There are some days when my "to do" list gets so long that I don't even know where to start. This usually happens because I skip a day or two of doing the regularly scheduled tasks. Last week, I pretended that I didn't need to do housework. This week, I looked at my house, looked at my list, and felt frazzled.
I spent my morning running errands (read: avoiding housework), but when I arrived home the disaster was still here to greet me. I still wasn't sure where to start. Laundry was logical, because there's always laundry to be done. But making the decision between bathrooms and vacuuming froze me in my tracks. I did neither.
I decided instead to start with something small. The shoes at the back door had been getting on my nerves, as they were randomly tossed into a huge 60-shoe pile. They were not paired up, they were not in rows, and there was no sense of order. I spent less than 5 minutes putting the shoes in order and instantly felt less frazzled.
I still wasn't ready to tackle an hour-or-longer job, so I headed to the kitchen. I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher. I tidied the counters. I took out the garbage and recycling. This took me about 15 minutes. I looked around and smiled. The sense of urgency and the weight of an overwhelming "to do" list had disappeared.
I even managed to get a couple more tasks done, with no small thanks to my blessing of a childcare provider who also doubles as a laundry putter-awayer.
Yesterday I remembered a few important things about myself. If I feel stressed inside, I need to take a look around me for the source of the chaos. If I don't know where to start, I should do something small but satisfying. Hard work is always easier with a little help. And I don't need to accomplish everything in order to feel that I've accomplished something.
These same truths can be carried into our spiritual lives.
Feeling stressed or anxious? Look around to find the source of the chaos. Is there a Bible sitting on a table covered in dust? Is the TV constantly tuned in? How long has it been since a prayer was uttered?
Don't even know where to start? Start small - say a prayer, open that dusty Bible, read a verse or two, think about what the words mean for you today.
Wondering if it will be too hard to get back on track? Find help! Join a Bible study group so you don't have to go it alone.
Then enemy loves to make us feel too busy. He knows that if we become overwhelmed we will lose sight of the small things. Many of us have a tendency toward "all or nothing" thinking - if I can't get it all done, if I can't do it all right, I may as well not bother. Just remember, you don't have to accomplish everything in order to feel that you've accomplished something. Choose just one small thing, and maybe another. That little accomplishment will be enough to push back the enemy and draw you toward God's peace.