1 Corinthians 6:12 – I can do anything I want to if Christ has not said no, but some of these things aren’t good for me. Even if I am allowed to do them, I’ll refuse to if I think they might get such a grip on me that I can’t easily stop when I want to.
Often a normal day for me: I have a list of things that I am overly optimistic that I will accomplish in a day. Some of the things are quick, easy things. There is always a few big and more difficult things; things that could actually take the entire day.
And I begin each day with this thought: what things should I do first?
Within my brain, there is this “voice” that is often a know-it-all. She’s a little bossy; honestly, more than a bit. She’s way more bossy than I am. She’s critical, difficult and confident that I should listen to her. All. The. Time.
But this voice? While sometimes she does have some really good ideas, more often, she’s the voice that distracts me. “Do the easy things first,” she says, when I know that I should really tackle the more difficult things at the beginning of the day and get them out of the way.
“Oh, that thing? TOO. HARD. Forget about it right now,” she says.
“You know you want that ice cream, right?” she says. Well of course I want the ice cream! It’s my favorite comfort food!
All day long, there is this batter between this voice and myself. Seriously. All. Day. Long.
Does anyone else have a clue what I am talking about??
Even if I get her voice under control for a hot minute, there is still this linger question: what do I do first?
Too Many Choices
I feel very fortunate that I have so many choices. Most of these things? They are really good things. Opportunities just waiting for me to choose them. “Pick me! Pick me!” they shout. And yes, these are really good things.
So, how do we pick?
Sometimes, there are things that absolutely MUST be done today. We can put them off no longer. Or we have an appointment or someone else that is expecting us to do something. These are the easy things for me to do first. I can let myself down all day long, but I seldom will let someone else down.
Until I do.
Just last week, I did this. I had made a commitment to meet with a group of friends. They were going to review something for me. One problem? I didn’t have the information ready for them. It was a big thing. Something that was going to take a lot of time to complete. Rather than making small, daily steps towards getting this project pulled together, I put it off until I knew it was too late to get it done.
I picked the easy over the difficult. The simple, mindless over the item that was really going to demand some strong brain power.
And yes, I had to contact my friends and tell them that I let them down.
Of course, they were gracious with me. They didn’t think it was a big deal. But it was a big deal for me. I let someone down.
ALLOWED to Do So Much
Every day, we make thousands and thousands of decisions. What we wear. What we eat. How we spend our time. Will we exercise? Will I contact this person? Will I mindlessly scroll through unimportant things on my phone or will I pick the bigger, important project off of my list and do one small thing towards accomplishing this?
In life, we are ALLOWED to do so much. Every day, we choose whether to put our time and energy into the good stuff or the not-so-good-stuff.
As a believer in God, I try to reflect and think about what of those things on my to-do list God would prefer or inspire me to do. Sometimes I listen. Other times, I choose that little voice in the back of my head that wants me to listen to HER.
While we are ALLOWED to do so much, there are some things that really aren’t as beneficial for us as others.
A second bowl of ice cream? Or a third?
Mindlessly playing computer games for hours?
Watching a tv show or movie because, well, the harder thing just feels too hard.
Filling our minds and bodies with things that really aren’t helpful and we’re not sure we want anyone else to know we consume in some manner.
All these things, and so many other options, are available to us. But are they the best or right or good choice?
Often, we know the answer even before we begin the dance of whether or not we will choose it. Often, it’s that noisy voice in the back of my head that is telling me, “It’s OK. It’s really not that big of deal.”
Here’s the deal. Sometimes, we do need down time. Moments to take care of ourselves and be. Other times? We just need to make the hard choice.
Just because something is ALLOWED does not mean I still should make this choice.
Personally, when I am tired or distracted or worn down, then it is easy to make the poor choice.
The Apostle Paul wrote the words at the beginning of this post. He knew that so much is ALLOWED but not everything is good. There are less-than-good choices available to us. Period.
So, how do we deal with making a better choice? Personally, it takes a lot more than willpower. If I have to depend only on willpower, I will fail every time.
Sometimes, I find it helpful to simply pause. Stop. What emotion am I feeling in the moment? Why am I having such a hard time? If I can simply name that emotion and give it a place in my life, it’s power over me seems to diminish. I can walk away from the poorer choice and seek an alternative.
Other times, it’s having an accountability person or willing listener that you check in with helps. Knowing that someone else is willing to hear your challenges can be very helpful.
Maybe it’s simply stopping for a minute and asking God for guidance. How often do we really do this? We often say we want guidance. But do we listen or accept it when it comes our way? Personally, that little voice tries to drown out even God’s wisdom.
I think it is amazing that we have so many wonderful options and choices of what we are ALLOWED to do. It’s not like this in every nook and cranny of the world. Please appreciate all the options that you have.
Are some more desirable than others? Of course. How do we sort them out? By pausing. Honoring what we feel. Allowing someone else to help us sort through it. And most importantly, consulting with God.
It’s this easy. And this hard.
May you be blessed with lots of wonderful options today and the wisdom to ask for guidance.
Almighty God – Wow! You ALLOW me to make so many decisions and choices in my life. When I feel that my options are limited, may I be reminded that in reality, I am blessed with so many choices. Help me steer the ship of my life in a direction that is pleasing to You. For as many things are ALLOWED, may I honor that not all are of equal value. Together, let’s pick the best ones for Your kingdom. Amen.
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For additional reflections on ALLOW, please follow the following links:
Allowing God to be God by Sharla Hallett
Wallowing in Worry NOT Allowed by Regina Marcazzo-Skarka
Allow Your Soul to Breathe by Lisa Crowder
Allow Your Dreams to Happen by Ashley Olivine