Genesis 1:31 – God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good.
Gratitude Day 743
The professor wanted to make a point in class. This is how he did it.
He began with a large glass jar and filled it with large rocks, right up to the top of the jar. He asked the class if the jar was full. “Yes,” they quickly replied.
But then, the professor took some smaller rocks and filled in the gaps between the large rocks. He worked diligently to fill in those gaps as much as possible.
Again, he asked the class if the jar was full. Again, they responded that it was.
Next, the professor poured tiny bits of sand into the jar. Amazingly, there were little tiny spots in-between the small and large rocks. He kept pouring the sand until all of those spots appeared to be filled.
He repeated the same question and asked if the jar was now, finally full. “Yes!” the class affirmed.
But it wasn’t. The professor took a glass of water and poured it into the jar. Yes, there were little spots where the water could seep into where neither the big rocks, little rocks nor sand had completely filled. He kept pouring the water until it spilled over the top of the jar.
Now, the jar was finally filled.
The professor related his experiment to life. Our lives are like the jar, he shared. There is only so much we can do every day, week, month or year. What we put into the jar is what matters.
The big rocks are the really important things; the things that cannot be removed for our lives. These are the non-negotiables in our lives. We must have them.
The smaller rocks are those things that are very important to us. But when life gets too full or we need to spend more time with the bigger rocks, these are the things that we might need to pause for a while. Or for a season. Or forever. Yes, there is value in these things, but they are less important than the big rocks.
The sand is like the filler in our lives. These are things that look cool to do or see like a good choice. But there are often times when we simply must say “no” to them. Too often, we put too much time into the little bits of sand which takes away from the big and little rocks, which really should be most important to us.
As for the water, these are the things that take a lot of physical, emotion or mental energy. We can do them ourselves. But possibly, these are the areas where we need to ask for help. Doing so allows us to focus more on the big and small rocks in our lives.
The problem is that many of us are trying to tend to all the big rocks, little rocks, sand and water in our lives. This is how it works in my life: I convince myself that I WILL have time to do something. I can squeeze one more thing into my life this week. No problem! But when I do this, something else gets left behind. Or not attended to. Because each choice I make and say “Yes” to means I am saying “No to something else.”
We cannot add more hours to a day or days to a week or months to the year. In fact, we do not know exactly how much time we have on this earth. This is why we really should choose carefully what are our rocks, our little rocks, our sand and our water. Trying to do it all is called overfunctioning.
For some of us, overfunctioning feels like it is just part of life. There are so many good things in our lives, we find it difficult to choose what to do and what not to do. So, we try to do it all! Doing it all leads to some problems. Not everything will be done at the same quality level. Our health or sleep will suffer because overfunctioning usually means we eat less healthy and sleep less. Some of the big rocks feel left out because, well, we’re trying to take care of the sand items.
Friends – I struggle with overfunctioning. I’ve felt this way for YEARS. Yet, I try to be aware that God does not demand us to overfunction. We demand this of ourselves. In fact, the temptation to overfunction is a problem because we think we must be and do more than God created us to do.
Why is this? There are a bunch of reasons.
- We think others will look down on us if we aren’t busy.
- We are confident no one else can do the job as good as we can.
- We want ourselves and others to know how important we think we are because “we are so dang busy.”
- We need to feel included, important and necessary.
- We don’t trust ourselves, others and most importantly, God.
Yes, there will be seasons of our lives that will be too full. Or there are moments in each day when we feel overwhelmed. But God did not create us to be busy. All. The. Time. God does not want us to do the work of two people before noon. We will not be held in higher esteem in God’s eyes if we take care of everything within our grasp.
No, we will miss out on some pretty great moments in life because we failed to see what was right in front of our noses and eyes and ears.
Three times in the creation story, God proclaim that what God had created that day was “good.” At the end of the sixth day, God declared that everything God created was “extremely good.”
God did not feel a need to go back and redo or undue what God did. God was happy with creation and let it be.
Yes, there are times when we need do-overs. I’ve had plenty of these in my life. But there are also times when “good enough” is sufficient and it’s time to move on.
Take a minute and think about the big rocks in your life. Do these things get your best time, energy and efforts? Or do you scoot by sometimes, hoping nobody will notice? Are there some smaller rocks that should be paused for a while? A season? For good in your life? Are there some slinky sands that try to squeeze out the rocks that you should be saying “No” to right now? Finally, where can you ask for help to get through this season or moment?
Overfunctioning is not easy to change. This will be a life-long passion of mine. But unless we regularly think about it and explore it, nothing will change. This, my friends, would be awful; if we journey through life giving our best energy, time and efforts to the wrong things.
What helps you with overfunctioning? What are your best tips to keep things in perspective? I’d love to hear them!
For the ability to admit that overfunctioning is a struggle for me, I am grateful.
Almighty God – We need to hear again and again that You looked at creation and pronounced it as “good.” May we look at the areas of our lives and find the goodness within. If we are overfunctioners, help us make sense of finding the good in what we do and letting the rest go. Amen.
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