A friend and I were talking about the work we have to do. He walked to a whiteboard and listed some of the roles and commitments and challenges that he is facing. He said, “I can’t do all that.”
I hadn’t made a list like that, not exactly. But I could. So could you. Most of us are facing long lists of expectations and goals, challenges and opportunities. Except that sounds really abstract. So let’s be honest. We are facing piles of diapers, lists of Christmas activities, projects that our boss said ‘yes’ to that we have to fix. We have family crises and broken lower connecting rods. We have finals and mold. We have committee meetings and kids in trouble.
Here’s what I told him to do. And then I wrote it down so I could remember to do it as well.
“Sit down with God and a cup of coffee. Put the list on the table in front of you. Ask God two simple questions. What on this list is there because of you? What on this list is there because of me?”
Here’s what I mean by the second question. I can say “yes” to things for the wrong reasons. I can agree to a project because I am a pleaser. I can agree to help someone because I am a rescuer. I can start a habit because I don’t want the pain. I can do the lesser good to avoid the hard work of the great.
If that paragraph doesn’t mean anything to you, that’s fine. Come back tomorrow. I’ll talk about goals. But if it does resonate, ask God the two questions and then add one more.
“Can you give me the strength to do the first list, and the strength to leave the second?”
If you want some Advent reading, I published Anticipation: an advent reader for the Kindle.