Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lie No. 18: I Don't Have Time To Do Everything I'm Supposed To Do

The next chapter of Lies Women Believe covers three lies that we believe about priorities. The first one is probably one that every single one of us has felt the pain of. There are never enough hours in the day. Whatever your life, whether you are a mother with six kids or a single woman with too many things on your plate, I'm sure you can all identify with this lie. In fact, you probably identify with it so well, that you may have a hard time acknowledging it as a lie. You might say something like this: "There's no lie about it. It's simple math. I have a list two pages long of all the things that I NEED to get done today, and given the number of hours in the day, there's no way I'll get them all done, not if I want to sleep tonight that is."

And if you run your life that way, then yes, I guarantee you will NEVER get everything done and still have energy and strength left at the end of the day. The problem, however, and the source of the lie, has nothing to do with the amount of time we are given within the day, and everything to do with what's on that list. The fact is that God knew exactly how much we would be able to accomplish within the course of an hour, a day, a month, a lifetime, and He has required no more and no less. Our job is simply to ask the Lord what is on HIS "to-do" list and trash the rest. That's it.

"The frustration comes when I attempt to take on responsibilities that are not on His agenda for me. When I establish my own agenda or let others determine the priorities for my life, rather than taking time to discern what it is that God wants me to do, I end up buried under piles of half-finished, poorly done, or never-attempted projects and tasks. I live with guilt, frustration, and haste, rather than enjoying the peaceful, well-ordered life that He intends." p. 119

The problem is that we have so allowed society and our own expectations of ourselves to create this impossible image of what our lives are supposed to look like. We have convinced ourselves that we are supposed to be able to do EVERYTHING, and do it all with a smile. Beginning in elementary school, it was drilled into our brains that we are to work our fingers to the bone to receive the best education possible, so we can go to the best college, where we can work even harder to further that education, while working a full-time job, and being active in a campus ministry, and being active in a local church, and possibly meeting and finding time to date our future husband, which leads to marriage, which leads to children, which now means we need to be the perfect care-taker of that husband and those kids, making sure everyone is fed, and clean, and clothed, and dropped off at soccer practice, music practice, science club, and youth group, all the while we are still pursuing a career (because we wouldn't want that high-priced education to go to waste), serving full time in a ministry at church, attending the women's bible study, finding time for a quiet time somewhere in there, and doing it all over again tomorrow. Whew! You may as well give up now!

GOD DID NOT DESIGN US TO BE SUPERWOMEN! HE DESIGNED US TO SERVE HIM AND THAT IS ALL THAT WE EVER NEED TO DO. It is that simple. Sit down. Breathe. Close your eyes. Close your mouth. And listen. Let God tell you what's on His to-do list, and do those things, AND ONLY THOSE THINGS, and this feeling of constant frantic exasperation will cease to be a part of your life. Don't try to do the things God asks of you, AND THEN _____. Do what he asks of you, and nothing else. And I can't tell you what that is. My "to-do" list from God will be nothing like yours. But He will show you his expectations for your life if you take the time to ask. And be willing to accept that some of the things, in fact, probably a lot of the things, on your list will not be on God's list. He may not ask that your floor gets mopped this week. He may not ask that you bake cupcakes for your daughter's class. He may not ask that your children be allowed to participate in every single school function, or any of them for that matter. He might just ask you to make a little extra for dinner and take some to your neighbor. He might just ask you to spend time reading to your children instead of washing their clothes (they're not really that dirty anyways.) He might just ask you to quit your job and come home to educate your children.

Are you willing to throw your list of must-dos, career goals, life priorities, even your personal wishes and desires out the window and honestly sit at God's feet and ask Him to write a new list for you?

"The fact is, we have no more or less time than any other human being who has ever lived. No one, regardless of his position or responsibilities, has ever had more than 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, 52 weeks in a year.

In fact, the Lord Jesus Himself was given only a few short years on earth to accomplish the entire plan of redemption. Talk about a long 'to-do' list! Yet, at the end of His life, Jesus was able to lift His eyes to His Father and say, 'I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do' (John 17:4 KJV, italics added)." p. 118

There is absolutely no reason imaginable that we cannot, at the end of the day, at the end of our lives, say with the same satisfaction that we have glorified the Lord by finishing the work that he as given us. And if we have done that, we have done ALL that we need to do. The moment we add to or subtract from that list, that peace leaves us, and we immediately begin to fret, as we should, because we are trying to accomplish something that God has not given us the time or the energy to do, and without him, we have no hope or strength. Serve the Lord well, and serve Him alone!

"As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, 'Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.' But the Lord said to her, 'My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:38-42


  1. I've had a bad morning and these words touch every part of my heart. Love your posts, thank you friend. Needed this one today!

  2. So glad God used me to bless you today! I hope your day gets better from here :)