I always find myself thinking that if I make enough lists something will eventually happen and life will start making sense on paper. It never actually does... but I do get some fabulous lists out of the process, ha! These efforts are never completely fruitless, though. I often figure out where to begin reworking things by stopping to put pen to paper.
My first step is always the same... I list out my priorities. I think about what I really want, and what God really wants from me. Then, I think about how my use of time and financial resources compares to what I have as my top priorities. And then I spend a while amazed at how far off course I usually am at this point. It is so frustrating to once again be in this place. Sometimes I feel like if my life were mapped out it would be a picture of someone who constantly strays from the good path and into the rough places that are much harder to travel... not because I don't have a path marked on the map to keep me on track, but because I refuse to follow what IS marked out. I am so easily distracted.
Like right now, for instance... what does any of this have to do with why I am not planting a vegetable garden this year? Well, one of my lists this week has been a "NO" list. I have been reading The Best Yes, and one of the things that she reminds her readers is that sometimes you have to say "no" to something good to say "yes" to something better. This is not a new concept for me, It is, however, one I tend to easily overlook when putting things into practice. Right now I am overwhelmed with everything, and so I desperately need to look for some things to let go of. Like having a vegetable garden.
It is funny how something that is mostly for enjoyment can so easily become a source of stress. I have loved growing vegetables the past couple of years. So has Aiden. And yet, this year whenever I started thinking about what I needed to do to prepare for our gardening all I felt was frazzled. Instead of seeing that perhaps this was an indicator that a garden isn't a "best yes" this summer, I decided to stubbornly continue my plans to make it happen. After all, gardening is great! It is educational, fresh veggies are awesome, it is (supposedly) good for the food budget to grow your own produce (although I am pretty sure I always spend more than I save)... there are plenty of reasons why a vegetable garden is a good and worthwhile use of time. It fits right in to my priorities because it is a quality time and educational opportunity for Aiden, it provides for my family, and it makes our yard lovely which creates a happy home. However, this year gardening is a good thing I now know I need to say no to so that I can focus on better things.
Now, let me be honest... there is this one thing in my life right now that I desperately want to say NO to. It is something that I would very happily give up so that I could have a vegetable garden instead. My first instinct when making my "no" list was to write this activity in capital letters across the top of the paper. But... instead I have been praying about it. And I have asked some wonderful prayer warrior friends to pray as well. And the more I pray, the more I realize that this is something I need to keep on my "best yes" list. Oh how being obedient is unpleasant sometimes...
Instead of actually getting up to blog last night, instead I turned on some music and one of the songs on the playlist I chose was Something Heavenly by Sanctus Real. I come back to this song over and over. It is definitely a favorite, and yet last night I found myself hearing something I hadn't heard before in this song. I heard a reminder that what God is doing is so much bigger than me. It is more important than me being comfortable or having fun. The very fact that I am being pushed to limits is a great indicator that this is a time of growth for me. Yes, what God is doing inside of me feels like chaos... but I trust completely that there is good that will come from this discomfort. I know from experience that when God pushes me to do things that make me uncomfortable it changes me in real ways.
So, instead of planting that garden this summer, I will push on towards what God has laid out for me in areas that are a bit harder but will surely be worth it. There are other things on my "no" list... and it continues to grow. I think this is the first time I have really seen something "good" than needed to be given up for something "better" jump out at me this clearly, though. So, maybe the constant cycle of setting a course and then wandering so far off of it is actually leading to progress. Remember that map of my life that I drew in my head where I am constantly going off course? Maybe if I looked closely I would notice that my straying still happens but doesn't take me quite as far off course. I will probably never be someone who can actually stay on the path, but if I can at least stick closer to the general area that is progress, right?
Linking up with Titus 2 Tuesday this week.
Linking up with Titus 2 Tuesday this week.