BY RACHEL AXTMANN
I started out this year desiring for it to be better than the previous. So much of this becoming a reality hinges on the decisions that I will make. In the past three months alone, I’ve faced several decisions – some, more impactful than others, but all requiring my time and consideration. I’ve found that many of the decisions placed before me have been really good things. Let me explain.
I presently work part-time in ministry and recently was given the opportunity to take on more responsibility and hours by planning this year’s mission’s trips. It’s been so awesome to be part of the planning process, preparing teams to share Christ’s love around the world. A good thing! Additionally, I’ve been part of some really interesting meetings at my son’s school in regards to homework, and the research has been fascinating. Another good thing!
Some other decisions I’ve faced recently revolved around which sports my boys should play this spring? Did you know they can run track, play baseball, lacrosse, tennis, or soccer? Yup! And if I choose, they can participate in more than one. Imagine that? And if that isn’t enough, we’ve got play dates to plan and attend, after school activities and birthday parties to go to. All good things too!
On top of the small group my husband and I lead each week in our home, I’ve joined an additional women’s group, meeting weekly. I just love it! Good again, right? Hobbies, ministry, sports, parent meetings, play dates. I like all of these things. Of course there’s the in between decisions as well, what I like to think of as the fillers of our days. How much time will I spend on emails, texts, phone calls, shopping, cleaning, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, cooking, browsing our favorite websites, or watching an online feed of a pregnant Giraffe named April, to name a few.
By now, you might be thinking, "I get it. Your life is busy. Get over it, SO is mine!" Oh, perfect! I was so hoping you could relate. Of course your decisions may be different from mine in some ways, but the truth is, I tend to think we all have a lot on our plates with the never-ending option of adding MORE!
For the sake of taking on what appears to be good, we can often lose our peace and focus. The good things blend together and can leave us feeling tired and overwhelmed. Too much of a good thing just isn't good anymore. We tend to tune out, ignore things and people right in front of us, react sharply, and forget to do things. We just don’t feel like ourselves.
So what’s one to do? We can follow the cultural trend that would tell us to just go with it – busyness is a part of life! Or perhaps, we can take a stand. We can live our lives set apart. There is a little saying that often comes to mind as I try to navigate the numerous decisions I face.
“Don’t let the good things in life rob you of what’s best.”
The best plan for our lives can be found when we align our perspectives with the truth found in God’s Word. The truth leads us to a balanced life of peace. When I follow the opinions and ways of others, when I seek to please, when I try to just go with the flow of culture, it’s only so long until the “good” things I’ve built my life upon begin to crumble underneath me. Yes, even the good things.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. – Psalm 119:105
God wants to show us the way. He desires to lead us on the pathway of a peaceful, sustainable life. He wants something so much better for us than just running after every opportunity. But, we have to be willing to do two things. First, read the Word. Then, make decisions that reflect the wisdom learned. The way we live and the decisions we make reflect what is within. Are we honoring God or honoring our pride?
Better is one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. – Ecclesiastes 4:6
It is far BETTER for us to have MORE of what matters in life and LESS of what doesn’t.
It is better to have one hand free to pursue time with your Heavenly Father, unrushed moments with your children, or quality time with your husband. When you have one hand free, you have time to use the free hand to give someone a hug, make a meal for someone in need, write a note or text of encouragement, or jot down your thoughts in a journal. Keeping a hand free allows God the opportunity to bring blessings into your life that you would otherwise have been too busy to acknowledge.
In order to live this out, there are things you are currently doing that you need to let go of, things you might just need to get rid of, and times when you just need to turn it off.
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – Hebrews 12:1
Time goes by so quickly. We can get caught up in a rut of continuing to do the same things over an over again, even when they aren't working. I want to live a life marked by excellence. I want to pursue the better way. I want to give up things I love, for things I love EVEN more! Will you join me in living a better life, with one hand full instead of two? Let’s take the bold step today to leave behind those things that hinder us from experiencing God’s best.