The Perks of Planning Ahead

There are a few times when having a running to-do list works out in my favor. 

Tonight is one of those nights! 

I work for a ministry and this weekend is their big conference. I put in close to 12 hours today…

Got home and my running to-do list helped me get everything done super fast!

Now I’m relaxing for a minute before bed. 

Woohoo!

Planning ahead is awesome. 

The Overcommitment Trap

It is really easy to overcommit, especially if you’re a person like me. 

I want to help people. 

I want to encourage them in all of their endeavors. 

I want to not say no…

And here is the rub: I can’t say yes to everything. 

Overcommitting stresses you out and it guarantees that your best intentions will fall short because of other spinning plates. 

So, how do you keep yourself from overcommitting?

By keeping your priorities straight. 

My first priority is being a student at Rhema. 

I didn’t move out to Tulsa, Oklahoma for any other reason. There’s nothing wrong with helping, volunteering, and working–I just can’t lose my focus. 

Everything else I do can’t take away from my training or else I’m missing out on why I came. 

I’m primarily reminding myself of these truths tonight because I have already been tempted to overcommit.

Though, I hope my personal reminder will encourage you to make wise choices with your time as well. 

Time for friends 

I had a great day with my friends. We were finally able to get together and hang out. 

My friend Andrea from Marion and my friend Sam from Birmingham met up with me this afternoon at the Galleria. 

We ate lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, got a coffee at Starbucks, and shopped at Old Navy. 

It was so cool to be together because two different aspects of my life are now connected. 

Andrea and Sam have been friends since college and I have been friends with Andrea since she became the librarian at Judson. 

Sam and I met this past January when I started learning sign language. 

I really enjoyed myself today. Hang out times with friends don’t happen as much as I’d like. 

Another goal for 2016 is to schedule more time for important relationships. 

The order of things

It’s disturbing to me the hills people are willing to die on.

A few weeks a go a lion was killed and everyone was outraged.

Killing an innocent lion? How cruel!

Around the same time, Planned Parenthood was exposed for chopping up fetuses and selling them to the highest bidder.

Crickets. It wasn’t even a trending topic on social media…

Our ideas about what’s right and what’s wrong are so convoluted. Endangered species are protected; people get so excited when their young are born. The definition of when a baby becomes a person, however, is always up for debate.

How long does it take for a person to become so calloused toward human life that they forget we all start out as babies?

We pass countless laws to protect animals, but the laws that protect unborn children are vague.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not an animal person. Some would say that makes me biased.

This discussion, though, has nothing to do with my like or dislike of animals.

We shouldn’t mistreat animals, killing them at will, and stop caring about the ecosystem.

But I’m a little tired of the animal shelter commercials that say, “They have no voice. They don’t understand. They are hurting. Please consider adoption.”

And yet we hear about children who are abused and neglected and think, “I don’t have the resources to adopt or help children, but I have ten dogs.”

The lives of babies, of children, are much more important.

I’ve heard many stories about parents who will give up all parental rights during a divorce if they can keep the pets.

I can’t even imagine how those children felt. My parents left me for selfish reasons, yes, but to know they chose Fido over you?

Wow.

We need to get our priorities straight as a nation. Animals are never more important than people.

Check Your Priorities

Balance.

It’s something that we all want to achieve.

We try to eat healthy foods while also indulging our sweet tooth. We work hard at our jobs, but we have to make time with our families a priority. These are basic concepts, right? No-brainers even.

My life is totally in balance…I think.

 Don’t worry. I’m not advocating that we all take up yoga and sit criss-cross in order to envision our lives’ priorities on a scale.

If that’s what it takes for you then go for it! I,however, have always found yoga a bit too weird.

What I am advocating is some serious thought on our priorities. One of my favorite authors, Jon Acuff, challenged me with the following thought:

“If I say that my family or writing or my business endeavors (Insert your own interests here) are important, then why does my calendar not reflect it?”

 This question is eating my lunch.

It’s not enough to say that something is a priority. My actions and how I spend my time should reflect my words.

What I’m learning is that if I cannot manage my time now—when I’m single—then how can I juggle the responsibilities of wife and mother?

That’s where my mind goes as I follow this thought into the future.

 Maybe that’s a bit too extreme for you, but it’s something more of us should do.

There’s truth in the saying “If you want to see where you’ll be in five years, take a look at how your time is spent now.” (This is not exactly how that saying goes, but it works nonetheless).

I encourage you to take some time this week to write out your priorities and compare them to your calendar.

How are you doing?

If nothing changes, where will you end up five years from now?