We had a visiting priest at Mass this past Sunday, and my goodness! He was so delightful. His message was simple, as Christ's message is: God loves us, wants a relationship with us, and will never leave our side. We hear these words time and again, and when we sit with them, meditate on them, and really let them sink in, they are powerful. But how often do we really take the time and energy to let them sink in? How often do we really let anything sink in?
Not often, I suspect.
Instead, we pile on and push back. We pile on meetings, deadlines, tasks, appointments, likes, shares, to-do's and drama. We reject simplicity and instead we push back with excuses, doubt, fear, busy-ness, or apathy. We fight the truth no matter how powerful - life changing, even - and simple it may be. We insist on complicating things.
I'm super guilty of this: over-thinking, over-complicating. Take my 25 While 25 list, for example. I have three months (count 'em...1. 2. 3.) left to accomplish over half of my list (not to mention the three items that I have zero chance at completing because I made complicated goals to begin with). I was overzealous. I usually am. I'm always aiming to do more, to be better. Really, to do. it. ALL.
The over complication of everything is self-sabotaging really. The list making and tacking on and on and on of things to do seems productive, but is it always? I think lots of times we forget that all the stuff on our lists is just well, stuff. When we put it on a list, we somehow elevate it to become so much more. It becomes hassle, stress, hindrance, or just way too important. Not checking a few tasks off can really put a damper on our whole day, and somehow, that just doesn't seem right to me. The priorities are off.
I'm not advocating for abandoning all our lists. I'm a list maker, and I do think they can help us get important things done. But I am wondering what life would be like if we stopped thinking we had to do so much all the time.
What if instead of doing so much, we just decided to do less?
What if I didn't do it all? What if I just did something? What if I simply did less, but more often?
I think, what would happen is that more meaningful things would get done. This whole week I've been focusing on simplifying my tasks. I've been making lists, but then committing to only actually do a handful of them each evening or even at my lunch break. My progress feels slower, but actually, the check marks have been way more consistent, and I've really accomplished a lot of good stuff this week. Stuff that matters.
I'm learning to pace myself, to not obsess over wanting to do everything all at once, and to give myself a break when something just doesn't happen. I've also been thinking about that sweet priest from the weekend. He had a thick accent that at times was difficult to understand, but his message was clear because it radiated from within him. It was clear that the simple love, simple joy, and enduring peace he preached about was firmly embedded within his spirit. He has his priorities straight: the only thing he obsesses about is the Simple Truth that Jesus gives.
My hope is that by scheduling less, fretting less, and doing less, there will eventually be more room in my spirit for that same Simple Truth.