My road to better health demanded a simpler, more focused life. The combination of unrelenting ministry hours, college courses, family responsibilities, coaching, exercise, and other miscellaneous responsibilities, proved to be too much. These obligations, combined with an inability to say “no,” quickly became overwhelming. There was a time, in which I believed I could handle such an assortment of undertakings—I was voluminously mistaken!
I found out I can do many things—I just cannot effectively commit to all of them. When we fill our time with numerous tasks, something always gives. In their book “The One Thing” (2012), Gary Keller and Jay Papasan stress the importance of “going small… ignoring all the things you could do and doing the things you should do (p. 10).”
As an Associate Pastor, I have several things that I could spend my time doing. In addition to the Music, Young Adult, and Small Group ministries I oversee, I found myself spending multiple hours on miscellaneous tasks, such as computer work, web design, marketing, graphic design, etc. These are all areas that I enjoy; however, this was not what I was hired to do, and these responsibilities robbed my primary obligations of my very best. I have worked with my Senior Pastor to cut my responsibilities to about a quarter of what they were. Now, the areas of preaching, teaching, and music get the attention needed to produce excellence.
My purpose is “to lead with conviction, building lifelong followers of Christ through my example, preaching, teaching, and pastoring.” This calling sets the stage for every area of my life. I desire to build relationships with my boys and wife, teaching them to live fruitful lives, committed to the Lord. At church, my greatest passion and gifting is to teach the Word of God. I spend a lot of time in study, as I want to be the best I can be, doing what God has called me to do. I now experience greater fulfillment, and I get to enjoy more quality time with my family and friends. I am at the office less, as I have learned to work smarter instead harder.
I have learned to say “no” when people ask me to do unnecessary tasks or make last-minute requests. When I say “yes” to these things, I am saying “no” to other areas of life that should have priority, such as my primary job duties, family time, or my devotional life. This is unacceptable! My time is precious, and I have become very guarded of it. I am careful to plan my days and weeks, setting aside ample time for those areas that are of the utmost importance.
My days look a lot different now. I finally finished school, and though I would love to move on to my next degree, my family—and my sanity—are more important! I have learned to live a simpler, focused life, and this has greatly contributed to my overall health and well-being. I encourage you to focus on the things that are most important, and learn to say “no” to the areas that are secondary. Be careful not to let good things keep you from the best!
One thought on “Living in Focus”
Thank you Chris for these encouraging words…just this morning I was feeling guilty for saying “no” of something that was ask of me. I worry about what others may think all the time and I wish I could only tell them what’s going on in my life to why I can not always do what they want. I pray for you and your family often and miss you all.