Do you ever feel overwhelmed? I know that in my life I choose difficult projects over and over. I have the propensity to create VERY LARGE projects in my life. I am pretty sure it is the way that I am hardwired. I do things like start churches, companies and the like, instead of working for someone else. Because of this gnarly fact I find myself more often than not getting OVERWHELMED.
Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed? I can even point to daily times in my life in which the house becomes hijacked by our three children and I can feel that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach warning you, “You better run buddy, because things are getting out of control”. Do you have things in your life that overwhelm you? I know that I do.
The question becomes what do we DO when we get overwhelmed? Are you a jump in with both feet and “getterdone” kind of guy or are you like me? I tend to be the old “deer in the headlights” kind of guy. As you can imagine, when you are in the middle of very large projects becoming a frozen garden gnome is not the most productive choice, yet that is my default mode.
What I am reminded of is that we can only do what we can do. There is a certain aspect of life that this in our control and the rest is up to God. This is where our belief structure becomes so crucial.
Let me give you an example. Proverbs 6:6 says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard. Observe his ways and become wise”. I was reading a blog by Donald Miller where he was telling a story about a guy that had his dissertation due for his PhD. As you can imagine, this is a big project and he did not know where to start, so he went and played golf…I mean a lot of golf. As his deadline for completion came closer he started feeling the stress. One of his friends told him of Proverbs 6:6 and then promptly purchased him an ant farm.
As he observed the ants, he didn’t notice anything unusual at first. The ants simply carried a grain of sand around from one area to another area so he went back to playing golf. A few weeks later he revisited his little farm of ants and was astonished at what he saw. The ants had transformed their environment into elaborate tunnels and architecture. They had completely transformed their environment one grain of sand at a time.
Next, lets understand what it means to be a sluggard. A sluggard is not someone that is lazy but rather it means “someone that is afraid”. It is the fear of what needs to be done that paralyzes most people (including me). In this fear we either do weird things that do not help the situation or even worse we do nothing.
In this proverb God is trying to tell us that we need to only do what we can do TODAY. Stop trying to control the entire outcome of what is going on in you life and focus on what can be done today. Sometimes that means that we need to come up with a strategy for our projects or it may mean that the strategy is in place and that we need to start doing simple little things that over time will transform our projects and lives, much like the ants. One grain of sand at a time and our lives, environments and projects become completely transformed.
Some of us are not overwhelmed by our “projects” but we are overwhelmed by our relationships. Things have somehow gone way off track and we feel inside that we cannot get things pulled back around. There seems to be too much water under the bridge to make our marriage work so we do nothing or even worse we try and control the outcome (which translates in trying to control others). Jesus NEVER tried to control others. He trusted the process and he only did what he could do today. Jesus said, “I can only do what I see the Father doing”.
So, if this is you then you need to back up and work at your relationships like an ant. Do small things today that create intimacy and trust with your partner. You may not see much today, tomorrow or even a month from now but eventually the landscape of your relationship will eventually become completely transformed.
Some of us need to try and not be sluggards. The question for us needs to be what do we need to do today? What are we procrastinating in our lives that needs to be done today? Does the fear of the enormity of life seem to paralyze you? If so, just remember that we can only do what we can do and the rest is up to God BUT remember to do what you can do today!
Here is a helpful tip that can transform you from the sluggard to the ant. Make your daily “to do” list. Once you have everything on it that you need to knock out for the day then pick the 3-5 things that you dislike the most and move them to the top of the list. By making them your priority and finishing them early in the day you will not have that stress lingering over you. The rest of the day should have less stress and you will feel better about yourself. Think of this as you loving yourself or caring for yourself. By getting the junk out of the way you can truly have peace of mind.
Till next time,