Friday, December 2, 2011

And I'm Feeling Good

I have decided that too many of my recent blog posts seem mildly depressing. That is not the intent of the blog. And so, I am changing tones. Happiness is what God intends for us, anyway.

I love this song. Also, I am beginning to love Nina Simone. She's got some sick, soulful scat skills. True story. I think there is great power in this song. Every day is a new dawn, a new life. We get to see what we can make of it. Isn't that cool?

This semester I've been learning a lot about anxiety and its triggers. One thing that often results in anxiety is having too much on our plate that we feel we have to get done. "Have to," I've learned, is a dangerous mindset. We really don't have to do anything. We have the incredible ability to make choices, and so we get to choose every single day what we want to do. It makes things an adventure in every sense of the word.

Visualize a mental list of all the things that you need to accomplish in the next week. Do it. Close your eyes and visualize it. Sometimes, it's a pretty lengthy list. Now, imagine trying to complete everything on that list today. How does that feel? Do you feel some tension? Now, think to yourself, "Oh boy! I wonder what I can do today." How does that feel. Notice a difference?

I do that drill everyday. It has helped me immensely. It's a work in progress. We cannot ever accomplish everything we want to in a day. There's only 24 hours, after all. Eight of those are spent sleeping, three or so are spent eating, at least one of those hours is spent in the bathroom. A full-time job fills up another eight hours, and lo and behold, we have twenty of our twenty-four hours filled. That went by pretty fast, didn't it?

This is not a post in praise of laziness. It is a post about priorities and decisions. Every day, I decide what the most important things for that day are going to be and I do my best to get them done. The annoyance that comes from not finishing everything motivates and causes reevaluation. Did I try to do too many things? Were they really all that important? Are there things I can eliminate? Bit by bit, the unimportant -- or at least less important -- fall away.

That's really the take home lesson for today -- learn to choose and prioritize. We can't always do everything. As much as I would like, I cannot save every child in Romania and Africa simultaneously. I cannot clone myself or be in two places at once. But I can do things one step at a time, one day at a time. Gandalf tells Frodo, "All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us." Pretty profound statement of truth. We only have so much time. Choose wisely.