managing my life on sticky notes

i live in mortal fear of missing an important engagement.

i don’t know why.  i never do (miss an important engagement, i mean).  still, i am constantly haunted by the feeling that someone asked me to officiate at their wedding and i neglected to write it down.

and it’s today.

part of the problem is that i am too busy.  i get up too early and stay up too late to maintain this self-created monster of a schedule.  and, to be honest, most of it (my important engagements, i mean) is unnecessary.  it is so much running from here to there trying to meet people’s expectations.

another part of the problem is that i keep track of things in my head.  i have very little regard for modern technology (rather than making my life simpler, it seems to make my life much, much busier).  my desk is covered with several thousand sticky notes.  i tried to keep one of those franklin covey planners for a time (about ten minutes), but i could never remember to write anything down.  it was depressing to open the impressing-looking portfolio (with the color-coded tabs and the glove-leather cover) and find the previous year’s calendar.  in pristine condition.

i have finally arrived at the age, though, where i don’t have the confidence in my mind that i once had.  my memory seems relatively solid, but the nagging “i have forgotten an important engagement” anxiety tells me that my once prodigious mental capacity has frayed around the edges just a bit.  an embarrassing omission seems inevitable.  it’s just a matter of time.

when it comes right down to it, though, my problem is not my schedule or my memory or technology (or lack thereof).  my problem is pride.

i was convicted by emily stone’s blog this morning.  she wrote…

God doesn’t NEED you to do anything.

He invites you to be part of His work.

HIS WORK.

Not yours.  Not your reputation.  Not you as savior.  Not you as martyr.

Not you so stressed out, secretly angry and bitter, frustrated to no end, physically sick because you just have to do everything and be everywhere.

This is a tough love post.  And, most of American culture needs it.

We are a society of co-dependents.

We LOVE to be needed.  No matter how sick it makes us.

We are desperate for approval…addicted to it, really…that we will say yes even when we know we really can’t.  We figure we will work it out later…only to disappoint people in the end.

It is more honest, more real…takes more integrity… to say “no” in the beginning.  No, I am so sorry…I will not be able to make it to that party.

Saying no in the beginning is the harder thing to do for US because we have to live knowing…tolerating…that for just a few seconds someone is disappointed with…possibly even disapproving of …us.  Gasp!

Approval and being needed…establishing our reputation…have become our gods….our idols.

We are energetic, workaholics who seek out what needs to be done…and we do it.

And, we get praised…adulations…”You are amazing!  How do you do it all?”

Yes, we are approval addicts.

We forget the old saying…”When I say no it gives someone else the opportunity to say yes.”

We forget that saying “no” is actually a gift to others AND ourselves when saying “yes” to everything is really only about us.

We haven’t figured out that saying “yes” is sometimes the most selfish thing we can do.

i tell myself that my schedule is full because people need me.  but the truth is that my schedule is full because i need to be needed.  and that attitude is sinful.  it is, in fact, narcissistic.  and i am asking the lord to ruthlessly to remind me that when i refuse to rest in him and rely on him, i am actually replacing his position in my life with me.  i am making myself lord.  god forgive me.

and when i am reliant on technology (to fulfill me and complete me), then i am replacing his position in my life with stuff.  that is idolatry.

when i finally screw up the courage to risk disappointing people so i can stop disappointing the lord, perhaps my schedule will become more manageable.  and maybe i won’t worry so much about missing someone’s wedding.

and give my poor ‘ol mind a rest.

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