Drowning in details.
You know the feeling, right?
Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re the master of your to-do list and run a tight organizational ship and all that. But even then, sometimes the circumstances of life can smear your to-do list beyond discernment. Sometimes the hard dive crashes and takes your spreadsheets with it. And sometimes something comes along and seems to knock you completely out of your well-worn seat of control.
I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed lately. I’ve been battling the weight of the decision fatigue that makes the million small decisions on my plate seem like a 4-ton elephant. Last week I took a couple of days to be still and listen. I stepped away to stop staring at the elephant on my plate. And then I came back to the noise and bustle of everyday life with a big serving of stuff on my plate.
But for the first time in a long while, I don’t feel like I’ve got to choke the whole thing down in one sitting. The saying I’ve heard so many times asks, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” I can’t say that I’ve got the whole thing mapped out or all of my recipes selected, but one thing is sure, I know what I have to do today. And that will move the ball forward.
When it comes right down to it, eating an elephant is pretty simple—not EASY, but SIMPLE.
It seems to me that most of us get a little overwhelmed or even ‘stuck’ at one time or another in our walk with God. We wonder if a new devotional book or trying to implement a new spiritual discipline or practice will move us. We may even feel like that relationship is just kind of stale or stagnant. Where do we start?
I really think Jesus gave us the simple answer—not EASY, but SIMPLE.
He taught us that, if we really want to be His followers, we should do three simple things—not EASY, but SIMPLE.
The first thing was to STOP. He said to deny ourselves. If you want to go His way, STOP going your own way. If you don’t know where to start, then STOP. Deny yourself.
But then He said we should take up our cross every day. What does that even mean? I think it means we just pick up our identity in Him, remember who we are because of Him, and accept that what HE has for us is better than what we could ever come up with. Don’t know where to start? STOP going your way and PICK UP your purpose (which, just in case you missed it along the way, is to walk closely with Him… which enriches your life and, much more importantly, brings all honor to Him).
So you STOP. You PICK UP what He has planned for you. Then what? You’ll never guess. It’s too simple—not EASY, but SIMPLE. Seems I’ve read these words some other places, but He simply said, “Follow me.”
I know, I know, that’s the difficult part of being a follower of Jesus, right? How do you follow someone who is no longer here where we can see Him? Well, this might seem like strange advice, but… stay close. Lean in. Follow Him like He’s leading you through an impossible darkness and you have to just rely on His voice telling you which way to step and when. It’s really pretty simple—not EASY, but SIMPLE.
Don’t know where to start? STOP. PICK UP your purpose. FOLLOW closely.
Last week I stopped for a couple of days. I sat alone in the quiet of a little farmhouse and let Him remind me why I’m here at this point of the journey. Then He showed me what to do next. That’s how this following thing works, isn’t it? It’s really pretty simple—not EASY, but SIMPLE.
So, if you have an organizational or administrative elephant on your plate… just take a bite. Or if you have a lack of direction in your spiritual life, take a step. Either way, maybe you need to STOP, PICK IT UP again, and FOLLOW for one step instead of worrying about the whole plan or the whole pile or the whole… elephant?
Of course, if you’re one of those skilled organizers who never gets bogged down… well, maybe you’ve got some good recipes for elephant you can share?
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9.23)