When you were growing up did you ever play the game Mercy? Someone would grasp your hands and then twist them to an ungodly angle until you yelled “MERCY” and they were supposed to let go.
Well today is my day to shout “MERCY!”
I went on vacation recently and was amazed by how I felt. I was the very best version of myself. I’d wake up easily and with a smile on my face—my mind a running newsfeed of joy and gratitude. I was amazed at how beautiful the world was and how free I felt inside of it.
I came home from vacation light and free and ready to take on the world.
Fast forward two days later and I’m already crying at work. Frustrated by the length of my to-do list and the litany of promises I was locked into, tears were streaming out and curse words weren’t far behind.
A co-worker stopped me in the hallway at work, concerned, and asked me how he could pray for me.
“Rest? Peace of mind?”
I laughed and spoke fast, trying to get back to my desk and the pile of things I had left there, and said “um… if you wanted to pray for me to be able to set some priorities, that’d be great,” before I thanked him and hurried off to find some coffee.
A few hours later, one of my friends approached me. She began to list off all of the things I’m working on and gently (but firmly) told me that if I keep trying to do everything, I’m going to burn out fast.
My leadership class at Adventures in Missions echoed the same thing.
“Tomorrow’s Thursday,” one of them reminded me… “quit something,” she said quoting Bob Goff’s famous weekly ritual.
But I felt stuck. I loved everything I was doing. Everything seemed too important and too wonderful to cut something out.
And so Carl took me straight home and handed me a huge piece of paper.
“Write” he told me as he tossed me a marker.
With his help, I began to make a list of all of my priorities and commitments.
Just the list of categories reached all the way across my bedroom.
Then he handed me another marker and told me to put them in order, “if one is good, 10 isn’t better,” he pointed out.
By the end of the night I hadn’t eliminated anything, but I finally understood that I needed to.
Being so busy, I don’t feel like the best version of myself. I’m a frantic version of myself – one who will quite literally run you over if you accidentally get in my way.
And so this morning I took a step in the right direction.
I woke up early and went on a walk. I walked around my apartment complex in circles, talking to Jesus and sorting some things out in my head.
I realized I’ve built some identity around being able to do it all. And so making cuts feels scary and counter-intuitive in every way.
But if I continue to try to do all of the things I want to do, I’ll do none of them well. And that’s not what I want.
So for this summer, no more guest posting (you may see something from me here or there, but it was written before I drew a line in the sand). I’m giving myself one more day to finish as much as I possibly can, and then it’s time for a break. I’m going to be writing for The Lipstick Gospel exclusively and sharing my best thoughts and ideas in the space that matters most to me.
I’m going to be spending more time doing the things that matter most with the people who matter most.
So here it is… “MERCY!!”
What are your priorities these days?