Sometimes I get caught up in the frenzy of activity that seems so normal to lifestyles today. With my day-job, freelancing, keeping house and pursuing hobbies–alongside alone maintaining relationships and spending time with friends/family–it can definitely start to feel like there are not enough hours in the day. Sometimes I find I’m comparing myself to other women who seem to be accomplishing all of these things (some of them even blog about it). But then I realize that their goals, beliefs and situations are so very different from mine, that it’s not worth even considering the differences.
But still, sometimes, I feel like I’m not doing enough. Like I should be living up to some higher standard of womanhood (or just plain human-hood) and if I weren’t so lazy/tired/preoccupied I could be doing much better. I think that’s when I start to forget what’s really important. And that’s when a post like this, from blogger Ruthie Dean, really comes in handy.
It took me a while to come up with my own “Things I Don’t Do” list because that mentality of being able to do everything (and do it well) is still hanging around. And I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I grew up in an environment where high expectations for academics, behavior and activities was the standard. And I think that’s a good thing. God Himself calls us to give our very best (1 Corinthians 10:31, Ecclesiastes 9:10) in all things, for His glory. So the question, at the end of the day, should be not how much am I doing, but why am I doing it.
The other side of this coin has to do with resisting the ever-present temptation to fall into a self-pitying guilt mode. On this earth, we will always fail. Always. That’s a given (Romans 3:23). But Christ does not stand as our Mediator before the throne of God so that we can live lives filled with guilt and obsession over human accomplishments. He has already won the victory! To not live in the light of His victory, would be to deny everything that He is and does. In the midst of all our struggles and failures, that is so important to remember.
So, without further ado, here’s my list. I realize it may change as time (and life) go on, but for now, there are the…
Things I Don’t Do
1. Grocery Shopping – This was not really a voluntary “don’t do”. It sort of just worked out this way. DH and I just don’t grocery shop very well together. We used to try, and we’d end up fighting over how much a box of cereal cost or which vegetable was preferable for Tuesday’s dinner. It took me a couple years of working through my own expectations for domestic duties and marital expectations before I finally relinquished this task altogether to my husband. Who probably enjoys it more than I ever would.
2. Volunteer Work – Right now, this is something I don’t do. And it’s not because there aren’t many worthy causes in the Chicago area and beyond. It’s a matter of how many hours there are in the day, and how many of those hours are already committed to serving others in different environments. At the end of the day, washing dishes and doing laundry feels as much like “volunteer” work as would serving in a soup kitchen. This may shift as my life and schedule changes, but for now, I’m not going to feel guilty about it because I think it can have just as much impact (Colossions 3:23).
3. Work Out Daily (or even weekly) – I haven’t exercised regularly since I attended mandatory sports practices in high school. And I don’t know if I want to have a schedule that rigid ever again. I want to maintain an appropriate level of fitness, but I don’t believe God intends for me to obsess over every calorie that the elliptical digital monitor tells me I have burned away into sweat. Yes, being healthy is important and yes, it is a priority for me. But, some days, just making the decision to eat an apple instead of the sugar-loaded donuts sitting around the office is all the accomplishment I need.
4. Stay in Touch – This sounds so bad. I do try to stay in touch with friends and family, but it’s definitely the first thing to fall to the wayside when life gets busy. I don’t call friends on a weekly basis, I don’t write as many letters (or e-mails) as I should, and it may well be over 6 months since I last talked to you (you know who you are). And sometimes (this may be the worst), I’ll say no to a social invite just because I’d rather be sitting at home reading a book. There it is. Now you know. I don’t think I’m a ‘bad friend’, per se, but don’t expect me to be the girl who calls every night just to chit chat. My relationships rely heavily on proximity. And I’m not willing to fake it in the meantime. I guess I’m open to feedback on this one….
5. Keep a Spotless Home – This is one that I hope is just a phase. But I’m going to let it slide for now, because I don’t foresee it changing in the near future. Our house is not a mess… but it’s not spotless. Sometimes there are piles of stuff just sitting around. Sometimes there are unwashed dishes in the sink. And sometimes it looks like we haven’t dusted in a really long time (I blame it on living in an old apartment building that seems to spew dust from the very walls). And there’s almost never a time when there is not at least one article of clothing laying on the floor of our bedroom. It’s not that I’m not well-trained in the art of keeping and cleaning home. It’s just a time thing. And an I’d-rather-watch-TV-than-clean-right-now thing. Maybe someday… when we get rid of cable… my house will look like the ones in The Container Store catalog.
So there are probably a lot more I could include in this list (there are a lot of things I don’t do), but I guess I’ll cut it off for today. And start working on the list of things I do accomplish. That sounds productive.