(Some of you know I’m writing a book. Most recently I’ve been focused on accountability. Don’t know how much will make it through final edits, but today, this is what came out of my memory and my fingertips. Note: (1) This was many YEARS ago. (2) I do NOT really talk to myself like this. That would be crazy.)
I have a collection of coffee mugs that completely fills the kitchen cabinet I’ve designated as the “coffee mug cabinet.” So far, when I get a new mug, I’ve been successful in getting rid of an old one so the coffee mug cabinet stays full, but doesn’t overflow into another one.
I also have a collection of CHRISTMAS coffee mugs that completely fills the same cabinet.
When I first started collecting coffee mugs, I didn’t pay attention to how much space they took up. I saw a coffee mug I liked and I bought it. Eventually I got to the point where all the mugs didn’t fit into the space, so I started packing up the Christmas mugs and storing them in the attic, only taking them down during the month of December.
In December, my cabinet overflowed.
Then a few years ago, I had a long overdue epiphany. When I UNpacked the Christmas mugs, I PACKED the everyday mugs in the same box and instead of putting an empty mug box back into the attic for the month of December, I put a full mug box into the attic.
There’s a lesson here. Just in time for the chaos of the Christmas season.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until I’m dead:
You CAN have it all, you just can’t have it all AT THE SAME TIME.
Choose on PURPOSE.
Everyone knows someone who’s schedule is overloaded. Someone who has said “yes” to too many things. Someone who tries to do so many things, they do none of them well. Someone who is a job hog. You may even BE one of those people.
I used to be one of those people, until I had a long, honest, humbling talk with myself:
FedUpMe: “What is your problem? WHY do you keep doing this?
FedUpMe: “WHY do you keep saying yes to everything?”
MartyrMe: “Well, they asked me. They NEED me.”
FedUpMe: “They need you. They need you? Are you sure you don’t need them to need you?”
MartyrMe: “Of course not! I’m doing all this out of the goodness of my heart. Because I’m a good person and I want to help.”
FedUpMe: “and you get nothing out of it.”
MartyrMe: “NO! Most of the time people don’t even appreciate all I do for them.”
FedUpMe: “Of course they don’t. Nobody appreciates a half-%&# job.”
MartyrMe: “I do NOT do a half-%&# job!!! I work my butt off! Look at my schedule! I don’t have ANY time for myself! EVERYthing I do is for other people. I don’t even have time to work out! I run on coffee!”
FedUpMe: “This is me you’re talking to.”
FedUpMe: “Save it. You’re not selling that load here. Look at everything you do. You don’t get anything out of it personally? How many of these things you’ve committed to come with lots of people telling you how great you are? How many times do you tell people about all the stuff you do so they’ll tell you how great you are? (mocking voice) ‘Oh, I just don’t know how you do it all!'”
MartyrMe: “I can’t just quit. There’s nobody else to do it.”
FedUpMe: “Are you really that arrogant?”
MartyrMe: “If I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done.”
FedUpMe: “Are you sure about that? Are you SURE that you’re not hogging a job someone else wants? A job someone is just WAITING for you to give up so they can have a shot at it? A job you really aren’t suited for? Are you afraid someone else might do it better? Because I’ll tell you now, they probably could. Because you do a half-%&# job.”
MartyrMe: “shut up. I do NOT do a half-%&# job. I’m doing my best.”
FedUpMe: “You did not just say that. (pregnant pause) What is your favorite Churchill quote?”
FedUpMe: “It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.”
silence. brooding. arrogant brooding.
MartyrMe: “I never liked you.”
FedUpMe: “There are a lot of people who don’t like me. And yet I’m still breathing.”
MartyrMe: “You’ve got issues. and you’re bossy.”
FedUpMe: “duh. I’m YOU.”
MartyrMe: “I can’t just quit. I’m already committed.”
FedUpMe: “Yeh, well, you’re gonna be committed if you don’t find some balance in your life. Look. Start by figuring out two things:
First, what’s important to you? What are your goals in life?
Second, what are you good at? What talents has God blessed you with and which ones are you actively developing?
Be brutally honest with yourself, but more importantly, ask other people for feedback and give them permission to tell you the truth. Then you’ll know what to let go of, what to keep in your life and what you need to improve on. If you want to do something and you aren’t very good at it, then GET good at it. Learn. Practice. And don’t forget. There are seasons for things. Just because you want to do something, doesn’t mean you have to do it NOW. You don’t have to do everything at the same time. You CAN’T do everything at the same time. Not well. Rotate your commitments.
Like Christmas coffee mugs.