the meaningless, you will excel in what matters.

I have followed this advice.

I quit a college course that didn’t challenge or profit me and invested my time in job training.

I quit baking and enjoy patronizing gourmet bakeries instead.

I quit teaching music to pursue my web publishing passions.

I quit nursing relationships with critical people and relaxed with meaningful, uplifting friends.

Quitting is hard. It takes courage, determination, and discipline to determine what should be quit, how to quit, and what to do with the void.

But you can do it, and you probably should do it today.

What are you quitting?

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