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How To Stop Doing Everything

If you are an over-achiever who thrives on affirmation and acknowledgement of a job well done, then this article is for you.

You probably were up late folding the last two loads of laundry; or working on a project (like a blog post); or planning out your next day’s meals…

You may be a person who makes so many lists that you need a list to organize your lists.

You are quick to take on new responsibilities, especially when you can see clearly how to make something better or easier.

And you are probably very, very tired.

You probably don’t remember when the last time you did something mindless like watch Netflix for an entire Saturday, or going for a long walk with no time constraints…or if you do remember doing this, it has only happened because you put it on a list, or wrote it in your schedule.

Being spontaneous? Ha!

Being able to listen to your own voice instead of the constant staccato of To Dos pinging in your head? Not gonna happen…unless, of course, you learn to stop all of your doing.

I didn’t realize how addicted I was to doing jobs well until we closed our business. I did all of the things I normally did to drum up business: we sent out emails, called customers, posted sales, and performed, performed, performed, to no avail.

I thought I must not be performing well enough, or fast enough, or cleverly enough to stave off the downward spiral…so I kept dancing harder, and harder, and more and more deliberately…

But at a certain point, I realized our business’s success or failure wasn’t about my performance at all. If God was going to close our business, there was no stopping Him…not even me, with my willingness to dance myself into true exhaustion.

That realization began to permeate to other areas of my life.

I want to do my job, my callings, well…and to do them as unto the Lord. But when the outcome of my performance begins to define my self-worth, it’s a sure path to anxiety and depression. When I begin to panic because I can’t do all of the THINGS THAT MUST GET DONE, I am acting in a really self focused way. It’s like I’m saying the world relies on me, and my abilities, instead of God’s mercy and grace.

Guess what? It’s not all about me!

And your life…it’s not all about you, and your ability to dance all the dances either!

The truth is that all of our passions, knowledge and skills comes from God. He is the one who empowers us to do ALL OF THE THINGS. He is the one who decides the outcome of our efforts. Sometimes it will be fruitful in the world’s terms (Lots of money! Happy people surrounding us!) and other times that same effort will yield absolutely nothing that we can see…or worse…

If you suddenly became sick or couldn’t do your to-do list, guess what? Life goes on! You can afford to step away from your life and responsibilities to take a break, or go for a walk, or read a book, or read your Bible because LIFE GOES ON, even if the to-do list is not done (It never is)!

There is an inverse correlation between doing things God’s way, and doing them the world’s way:

When I rely on God’s power, and His strength, and do the things He calls me to do, one day at a time, I have enough energy for each task that must get done. Notice, I didn’t say I have energy to do everything in my to do list…but the things that God put on my heart to accomplish that day.

When I start to branch out on my own ideas, and my own strategies for how to be the best…it doesn’t take long before I begin to burn out.

It all begins with God, and being connected with Him. Asking Him to make His priorities your priorities. Asking for His help and peace as you let everything else fall by the wayside for another day.

At work during my annual review, my boss asked me to set a goal for myself for the year. Being an over-achiever, I set two goals…one that was actually a task I wanted to accomplish, and a spiritual goal (I work at a Christian ministry).

I wanted to be connected enough to recognize when God’s spirit was intervening in my day..and to let Him sidetrack my to-do list. There are so many moments in every single day that are God-ordained, and I don’t want to miss a single one.

I don’t want to be a slave to a to-do list, or to gaining other people’s praises…I want to present and aware enough to be God’s hands and feet in this hurting world. I want to do what He has for me each day; to be who He would have me be in each situation…and nothing less.

Instead of performing for others, and their accolades, I’m learning to following His lead. And the fruit of that choice is God’s steadfast peace, His strength, and His power to do the things He has for me to do each day.