Can I do it all?
The answer is sadly, “no.” No, I can’t do it all. Even with a good night’s sleep, multiple shots of espresso and a carefully mapped out schedule and to-do list, the answer is still sadly, “NO.”
Last week, I dropped a ball, and a rather large one at that. I had met with the right people, had the right conversations, took the right notes, and then completely forgot about it. And when the deadline approached (because unfortunately those pesky creatures have a way of finding us) I was underprepared. Thankfully, I am a part of a gracious team, and they rallied to get accomplished what I could not.
I couldn’t stop thinking about this work fumble of mine for the entire weekend. It just kept getting under my skin. I don’t do this sort of thing. I don’t just forget things like this. I’m a very responsible human being. How did this happen?
But underneath the surface of my self-irritation lay hidden a truth I had been avoiding for quite some time. I like to imagine myself as some sort of real-life Wonder Woman; when in fact, I’m just a woman- a woman with no superhuman strength, no superhuman speed, and no super cool lasso. I am capable of great things: of solving problems yet to be solved, influencing culture for the better, bringing out the best in those around me, daring to pioneer progress and blaze trails. BUT I’m also a woman who needs a decent night’s sleep and time to laugh with her girlfriends and time to read a good book and time to be still in the presence of God.
I am woman; hear me roar… sure. Absolutely. But also, I am woman who every now and again just needs to snore.
It’s humbling to admit, especially in the day and age we live in. We are immersed in a culture that prides itself in busyness. We are told that if we aren’t stressed then we must be missing something; if our schedules aren’t jammed-packed then we must be boring; if we aren’t constantly on our phones then we must be out of touch. If we want our life to have meaning, then we must keep checking emails and posting new social media highlight reels and saying ‘yes’ to everything that comes our way and continually consuming more and more and more.
But, “Why?” I mean, “says who?” Just because this is the world we live in doesn’t mean it’s the world as it should be. Maybe we are missing something. Maybe we need a different approach if we are going to live life to the full and not life dangerously close to empty.
Jesus offers us “life and life to the full” (John 10:10). But He offers it on His terms. Jesus worked hard. Just read the Gospels and you’ll discover that in 3 years of ministry Jesus knew how to get the job done! And if you think about it, His mission was the greatest anyone could ever have. Saving the world is a pretty ambitious assignment. If anyone would have permission to live exhausted and stressed and overwhelmed by the weight of responsibility, it would have been Jesus.
And yet, not only did Jesus fulfill His assignment, but He did is with complete peace. And that same peace in which He fulfilled the will of our Heavenly Father is available to each of us.
No losing it.
No stress-related illnesses.
No loss of sleep.
No ongoing exhaustion.
No burning out.
I want peace. I want peace in the emails and in the meetings and in the responsibilities and in the errands and in the everyday moments that can easily give room for anxiety and frustration.
I want what Jesus has… which means I must seek to live like Jesus lived.
Have you ever noticed how fully present Jesus was for those around Him? He wasn’t busy multitasking when speaking to the multitudes or wondering about the next day’s work while in the middle of healing the sick. He was present for the people around Him. He saw people. He listened to them. He shared meals with them and conversed with them and stayed in their homes and took time to explain deep spiritual truths in a way that people could understand and apply. He was present. He was present for people, fully invested in the moment He was living.
What would it look like to simply choose to be present? What if we put the phone down at the dinner table? What if we abandoned the unsuccessful practice of multi-tasking to fully engage in the moment at hand? What if we observed environments instead of racing through them? What if we intentionally gave our undivided attention to the person speaking to us, with a deep desire to learn and connect and grow?
Peace is reserved for those willing to be fully engaged in the moment. When we quit rehashing yesterday’s shortcomings and worrying about tomorrow’s possible mishaps, we regain the emotional and mental capacity to be present to both the people around us and the Holy Spirit at work within us. And present people are peaceful people.
Jesus was relentlessly driven while peacefully present. That sounds so strange, doesn’t it? How can one be both driven and peaceful? Those attributes don’t exactly go hand-in-hand. And yet Jesus embodied both these qualities perfectly. He lived each moment knowing what He was on earth to do, and He never once deterred from that mission. He walked with clarity so absolute that it compelled others to follow. He knew His assignment. He wasn’t endlessly busy hoping it would lead to success. Instead, He was intentionally about His Father’s business. Jesus didn’t do everything; instead, He did the right things.
Do we know what the right things are that we can be doing? Do we know what our divine assignment is? Are we living with a sense of purpose or a sense of passivity? And are we willing to eliminate the things that are getting in the way of us doing the right things?
I can’t do it all. And neither can you. But we don’t have to. Instead we can learn from Jesus how to live life fully present and fully on purpose. That’s my personal resolve, and that’s my prayer for you too, friend. A life of peace is closer than you think. It begins with simply following in the footsteps of the Savior.