Those Who Don’t
The world can be divided into two groups of people, those who do and those who don’t.
You’ve heard this phrase applied to a hundred different situations. The world can be divided into two groups of people, those who like Pepsi and those who don’t. Those who cook and those who don’t. Those who love all things Apple and those who just don’t know that they should. Those who go to Disney, those who sing, those who are crafty and creative…and those who don’t.
I am not comfortable being in the “don’t” category on most things (I don’t like Pepsi, I’m ok with that one). I want to be able to do everything. Need a seamstress? Done. Need a painter? Done. Need another volunteer for that church function? Done. Need me to put in volunteer parent hours at daycare? Done. Dinner cooked, house cleaned, child bathed, coupons clipped? Done, done, done and done.
In my mind, the women of the world can be divided into two groups of people, those who can do it all and those who can’t.
I want to be able to do it all. I don’t like admitting limitations. Limitations feels like a nice word for failures. I want to be super mom, complete with career, spotless home, seventeen soccer/piano/art practices a week, home cooked meal every night, four trips to the gym and a well behaved, balanced child to top it all off.
But I can’t. I am not. I am limited.
I think that if truth be told, we are all limited. Some may be less limited than others. Some just hide their limitations better than others. Some deny their limitations and under that facade of calm are struggling to hold it all together. (I know this because this was me for awhile.) In reality, we all have limited resources. We have a limited amount of time each day, week, year. We have a limited amount of energy with which to do whatever it is we choose to do.
I have recently discovered (and am still learning) the freedom that comes from the word “No”. When we accept and embrace our limitations along with our abilities and passions we are free to pursue those things we love without struggling to do those things to which we are obligated. When we exercise our right to say NO we leave our calendars open to say YES when opportunities come up to do the things we love.
For this reason, it’s important to know what it is you love. What are the things that motivate you, what do you get excited about, what are your passions? I love seeing Mikayla learn new things. I love having organized closets. I love reading. I love writing. I love spending time with friends. I am motivated to exercise in order to lose weight and so I make time for this even though it is not yet something I love.
On the other hand, it’s good to know what things you do not do. What are things you have learned cause you stress? What things are difficult for your personality type? For example, if children annoy you, you probably should not volunteer to teach a 4 year old Sunday school class. If you have difficulty working your tv, you should not volunteer to serve on your church’s A/V team. If you are a terrible cook, do not sign up to cook a dish for a family who just had a baby (bring them take out instead).
For me, I do not sew, I do not grow my own vegetables, I do not landscape, I do not keep my home spotless, I do not DIY for something that can be reasonably purchased, I do not eat whole fruit. That’s right, give me a whole apple and you might as well give me a rock. Many cantaloupes, oranges, kiwis and pears have rotted on my counter top for the simple fact that they are not pre-peeled and pre-sliced. These are some of my many limitations. I embrace them. I accept them. I spend my time doing things I love.
Of course, I’m not saying that you can go through life without ever doing something you don’t want to do. I don’t want to do dishes but I do them almost daily. I don’t want to change poopy diapers, but alas a daily chore. There are things we must do simply because we are human and we are mothers and wives and employees and church members. The communities in which we live demand that we help, participate, chip in so that they can thrive. And so we should. I think the key is that while we are doing the nitty gritty obligations of day to day life, we are doing them as part of a family, church, community that we love.
Your time and energy are precious resources. Use them to care for your family and your community, use them to do what you love, use them in areas where you are gifted. Push yourself a little – do things that are outside of your comfort zone, learn something new, commit to accomplishing something you’ve never done before. But, keep a little breathing room in your schedule for unexpected opportunities. Don’t over-commit to things that feel like a burden when you could spend your time and energy on things that feel like a delight.