Do you ever feel as if you’re accomplishing next to nothing? That in all the busyness of a typical day, maybe only a few things out of many that needed to be done, actually got done? Then helpful people dish out wise quotes that really aren’t that helpful.
We run, and run, and run…and maybe most of the time, it seems as if we’re doing little more than just chasing our tails. Here’s what happened when I actually caught mine.
Lessons from a Friend
My friend was giving me private water aerobics lessons. That way, I would be able to do my water workout without having to attend a class. It could be on my own (crazy) schedule. Which was pretty much where anarchy ruled.
“I have a list as long as your arm,” I panted, as my friend and I huffed and puffed our way through our session of water aerobics. “And there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I need more hours. I need less to do,” I moaned, as my right leg managed to kick its way to the surface a few more times.
I’d been feeling like, no matter how hard I tried, no matter what I did, it wasn’t enough. It was never enough. There was always more being dished onto my already-full plate.
More errands to run. More things to be done at home. More people needing help. More work needing to be done on my website – which, being the technology-impaired creature I was, was a never-ending source of frustration (and still is). There was more research to be done and more posts to be written, more social media, more study and learning…more, more, more. Gaah!
I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t keep up. There was more needing to be done that could possibly be done, at least by me.
I’m sure there are folks out there who could have tackled it all with aplomb. Tech-savvy, organized people whose nature it is to do everything quickly. They know what needs to be done and they knock it out in no time flat – boom, it’s done. I know a few people like that.
My husband and my daughter are two of them. My son and I on the other hand…we ponder things. We move at a slower pace. Even when we’re rushing to do something and going as fast as we can, somehow other members of the family beat us to it.
And what gets my knickers in a bunch is, they shamelessly make it look easy.
Life is a cruel mistress. Or mister.
So there I was, hopping up and down in the pool at the local Y, arms flailing as I struggled to push those Styrofoam dumbbells through the water at the fast pace my friend set (and failing miserably. See what I mean?). And my brain was flailing as well, as I struggled to figure out how to get everything done.
“Can I tell you something?” my friend asked. “It’s something I learned when I was going through the same thing a while ago.”
“Sure,” I panted, thinking she had some foolproof system to impart to me.
“Don’t forget your one percent.”
“It’s a word of advice God gave me one day when I had so much to do and felt like I wasn’t getting much of anything done, and I felt so guilty about it,” she explained. “Obviously, I didn’t hear some deep, audible voice, but it was as if God whispered into my mind, ‘Don’t forget your one percent. Even if you only did one percent of what you thought you needed to do, one percent is still one percent. It counts. It all adds up.’”
Zap! The current ran its course, the connection was made, and I had my light bulb moment.
I stopped my frantic flailing and kicking and stared at her. “That makes perfect sense!” I nearly shouted. “Even if all hell breaks loose in my day and I only accomplish one percent of what needed to be done – or, what I thought needed to be done,” I amended, “if nothing else, I’ve at least done one percent. And that one percent matters to God. And if it matters to God, then it matters. Period.”
Finally. Wise quotes that I could actually use.
About those Wise Quotes
These words of wisdom helped me tremendously in the days that followed, but as often happens in life, eventually, I forgot them.
Until recently. My life has taken a different turn. One that I’ve been working hard towards for two years now as I step out into the big wide world of freelance writing, so it’s a welcome turn. Still, with it comes more challenges and more demands on my time. My schedule has to be rearranged, and some things I used to do have to go.
And with these new challenges, I remembered my friend’s wise words: Remember the one percent.
Lately, this same friend has — this time unknowingly — imparted another tidbit of wisdom and revelation. Not long ago, I heard her pray, “Thank you, God, for this moment. This moment. Right now.”
Oh, my goodness, how often do any of us do that? There may be some people out there who are in the habit of constantly stopping and reveling in the moment they’re in and being thankful for it.
But I’d wager that most don’t.
In my fast-paced, run-through-the-day-like-my-hair’s-on-fire type of life, I didn’t.
Sure, for years I’ve had my quiet, calm, devotional time in the mornings. But then the rest of the day I’d be flying around like the proverbial bat out of hell, very rarely stopping and just…being. And appreciating the moment I was in. This moment.
Get off the Road to Nowheresville
Next time you’re in a panic because there’s so much to do and you’re absolutely certain the world will end tomorrow if you don’t get it all done, stop.
Put your brain in reverse, back up, and turn off that rutted road filled with washouts and potholes. Turn and head down the better road. It may be narrow and difficult at times, but at least it’s navigable.
Then remember your one percent.
And while you’re passing through, pull off the road for a sec and look around you. Breathe deeply, and appreciate the moment you’re in.