Friday, December 28, 2007

On My Plate

For those who live in the continental USA, I’m offering a contest. Leave a post or a simple "Howdy" before the new year and your name will be entered to win an autographed copy of The Stained Glass Pickup. The contest will run each month in 2008, too. I look forward to hearing from you and giving away 13 copies in the next twelve months.
“My plate is full.” How many times did you hear that this year? It’s a modern cliché that means a person has a full load. For many in 2007, life delivered a divided lunch tray with every compartment full. I find it ironic that the USA faces a major obesity problem along with our obese schedules. Personal and family agendas are popping at the seams.

Some seasons in life require more energy than others. Illnesses, weddings, location moves, job changes, a new baby in a household, all can crunch routines until accommodations are made for the new demands. Lately, I’ve heard several people say of their normal lives, “I’m overwhelmed.”

They are admitting to being snowed under, beleaguered, and weighed down. That means they sigh more than produce results—that no matter how much gets done, they feel as though they’re only treading water with no landfall in sight.

To set some boundaries and rest from the pushy world, try some of these ideas. Only read and answer E-mails at a certain time of day. You can even create a permanent signature that lets mail-ees know that you answer mail 8-10 in the morning. Stick to your plan.

How many requests are received for volunteer help by mail and phone? Have you ever gotten a plea to help a cause for which you had absolutely no passion? The Lady Bug Counting Committee needed one extra tallier for their spring outing, and you just couldn’t say no even though it was your only day off in a month.

Learn to say, “No.” Practice. Say it out loud. For best results, say it over and over until it will roll off your tongue without guilt. Sure the lane-mate at the red-light may find you odd, seeing you practice the short word that can usher in some peace of mind. You’ll never see them again. Keep on practicing until you can say a kind, but confident, “Sorry, no.”

Don’t always allow the outside world to intrude on family time. Why not designate a quiet hour each day in your home, a time when no outside influence is allowed through any cable or wireless receivers. That can mean turning off the TV, radio, computer, electronic games, landlines and cell phones. Silence turns to gold only when experienced.

In Jesus’ day his disciples became weary, too. They had a foot-traffic problem: “So many people were coming and going that they didn’t even have a chance to eat.” Jesus knew that every person they encountered couldn’t be hosted, healed, or helped. The human body runs on fuel and rest and the disciples needed some.

Jesus’ solution and words are some of my favorite. He said, “Come away with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:30-31).

A friend with a broken foot said her injury was the best thing that happened to her. She rested and had an excuse to do so. For you, readers, I’m praying for backbones not broken feet. With His help, take the load off in 2008.

Happy New Year!

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