"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead..."--Phil. 3:13
Yesterday, I shared that one of the ways I have found time to read so much is that I have taken time to retreat every afternoon. For some of you, that sounds a bit extreme. What? If I did that, my kids would burn down the house! Okay, so maybe they won't be able to handle it. Most of us stop here, however. We think "I can't do what she does, so I guess that just won't work for me." May I suggest something different?
Instead of looking at what I (or anyone else) does, look at what you can do. The thing about goals is that we need to be tenacious about it and not letting excuses get in the way. Paul could have used his past as an excuse. But that is not what he did. He left it behind and moved forward to what is ahead. If God wants you to do something---and I am assuming that these are goals that He has worked out with you---then we can trust that He will also give us the power and strength to tackle them. He won't do it for us. But He works within us and walks with us to carry them out. The question is: Are you willing to face those giants (or elephants)?
For me, some of the excuses I have had have been: lack of time (I'm too busy), lack of energy (I'm too tired), my kids interrupt me, and so on. As I have examined them, I have realized that there are options around them. Sometimes it involves getting rid of time wasters. For me, this includes sitting at the computer. Once a sit down at the computer, I am sucked in for hours. So I have committed to: 1) not just sitting at the computer, but somewhere else in the house, and 2) having a list of things to do when I am on the computer so I don't waste my time.
Lack of energy usually means I need to get more rest and/or exercise. But what do I do when my to-do list is longer than my day? For me, that's usually a nudge from the Lord to re-examine what I am doing. This is a topic all of its own, but when that's the case, it's time to seriously bring my commitments and schedule before God to see what He wants to prune out of it. Drastic? Yes, at times it is. But then again, pruning means getting rid of the good so that there is room for the better and the best. How often I have settled for okay or good just because I am too afraid to say no.
How about kids that interrupt? Well, that's a topic of it's own. But suffice it to say, we cannot blame our kids. What are we doing to help them to learn to respect boundaries and our time as well? What are we doing to help them to learn delayed gratification? Yes, our kids can be interruptions, but they cannot be excuses. Ask the Lord for wisdom on how to train your kids. (More to come on this one.)
All this to say: In order to reach goals, we need to ask the Lord for wisdom on how to tackle our excuses too. Is it getting up early in the morning to spend time with God or exercise? Is it saying no to irresistable temptations like sweets or chips (guilty as charged)? What are obstacles that keep you from carrying out what God wants you to do? Make a list of those obstacles and prayerfully ask Him for wisdom and insight. He is able to finish what He asks you to start.
Just one more thought about eating elephants...coming tomorrow!