Tag: priorities (page 1 of 2)

5 Important Questions to Ask About Boundaries

“I often can’t get away from work til around 8:00.”

“I make work calls on my 45 minute commute to the office.”

“I’m a stay-at-home mom because I want to invest time in my kids while they are young, but I’m in so many important volunteer positions that I’m exhausted and pre-occupied with all I have to do even when I’m with my kids.”

“I’ve been up til midnight the past few nights trying to get my work load under control.”

“If I go out of town or take a break on the weekend, I’m swamped when I get back. It’s not worth it.”

These are all statements I’ve heard recently.

So many of my millennial friends are in seasons of high stress, high demand, and long work hours. The discipline of setting boundaries while trying to establish a career is tough, and scary.

I know there is no silver bullet, but this ties into my post from Monday on your “The Hardest ‘Yes’ of Your Day”.

What do you have the courage to say “no” to?

Before anything, maybe journal about what values are most important to you.

Family? Faith Community? Spiritual Growth? Balance? Volunteerism? Peace?

Is it possible to prioritize these values within the career you have? Do you have clear expectations and boundaries built into your job description?

“You get what you tolerate.” Henry Cloud

Here are a few questions to consider asking yourself as you are making decisions:

  1. If I say “yes” to this request, what will I need to say “no” to? What will I need to sacrifice? Who will I be cheating?

2. Does saying yes to this (deadline, project, staying late..) tap into an unhealthy sense of “need to be needed” or pride? (Ouch! I know this is an important one from experience!)

3.  Who might benefit from me sharing this opportunity or delegating this task?

4. Am I letting urgent things crowd out the important things in my life?

 

5. Who am I coaching or mentoring on a daily basis so that not everything will be dependent on me? 

Whether you’re a boss or not, there are some great strategies here:

The One Thing All Great Bosses Do Well

Remember, your true self will never change. You are beloved child of God with nothing to prove. Your false self is based on titles, paychecks, and awards that will come and go.

At the end of the day may we, like Jesus, be able to say:

 I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to. John 17:4

When Everyone is Looking For You

Yesterday I was shopping, cleaning, cooking – preparing for family who would arrive from out-of-town for a week-long visit. I multi-tasked, prepping everything along with all the regular “stuff” of life like meetings and writing assignments.

Creating time and space to connect with friends or family takes discipline and intentionality, but as we sat with dessert on the patio last night, I thought, how sweet the rewards.

It’s easy to go on “auto-pilot” with relationships, especially with Jesus who is so…polite. He never pushes His way in. Never demands time with us. He waits for us to come to Him.

Last week I introduced some devotional cards a friend and I have created around this theme, “Come”.

This morning, here’s the card I sat with.

If you are a mom of toddlers, or a boss, or a planning an event, I know you can relate to these words!

This verse comes after a very full 24 hours of ministry. Jesus gets up early and goes off alone to pray.

In Mark1 there are three places Jesus uses the word “Come” – each of them very different in context, but each of them speak to me of a reason why it was so important for Him, in the midst of crazy busy, to be alone with His Father. Here are three reasons for us to come to Him too:

  1. Imitate and Model

In Mark 1:17 Jesus calls the disciples, “Come follow me.”

Jesus invited (and invites) people to follow Him, but even He needed to be replenished in order to continue to lead.

People are watching us. They are following us. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul writes, “So imitate me, watch my ways, follow my example, just as I, too, always seek to imitate the Anointed One.”

2. Power up

In Mark 1:25 Jesus defies evil, casting out a demon, saying with confidence, “Be quiet! Come out of him.”

When we spend time with Jesus we are reminded that this same authority that gave Him power, lives in us through His Holy Spirit. We may be weak, but “greater is He who is in [us] than he who is in the world.”

3. Remember

In Mark 1:38 When the disciples find Jesus He says they will all head to some nearby villages for Him to preach because “That is why I have come.”

Time alone with the Lord grounds us and reminds us of our purpose. As I read God’s Word He tells me again who I am and whose I am.

Which of these do you need most this morning?

Do you know a graduate or a friend who might like a month’s worth of cards inviting them to  come away with Jesus?

 

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Neighboring Challenge, Day 1 – Fill Up

In my family I’m known for driving my car on fumes – going as long and as far as I possibly can without actually running out of gas. I seem to have an uncanny ability to drive my car that holds 15 gallons of gas, 15.8 gallons worth of miles.

I’m also prone to stretching my “tank” when it comes to hospitality. If I don’t first fill up with a Jesus heart and perspective, although I keep going, I notice 3 things can happen:

  1. It becomes about the externals – appearances, logistics, food…This can promote pride, or discouragement, neither of which please God.
  2. I am more focused on tasks than on being present to the people in my home.
  3. I am anxious because I want to be in control instead of letting the Spirit guide.

Most of us are super familiar with the story of Mary and Martha, but take another look.

Luke 10:38-42 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary,who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Ask yourself: What are you worried or upset about? Open your hands and give those things to Jesus.

Just a few thoughts about this passage to keep things in perspective:

  • Note, we tend to bash Martha and praise Mary for being so spiritual, but if Martha doesn’t open her home, Mary doesn’t have a place to sit and listen to Jesus.
  • Jesus admonished Martha for being “worried and upset”, not for serving.
  • Martha did what was expected of women. Mary did what was expected of men (sitting at the feet of a teacher). Jesus broke down the wall that divided men and women.
  • “Mary has chosen…” We always have choices! If it’s a choice between Jesus and jobs, choose Jesus first.

Neighboring Challenge: 

To neighbor well we need to fill up first.

  • Picture you car dashboard with the gas gauge. Do you feel spiritually, physically, emotionally full or empty? Somewhere in between? What changes is it possible for you to make in order to fill up? Is there a spiritual practice that might help? Consider joining me on Facebook Live at noon CST Monday to hear more about a resource I’m offering.
  • Walk through your home praying – dedicate each room to the Lord’s purposes.

I’d love to see and hear your responses throughout this challenge – in the comments or on Instagram, or Facebook! Use the hashtag #neighboring. (Follow on Instagram or like the FB page if you want it to show up in your feed)

Knowing Ourselves and Knowing When to Say Yes

When I was in high school and college I worked as a waitress most summers at country clubs. It took me awhile to get the hang of everything I needed to balance both physically (as in plates) and mentally (as in orders). One time early in my “career” I remember a bin of dirty dishes slipping out of my hands and crashing to the floor. In the silence that followed, every eye turned to see who had  messed up.

That would be me, blushing bright red and wanting to crawl into a hole.

This is a little how I’ve felt recently. I LOVE variety and doing ALL OF THE THINGS!

I want to talk to ALL OF THE PEOPLE AND GO ALL OF THE PLACES AND NOT MISS ANYTHING! (For those of you familiar with the Enneagram, I’m a 7…ahem. Yeah… “No” is not a familiar word in my vocabulary.)

I like being the Queen of Multitasking, but that’s not always a good thing. It may mean that I prioritize activity over substance, or I choose the easy wins over investing in hard work for the long haul.

Some of you have been kind to check in with me as I haven’t posted in awhile…wanting to make sure I haven’t died under a pile of crashed dishes. No, I’m fine and I want to give you a little update.

I’ve been thinking about Jesus. He was busy, but not rushed. He did a lot, but was always present to those around Him. He knew His job.

I’ve been considering the many good things Jesus had to say “no” to in order to say “yes” to the best.  Looking at the “I did not come to’s…” and the “I came to’s…”

Jesus didn’t heal everyone. He didn’t talk to everyone. He didn’t go everywhere.

It’s important to know ourselves – our temptations, our calling, our season of life – in order to know what to say yes and no to.

I recognize the tendency in myself to shy away from the hard, long haul work that feels risky and sometimes monotonous. I’ve got some projects that I’m working on that require some extra time so I’ve given myself permission to back off posting consistently on the blog for a bit.

In addition to focusing more on preparing for speaking opportunities, friends and I have been working on a devotional with a twist that I’m super excited to make available to you soon!

Also, the hardest, scariest thing I’m working on is a manuscript (it’s taken me a long time to be able to actually have the courage to call it that!) I’m not ready to say more, but if you are a pray-er I’d appreciate prayers for the right words!

All that said, I may be a little hit or miss on posting regularly. I also want to give Facebook Live a shot. I’ll let you know when that is coming.

What about you? What are you most tempted to say “yes” to that isn’t important or bearing fruit? What’s one thing you need to say “no” to this week?

If you struggle with wanting to do ALL OF THE THINGS like I do, you might take a look at this book, Essentialism, by Greg McKeown.

Some posts on this blog contain Amazon affiliate links – I receive a (very) small commission on any purchases but I’m not paid to recommend any particular item and I’d never link to something I don’t own and/or feel strongly about.

What is it that you do, dear?

I was putting together a little care package of cookies and flowers for a friend who’s pregnant and on bed rest.

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For months.

With two other toddlers. Active toddlers.

Yeah. Wow.

As I  pray for her and write a note, this is the verse that comes to mind:

“I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.” Nehemiah 6:3

God gives Nehemiah the important job of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, but there are many who would like to distract or deter him from his work – get him to come down off the wall.

My friend has the great work of resting so that God can safely nurture and grow the life in her womb.

Another friend has the great work of finishing her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Another has the great work of gently confronting a friend with a drinking problem.

My 88-year-old aunt who has the great work of praying for the world.

Our “great work” can take so many different forms. But often the refrain that plays in our head is:

“I’m not doing anything important. I’m only a _________________” 

Whatever we’re doing is a “great work” when given by God and done for Him.

What great work has God given you to do that you need to resist distractions from?

If you’re a mom at home with kids this Mother’s Day, remember what Peggy Campolo would answer when someone asked, “And what is it that you do, dear?”

Peggy would reply, “I am socializing two homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia that God willed from the beginning of creation.”

Then Peggy would ask the other person, “And what do you do?”

Single or married, mother or auntie, volunteer or paid, we all have a great work – significant work from God.

You are doing a great work. Don’t come down.

Moving Through a Crowded Life, Part 1

A few Sunday mornings ago I was rushing a young staff member through our crowded church Great Room between worship services, trying to get to John’s office to shoot a video resource with her and get home.

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“Didn’t you once tell me the more successful you get the more slowly you need to walk through a crowd” she asked pointedly.

“Yeah, yeah, but this is an exception!” I tossed over my shoulder as I simultaneously “Excuse’d” my way around bodies, wishing for a parting of the Red Sea.

People (including my young friend with her annoying memory) can be so…inconvenientright?

I had quoted a mentor of ours whose line had really impacted John and me even though I resist the word “successful” because I’m definitely not. But being in ministry I seem to know a lot of people, so I’m trying to learn this discipline of walking more slowly through crowds.

When I rush through a crowd

  • I’m saying I’m a big deal because I’m busy.
  • I’m saying tasks are more important than people.
  • I’m saying my time is valuable and you’re not a priority.

Ouch, ouch OUCH!

My words sometimes often almost always come back to bite me.

This morning I was looking at the passage in Mark 5:21-43 that is about Jesus and crowds and individuals. I may or may not have heard the Holy Spirit say, “Ahem…”

And IF the Holy Spirit had eyebrows He/She might have been raising them looking meaningfully at me.Unknown

Can you put yourself in this setting with Jesus?

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders,named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

We all live crowded lives. But Jesus did too.

Even in a crowd, Jesus is present to individuals.IMG_1332

Jairus was a distraction to Jesus, but Jesus moved slowly enough through the crowd to notice and respond to him as an individual.

You’re single or married, a coach, an employer, a mom, a leader, a pay-check earner, and you have a crowded life. You want to be like Jesus – want to respond to the “holy interruptions” that come your way, but it requires discernment.

Maybe the best we can do today is to start moving more slowly through the crowds, look people in the eye, and pray,

“Lord help me to be present to You and others. Show me what love requires of me today.”

 

 

Soul Detox, part 1

So, Lent is over. All of you who have been fasting from chocolate or coffee are celebrating the return of All The Good Things. The season of entering into Jesus’ experience of sacrifice and cross-carrying, to the other side of Easter is over. Dark to Light. Death to Life. Winter to Spring. Vegetables to dessert (How lame are we, right?)

I was a little late to the Lenten party (so to speak), but I shared how I was trying to be intentional about being present to Jesus during Holy Week.

Part of that meant a social media detox – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – and also turning off the radio, because these are things I suspect can distract me from Jesus, and foster a less-than-healthy soul.

I thought it was going to be a terrible, awful, no-good, very boring week.

I was wrong. Continue reading

Self-awareness and the Busy

Monday I wrote about “crazy busy” and questions we might ask ourselves.

I’m fortunate.  I happen to be in a season of life where I have plenty of margin and discretionary time because my kids are grown and I don’t have the financial pressures some people have. However, I do see how I need to pay attention to busyness in two areas. Continue reading

5 Questions to Ask When You’re “CRAZY Busy”

“We’ve just been so CRAZY busy!”

I have a friend whose emails contain this phrase along with profuse apologies about her perpetual stress level almost every single time she writes me.

Sometimes I want to shout at the computer “Well STOP DOING so much!”

Brene Brown says exhaustion is the new status symbol. If we don’t feel overwhelmed we must not be doing something important.  Are you buying into that?

I want to tell my crazy busy friend about my sister-in-law who realized that they had had so many people visiting their lake cabin over the past few years that none of their family was actually able to enjoy it.  They were always hosting someone else, so she called a moratorium for this one summer.  A time out.  To that I say “Bravo!”  It can be done.

But I also realize how hard it must be to think of disappointing friends who don’t have lake homes and who look forward to visiting every year.  Boundaries are not without their downside.  They take courage and resolve.

As I’ve been thinking about my friend and my sister-in-law, 5 Questions have come to mind that might be helpful to ask ourselves when we’re “CRAZY Busy”:

1.  How does this level of busyness affect the state of my soul? Really.  Am I at my best at these rpm’s?  How much does my busyness feed my false self – the part of me that needs to be validated by my achievements?

2.  Is this just a season (temporary), or is it an on-going pattern of over-extending myself?

3.  Why have I said “yes” to each of these commitments?  Which have I said “yes” to out of fear or a need to prove something?  Examine your commitments one by one.

4.  Do I have choices where I may have been making excuses? (Ex.: I have to work on the sr. high school party because I did it when our other child was a sr.)

5.  Who are the right people to disappoint?

I’d really love to just sit down and have a conversation with you about this over a DQ Blizzard because I’d like to hear your thoughts too.

What do you think?  Is there one person you feel like you need to be willing to disappoint in order to have a healthier rhythm of life?

Need a little more encouragement?  You are not a victim.  You own your choices. Learn from Bob Goff who tries to quit something every Thursday.photo-157

Participating in a link up with…

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Defining the Relationship

As I write this we’re in London with some of our closest friends, heading to a board meeting where our husbands will work, and the wives will continue to play. We pray for them and drink tea.  Or wine.  It’s an arrangement I’m partial to.  

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Anyway, I wrote this post (below) a week or so ago and as I read back over it this morning before hitting “publish”, I think it is true, and hopefully helpful, but like most things, it’s certainly not the whole story.

We are blessed beyond belief with the relationships God has given us.  If they are healthy, they ebb and flow.  We weep together in one season and laugh together in another.  Sometimes those seasons are one and the same.  We give and take, rant and chatter and share vulnerably.  We listen, and pray.  A lot.  We gather around a table or show up to help each other move or we write a note. We are all resourceful, important, trainable, nice, draining people…and somehow in the midst of doing life together we are changed.  We are iron sharpening iron and I am so grateful that God has given us all to each other.

It seems like there’s been a recurring theme in a bunch of my conversations lately.  It’s the DTR theme, and I don’t mean in the dating sense of the word. Continue reading

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