Do you delay things?
Things you need? Like happiness, thankfulness, joy, feeling positive, or liking yourself?
Or maybe you delay using things. Your grandmother’s china. Wearing that new dress. Reading that new book.
Maybe you delay doing things. Stating a new project. Using your talents. Stepping out to serve. Cleaning the house. Thanking the neighbor.
If you are like me, you delay things. Necessary things, little things, good things.
Sure, there is a reason, but probably not a very good reason.
How we delay things. An example.
I tend to be one of those people who when they start something, say cleaning the bathrooms or painting the front door, I don’t want to stop until I am done. And by done, I mean supplies put away and totally done.
There I would be sponge painting my daughter’s room at 12:30 at night, not willing to stop because I had only another two hours left to finish the project. And finish, I did. Though it is hard to clean paint brushes when your eyes are crossing and unfocused from tiredness.
When I am in the middle of a project, I don’t like to be stopped or interrupted. Family members are good for interrupting. My hubby walks in and asks when I am ready for a walk. Walk? I have four more hours before I am done. No breaks allowed.
See what I am doing? I am delaying a needed rest. Delaying play until all the work is done. Delaying the needs of my body.
But I am getting better.
I think partly because when my husband and I do projects together, he stops before his eyes are crossing. If he gets hungry or tried and cranky, he stops. He has no qualms about taking a break and returning when he is refreshed and can do a quality job.
This trait of his used to drive me crazy.
“But we only have two hours left, we can eat and relax then,” I’d whine.
“I’m hungry now,” he’d counter, and then walk off and rest and eat.
I now realize his method is healthier. Less stressful. And produces a better end product.
It also doesn’t involve gritting your teeth and trying to just push through so much.
I now adopt his strategy and take more breaks and am less crabby and worn out by the end of the project.
Before I changed my way of thinking, I saw the breaks as the end reward and unnecessary. Work then play, was my rule. I wanted to reward myself and relax when the project was done. Not before. That was like eating dessert before dinner.
How fear holds us back. Living in fear keeps you from living?
Do you do this?
Let yourself sit down and relax only at the end of the day? Let yourself enjoy your family only after dinner? Get together with girlfriends only on weekends? Go outside and sit in the swinging bench only after you are done doing this and that?
Do you delay taking a trip until you have lost ten pounds? Do you only use your grandmother’s fine tea set when someone really important (and careful) comes over, which hasn’t happened yet, because you are not inviting anyone over until the house get a good spring cleaning?
Do you delay counting your blessings until your life straightens out? Decide not to let yourself be happy until the tests come back negative? Put off stating a family until everything is perfect? Not take that scary step and use your talents to bless others until things all line up? Forgo date nights until the kids are older and the puppy potty trained? Not dream until you have enough money to dream?
What small things and big things are you delaying?
How is fear holding you back?
Have you given up on quiet time as long as you have kids in the house? Delayed being vulnerable until you have it all together? Decided not to love your mate until they love you back? Are you waiting for the other person to apologize first? Waiting until the trial is over before returning to church? Decided not to try counseling until things get seriously bad? Chosen not to deal with the bitterness until it shows on your face? Not set boundaries for yourself until you feel valuable enough?
How to beat fear and start living.
I remember lying in a hospital bed. It was about day 4 of what I didn’t know then would become over 4 months, and a guy walked into the room. He was about my dad’s age and I knew him just a little. He was a quiet kind of guy, the opposite of his wife who lit up a room with her words and personality.
He sat, and we exchanged a few pleasantries. Then silence came and stayed awhile. And then he said, “We often wait for our boat to come in to start being happy or living.”
I nodded, not sure where he was going. Was he talking about himself? His grown children who were having problems? Or what?
I wasn’t waiting for a boat. I was just waiting for lunch, so I could start eating.
He started again after a few minutes. “We often wait for a whole bouquet of flowers to be happy, even though we are already holding a flower or two in our hand.”
I nodded. Boats to bouquets. Still not sure where his talk was headed.
He continued. “We wait and wait for the bouquet, never enjoying the two flowers we already have. Life sometimes goes by and we never get the whole bouquet at once. But when we look back we see we were given the bouquet flower by flower.”
His words hung themselves in my mind.
He wasn’t talking about boats or flowers, he was saying. “Be happy now with what you have. Don’t delay and wait for everything to be just right. Notice and find joy in what you already have.”
He was restating what Solomon said: Find joy in your current life. Eat. Drink. Be merry now.
What are you delaying?
Quit delaying. Start living. Doing. Wearing. Using. Inviting. Changing. Stepping out. Laughing.
Life is meant to be enjoyed.
Use what God has given you. And then bless those around you with your gifts, stuff, and vibrant personality.
Don’t delay living life to the fullest. Start living now.
Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.
P.S. One of the things we tend to delay is rest. You may find this article, Rest For the Soul in the Midst of Dirty Dishes exactly what you need.
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Join the discussion: What is delaying you from living?