We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:8b-9 NLT
Ever feel like the apostle Paul described in his second letter to the Corinthians? He and his team were so persecuted they literally expected to die. While never in mortal danger like Paul, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. How about you?
New seasons of life bring excitement, wonder about the future and also a potential onslaught of additional responsibilities. This is where I am-with many good, new things, but feeling stretched. So last week, I pulled back. Instead of doing my blog post, I swayed. Swaying is what I call being flexible enough to not break. Like the palm trees I love but rarely see in person, I swayed. I dropped a few items from my list (like write a new blog post) and created flexibility to hang out with my daughter on her last day of summer vacation. I loved my moments with her and confirmed my need to find consistent margin in life.
Thinking and praying about this, I read the above verse. I love it when God gives the perfect verse in a moment of need! Reading Pauls’ description of being overwhelmed reminded me-when we are at our weakest, God comes through. In his darkest moment, Paul stopped relying on himself and learned only to rely on God.
I’ve experienced God coming through for me time and again but apparently needed a reminder. To create sway, margin, white space, balance, whatever it’s called, I need only to rely on God. I recognize this and want to remember to rely on God and not myself. I need a PLAN.
I love the memory strategy of acronyms so here’s my PLAN to find more margin and sway while relying on God to make it all happen! If you’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed like me or crushed like Paul, maybe this PLAN can help!
Pray! Seek what God wants for me and how to do it. It’s the first and most important step. It’s often overlooked by those of us who just want to jump in. But taking time to pray and seek God’s will for us is always the best first step of any plan.
Listen to what God is saying. God speaks through His Word, other people, or events. But this also includes listening to my mind, body and others in my life. Paying attention and listening to our bodies if in pain, can’t sleep etc., speaks volumes. Listen. Lately, various people in different parts of my life commented on my workload in this season. Listen. God is speaking.
Act! At times, I can be too analytical. Now is the time to jump in. To that end, I try to use my time wisely by doing little things in small pockets of time. This doesn’t encourage multitasking (bad for your brain) but using small moments of time for a good purpose. Making my grocery list while dinner cooks. Sending off an email while waiting at an appointment. The time adds up and will (hopefully) create more margin space later.
No procrastination! This goes along with my overanalyzing. Sometimes I think or plan too much and then put things off. I need to pray, listen and act. Not procrastinate. If God says “go”, then go! Procrastination kills creativity and sucks the life out of any project. Being organized and chipping away at something is a much more efficient and effective use of time. Procrastination is the snowball that slowly rolls down the hill picking up speed and buries us. Don’t let it begin rolling.
Hopefully, as I put this PLAN to pray, listen, act and not procrastinate into action, I’ll find more margin for the important things in this life, relying on God in it all. And I’ll keep swaying!