“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
~John Lubbock, The Use Of Life~
Most of us have “those days”, the ones where we don’t know what to do with ourselves. Our home is in chaos and clutter around us or our work tasks are piling up and we feel overwhelmed or even paralyzed. In that moment, we often don’t have any motivation to make progress so that things can feel better. Instead we go and do something mindless or a chore that feels less scary than tackling the job. By the time we emerge from our numbing, we can feel pretty guilty about the avoidance and it can affect us a lot emotionally, as well as mentally. Sometimes I have even called myself names, the main one being “lazy”. After all, what...
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
~Galatians 1:10 (ESV)~
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.”
If I could advise you about one thing in life, it is this: do the things you need to do so that you can do the things you want to do. This sounds simple, but sometimes the things that have to get done take over the day and the important but non-urgent things fall by the wayside, pushed to the back of the agenda even though they would greatly benefit our businesses or lives. There’s nothing inherently wrong with things being urgent; it just means they have some kind of deadline. The problem comes when we assume that because things are urgent, they are the most important.
“Everything I have ever let go of has claw marks on it. Everything.”
~ David Foster Wallace ~
I resonate with this sentiment of this quote. It is hard and often painful to let go. As people, we tend to hold onto things. However, claw marks would indicate that someone is yanking something away from you. It isn’t really like that, is it? We have free will. We choose whether to hold on to things or to let them go. We each have the power to lay something down at the foot of the cross and walk away. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it is our choice.
I didn’t always think about things that way. Sometimes wisdom comes from the most unexpected of places. About five years ago, I was at my friend Robin’s house at a barbecue. She had been trying to quit smoking for a while and the habit kept drawing her back in. She and our pastor were having a conversation and I caught...
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
~ Stephen R. Covey ~
"But all things should be done decently and in order."
~1 Corinthians 14:40 (ESV) ~
As we continue to put our priorities in order, we find tasks that feel urgent, but are not the most important. These can feel tricky to deal with, but the best way to manage them is to carve out specific times to do those things, and leave them in those slots, rather than letting them bleed into other parts of life. I firmly believe processing email is one of those things. It is important to sort and answer it, but let’s not let it take over our day. Keep in mind as you make changes and work out your own best way to do this, you don’t have to be perfect. Do your best and make progress. Here are some insights I’ve gained to get you started.
A Zero Inbox is Not the Goal
”Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.”
Let’s play a word association game. I say a word, and you notice the first word or words that come to mind.
You might have thought, bed, sleep, nap, or something in that family. These all have something to do with letting your body take a break or lying down. In a way, that’s what I want to share about today, but the focus is giving your mind and emotions a break, not just your body. As entrepreneurs, we tend to push ourselves pretty hard. We often work long or strange hours, and things may be a little more disorganized or messy as a result. I know for myself, I work and play and rest very differently when things are tidy than when they are messy. I am able to be at rest better when things are in their places and there...
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.”
~Psalm 138:8 (ESV)~
I never thought of myself as a super productive person. My life often felt a little chaotic. However, people were always asking me how I managed to accomplish all of the things that I do —I am the vice-chair and treasurer at my church, I lead the tech team there, I have three kids who are all teenagers, I run a business, I prioritize connection with friends, I love to travel, and so on. It wasn’t until I was taking part in a Life-Focus workshop as part of my coaching certification that I realized that God had been speaking to me about my purpose for many years, through what I was passionate about and did naturally. I was answering some of the same questions that are included at the end of this post. After I reflected on my past, I had clarity on two things: One, I...
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.”
~Hebrews 4:9-10 (NIV)~
In stressful times where everything has turned upside down and we are struggling to find our bearings, it is important to be compassionate—not just to each other but to ourselves. Some of us may be working at the pace or quality that we were before, and some of us may be struggling. It can be hard to know what to do with that shift and change. Brené Brown, one of my favorite thinkers and writers, said something intriguing that I think could change everything, if we let it. The idea is that if you believe that people are doing the best that they can at any given time, you will have a much more positive outlook than those who believe that people are not doing the best that they can. So let me ask you this: whether you are doing great...
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
~Psalm 16:9 (NIV)~
Once you begin understanding your purpose and why you do what you do, your priorities will start to make more sense—and things that shouldn’t be important will start to fall away. What if I told you that you could do all the things that were important to you? I promise it’s not a trick. Your first response might sound something like, “I don’t have enough time”. That seems like a reasonable answer and may even feel true. However, the truth is that we all have the same amount of time. The key is to ask ourselves if the task or demand we are considering aligns with our why, if we want to make it a priority at this time. That way, we can make intentional decisions about what to say yes and no to—and not have to feel guilty either way. Let this be an encouragement. We have the time; we just have to...
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
~Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)~
Vision. Purpose. Calling. We use these words both in faith and business, although not always with intention. They have a certain energy to them, a sense of momentum if you will. However, if most of us were asked what our purpose was on the spot right now, we might have a hard time answering. If we are work and action-oriented, we turn to our careers for a response.. Or perhaps if we are more focused on the people side of things, we talk about the value we add to their families or other loved ones. While not bad places to start, we miss the larger scope if we stop there. Our purpose is about why we do what we do, and that is more complicated than just work or relationships.
I was in the middle of my master’s degree in Practical Theology when I...