Things are getting pretty busy in my already-busy world. Each task generates three more, and I can never find my to-do list. So I make a new one with the newly generated tasks, and the never-ending cycle starts all over. It can leave me off balance and not fully focused on my real purpose.
It seems that church, family, home and work are on the same cycle, and there is no ebb and flow. Just tidal waves that crash and return often.
The other day one of my friends on Facebook—Pastor Hemphill—a young pastor to a new young adult congregation, posted a picture of his mailbox. He wrote, “Don’t let your life look like our mailbox. Filled up so that you can’t get anything in and when the door of opportunity opens you have a hard time getting free because you have been stuffed in a space too small to contain all the goodness coming your way. Check your mail…”
My initial response was that, like many of you, I thought of my own life. I’m not a hoarder; I’m pretty neat. But, then, I thought about the tidal waves of tasks and the kinds of things in a mail box that can keep me off-balance. So, rather than being defensive, I decided to look closer at my own mailbox.
Here’s what my exercise taught me:
1. Go to the mailbox every day. Discipline is important.
2. Don’t waste time with junk mail. It’s junk. Stay focused.
3. Don’t make a pile. Piles make extra tasks. Make a plan instead.
4. Separate and prioritize. Take action.
5. Clean up. After doing steps 1 through 4, get rid of what’s not important. Celebrate!
I’ve learned that you can’t stop tidal waves or mail. That’s life. Sometimes, we just need new uncomplicated images to help us look at church, family, home and work. It gives the saying “You’ve got mail” a new meaning.
What image for tidying your life works for you?
Valora K Starr is director for discipleship for Women of the ELCA.
Photo of Pastor Hemphill’s mailbox, used with permission