Sunday, January 11, 2015

Must Do vs. Want tos...Who Wins?

It’s easy, as a single woman living alone, to allow the must dos to slide. For example, I struggle with keeping the dishes done. I’m not just talking about cleaning them, I mean putting them away. A lot of times, I take the lazy way out and just stack all the clean items on the counter and just use from there. It is a must do – keeping the kitchen clean and organized; want to do – not dishes!
Sad... Want tos are winning
Sad… Want tos are winning
We must take care to be diligent and disciplined to rule. This is a daily (even hourly) practice we need to cultivate in our lives. It’s work.

The most important is one’s walk with God; sadly ignored most days as I find myself greatly distracted by the computer/internet/t.v./family obligations/my dog/etc.  This has been the pattern for the last 4 or 5 years.  I’ve been trying (& failing) at playing and working; at the end of each day, I find myself apologizing to the Lord for not finding time (making time).

It’s not just about playing games (online) – I get immersed in recipe websites, blogs, etc., & I lose hours each day.  Recently, it’s all been about dairy-free – a recent life change for me that I had to do (a story for another day) – due to food allergies.  This was a necessary thing; however, it has taken over a good portion of the past two months.

While I contemplated & wrote this article, I found myself wondering why I was so easily distracted.  That’s easy…it is easier to “play” (or ignore the “must do”) than it is to work (do the “must do”).  There’s more to it though.  There are underlying emotions which I realized were a huge part of this.  They consist of fear, pride, trust issues and tangible distractions (electronics, work, other obligations, etc).

Fear.  An entire spectrum of ideas can float through your head at this point.  What are you afraid of?  Spiders?  Snakes?  Losing your job?  Losing your home?  Death of a family member?  These all are legitimate fears.  Fear destroys and it is a great motivator to ignore the important issues/work; it also allows one to be distracted.  For the believer, spending time in the Word of God (Bible) corrects & directs us to live a certain way.  Fear of change, fear that nothing will ever be the same, that you’ll have to give up everything you can have one running from doing the right thing, from seeking the Lord in one’s life.

Pride.  This is the idea that I’m doing okay or a “good guy” mentality.  This is the idea that I can do everything on my own, I don’t need anyone else.  Pride can also influence us in making wrong decisions about money or relationship.  For the believer, pride can take over our mind and cause us to think that we don’t need the wisdom of the Bible.  Another part of pride is the notion that “no one else will see” because you live alone.  This is dangerous thinking that can direct someone down a path of destruction.

Trust, or lack thereof.  If someone has a trust issue, they have a difficult time believing the words of the Bible and anything that anyone else says.  There is a lack of confidence in the Lord and his promises.  This is key for me.  It is probably my biggest struggle.  The emotion behind a lack of trust goes back to fear.  The fear that the words aren’t true, that the “rug is going to be pulled out from under you” so to speak.

Distractions.  I’ve somewhat already covered this, but wanted to clarify that it is more than just the computer.  It can be any electronic, a book or two, responsibilities (family, church, pet obligations, etc).  Other areas that could be distracting are blogging, hobbies, school and or work.  In reality, just about anything can be a distraction – if we allow it to take up too much of our time.

I actually stopped long enough today (while I was writing this) to pick up my devotion book* and was smacked square in the face.  The first line was (paraphrased):
~ We can’t be close to God unless we spend time with Him. ~


It also hits home because in this past year or so, I’ve lost two close friends.  Even though I tried to keep the doors of communication open, after a couple of months of no response, I just let it go.  Then, it hit me…this is exactly how I was responding to the Lord.  Even after realizing it, I still struggle.

I thought about how to eliminate distractions and the underlying emotions that drive them; about how the “must dos” can be balanced with the “want tos”.

Balance & discipline/diligence.  Balance is the key, along with discipline to keep us going.  Here’s what I’m working on putting into practice in my life.

  • List all the things that need to be done in a week (cleaning, cooking, work, school, blogging, hobbies, church, etc)
  • Take the above list & break it down by each day – so that at the end of the week, everything has been completed.
  • Take the daily list & break it down by hours.
  • Using a timer and diligently following your schedule, work at your list. Note:  allow some flexibility for occasionally things/activities that come up – just don’t let them take over your list)
  • Go to sleep & wake up at the same time each day consistently – yes, each and every day, 7 days a week. (eg: 6 a.m./10p.m.)
  • Repeat as needed (weekly, daily & hourly)

Must Dos Won! (Crock Pot has my potluck dish cooking)
Must Dos Won! (Crock Pot has my potluck dish cooking)
This has become a rather long post, so I’m going to break up into several posts.  Keep a watch out for the rest.

(*my current devotional – referenced above is “The Power of Praying” by Stormie Omartian; Harvest House Publishers, ©2004)

Do you relate to this post?  Is this something you struggle with?  What are your motivations?  Distractions?  How do you maintain balance?  Comment below.

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