A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post I titled Just Be Held. I shared about how overwhelmed and frustrated I'd been feeling and how God used a song to remind me that sometimes we have to quit holding onto so many things and just allow ourselves to be held instead.
I posted that first thing on a Sunday morning. Ironically, my family went to church a couple of hours later and I discovered that the message was centered around editing your life.
I hadn't even heard the message yet and knew that it was meant for me. You see, as soon as I saw those words, I thought about how I'm right in the middle of the editing process for Finding Courage.
There's a lot that goes into editing a novel, but one of the most painful parts is cutting text. When I personally write, seeing that word count increase is a big encouragement. Word count is important. But when it comes time to edit, often the best thing an author can do is to delete text.
We delete words, sentences, and sometimes *gulp* even paragraphs that are unnecessary or don't fit with the story. It's painful. After all, it took a whole lot longer to write those sections than it did to backspace them from existence.
But guess what? When it's all said and done, the story is stronger without them.
I think the same is true of our lives. I know I personally allowed so many things to build up as the day progressed that I couldn't possibly keep up.
It's been helpful to reduce some of the things on my to-do list. But what's helped me more than anything else is releasing myself from my own expectations. Which isn't nearly as easy as it sounds. Because that means giving up a measure of control. Surely, if I map out every part of my day to make sure my to-do list is in place, it'll help make the day go more smoothly.
Except it never worked out that way. Inevitably, something went off schedule and things I just had to do began to pile up. At the end of the day, I felt exhausted. It meant shoving even more items to the to-do list for the following day, and so the trend continued. I went to bed feeling behind and that's never a good thing.
In the last couple of weeks, I've found that if I don't wake up with this big list of things to do in my head, I still manage to get almost everything accomplished as they come up through the day. The benefit? I'm not nearly as stressed! If something doesn't get done? Well, it doesn't seem to be nearly as big of a deal if it wasn't waiting there on a list waiting for me to place a check mark next to it.
Just like editing a novel can strengthen a story, editing our lives can leave us with more time for the important things that we might miss otherwise.
Does this mean I won't ever have stress in my day? I know myself well enough to realize that won't be the case.
But in the words of L.M. Montgomery, "Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"
Praise God for that!