In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.
This post is for all the driven people. The first-borns, the onlys, and the others God made this way. Those Type-A’s out there who go and do and worry that the day will pass them by. People like me that can hardly stand to watch TV unless they’re doing something with their hands. (Check out one of my favorite memes here.)
All in all, I like being a driven person. I like being responsible, and getting things done. I like that people can count on me to do what I say I’ll do, and do it well.
But there are drawbacks to being so driven. Like having a hard time falling asleep because you’re brain is whirling. And feeling like you’re not DONE even when time is up and the day is over.
By the time Christmas 2015 rolled around, I had almost driven myself crazy with this author-speaker-blogger ministry stuff. I felt like everything was going wrong, and in the wrong direction! Try as I might to “fix it” during every spare minute I had, I just couldn’t keep up with what I felt like I should be doing.
It’s hard that my benchmark is “doing my best for Jesus.” What’s enough then?
Well, Jesus doesn’t want us to drive ourselves crazy, that’s for sure. So I set my 2016 goal word as “Relax.” Often followed by the word “Stupid.” (If it seems weird to you to set a goal to lower your goals, you can read more about that in the original post here.)
I’ve had over three months now of purposeful “relaxing”—relaxing my standards for myself. There have been some ups and downs (relaxing my eating habits, not a good idea; relaxing and playing more with my kids, a very good idea). My main goal has been to write shorter to-do lists for each day.
This has been harder than it seems… there’s just so much I want to get done! But I’ve been leaving more and more things on my “Greater To-Do List,” that list of things that just doesn’t have to happen right now. (As it turns out, not much actually needs to happen right now.) I’ve also been more generous with my prioritizing, marking just one or two things a day that I really want to get done.
After three months, here’s what I’ve noticed:
- I’m far less stressed about what I’m accomplishing.
- I’m more satisfied with how I’m spending my time.
- I feel more aware of God’s presence.
- If I get to the end of my daily list and still have a little time, I’m choosing something off my Greater To-Do List—and it feels like a bonus!
- I am actually accomplishing about the same amount.
I still have a lot of work to go (as in, more relaxing to do). I’ve noticed that when things start to get busy, I start to write those longer lists again, even when I don’t need to! Basically, I need to make this un-goal, not just a 2016 initiative, but a way of life.
I think I can. I really do! After all, I’m pretty driven.
Take the Challenge:
If you’re a driven person, try writing very short, achievable daily to-do lists each day this week. (If you don’t think you’ll get to something, put it on a separate running to-do list.) Then circle the one or two things that really need to happen that day and relax about the rest.
If you don’t consider yourself to be a driven person, try writing a to-do list and circling the one or two things that really need to happen each day, too. And maybe find a driven person in your life (a spouse, parent, child, or friend) and give them a hug. You will bless them—and you’ll make them slow down!
“I never undertake more work than I can go through with a perfect calmness of spirit.”
Would you consider yourself someone who needs to relax? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
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