If you’ve read The Finishing School, you have already heard me quote Professor Bruce Hindmarsh when he said:
“Busyness is moral laziness [because it is often a statement of our excuse to be inattentive to people]…But God has given us just enough time to do what we need to do moment by moment to respond to him. And his grace is there; it is eternally present. Every moment is a sacrament where time touches eternity and there is exactly enough time to do what God has called us to do.”
When I first read this it seemed to counter everything I thought. How could busyness be seen as laziness? Hindmarsh is making a bold statement telling people that choosing busyness over margin is actually a cop out. It’s letting other people dictate what you do so you don’t have to decide or so you don’t have to hurt feelings, disappoint people, etc.
Guess what? Jesus disappointed people. I was reminded of this in Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. She talks of breaking free from that standard we hold for ourself that disappointing others is not allowed. But here’s the reality, we can’t please everyone and God doesn’t ask us to do that.
If you feel like life is too busy, like not just a little hectic but spinning out of control, it might be time to get serious about the things you won’t do. We have to actively decide this or people will dictate the things that make up our life. Scary, no? That our future can be decided by the demands of others?
When I get asked how I balance a family, a business and tossing a book in, I am quick to say that there are tons of things I don’t do. My hope is that people won’t get overwhelmed with thinking they have to do it all. There are certain things that I don’t do that have allowed me to do the things that are most important to me.
Here is a very random list of things I don’t do. This doesn’t need to be your list of course. You may genuinely enjoy some of these things or these may align with your goals, but I hope it will give some insight into my world and also help you discover any things you may be doing that you don’t NEED to do.
1. I don’t second guess decisions.
Once it’s made, I don’t look back. There are exceptions. I do pray that if I made the wrong decision God would give me an unsettled feeling. When I was a wedding planner, I used to tell my brides not to look at dresses (or flowers or cakes) once they picked out theirs. With all the options out there, it won’t be hard to start comparing more.
2. We aren’t on the birthday circuit.
This is what my husband calls it. Our kids are still obviously very young and we know soon, they will want to go to more parties, but we honestly don’t go to many of them. Saturdays are precious to our family so we make a very conscious effort to protect them. This also means our time isn’t spent finding birthday gifts. I’m a horrible gift giver so this stuff stresses me out. If you are good at this and love a party, keep on partying friend!
3. I don’t dress the girls to the T almost ever.
We skip the headbands or shoes for my infant and bags, bracelets and multiple outfit pieces for my toddler. This sounds like a small thing, but getting out the door with two kids takes long enough. Vana just needs a diaper and a onesie and we can get out the door. Vivi wears shoes she can put on herself (for now!) Does Vana ever wear headbands? Of course, but they aren’t a requirement.
4. I don’t wash my hair all the time.
I wash my hear once a week. I’m lucky. Part of this is genes I guess, but once I started using Living Proof “Perfect Hair Day” shampoo and conditioner, I was able to go from 3-4 days to 7! This honestly seems a little crazy to me that I can go so long in between washes, but I have long hair that I straighten and I’m just so grateful to not have to do this every other day. I don’t know where I would find the time to do it.
5. I don’t spend an hour + at the gym.
My gym workouts are quick. I do 10-15 minutes moderate to intense cardio and then 10-15 minutes of weights and stretching three times a week. I leave feeling energized for the rest of my day (not like I’m going to collapse) which is good because I have two kids to chase around. I’ve done longer workouts and left feeling wrecked for the rest of the day. I love that a shorter workout actually leaves me feeling ready for the day. I know one day I will be in a season where I can devote more time to fitness but right now, I’m just glad I can go to the gym 3-4 times a week for any amount of time.
6. I don’t scrub my house clean.
Our house is tidy most days but sparkly clean? Never.
7. I don’t neatly fold Vana’s clothes.
I’m ok if my infant is in wrinkly clothes. I fold her onesies in half at best and toss them in the drawer.
8. I don’t get my nails done.
I love having my nails professionally painted, but I don’t actually enjoy the process. It ALWAYS takes longer than I plan and is just not relaxing for me to sit and do. Instead, I opt for a hot bath with epsom salt and a good book. It takes less time and leaves me refreshed. If I do happen to get my nails done, it’s a quick paint and not an extensive process.
9. I don’t dye my hair.
I ombre’d it once and it took 2 hours and have tried to do it again and can’t bring myself to spend the time doing that. I may attempt to dye my hair one day, but right now, it’s not on my radar.
10. I don’t DIY or craft.
It’s not my thing so I don’t force it. I wish I could turn a piece of trash into a treasure AND enjoy it, but I don’t.
11. I don’t volunteer much.
This might sound horrible and I hesitated putting it because it sounds bad, but it’s the truth. I don’t volunteer at soup kitchen’s or non-profits. In this season, our contribution has been mostly monetary. The things we do devote our time to in serving are church-related: my husband serving as deacon (definitely a family commitment), leading a small group and serving on a few seasonal committees.
12. We don’t travel much.
I see pictures of friends who travel all the time. This is awesome. And one day, I hope to be in that season, but for now, we have one beach trip a year and a weekend here or there that we are gone for but otherwise, we stay put at home.
13. I don’t shop in stores often.
When I spend two hours at the mall (every few months) and still don’t find something I need, I feel like I just wasted so much time. Instead, for the most part I online shop at the stores that fit me best.
14. I don’t read People’s magazine or news sites often.
This used to take up a lot of time in my life. It would be my go-to way to “relax” until I realized it didn’t relax me. So I cut the majority out.
15. I don’t comment on hot-button posts (or read them).
I did this recently and blew 30 minutes crafting a comment and the rest of the day thinking about what I’d like to say if I didn’t have a filter. 🙂 Since then, I have realized how much time something as simple as commenting on a Facebook post can be. I’m not talking about friendly chatter or encouragement. I’m talking about posts that you know will have no good outcome if you engage in it.
I’d love to hear from you!! What things do you not do that leave time for what matters most?