You. Can’t. Do. Everything.

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You can’t do everything. Easy to say, right? But there comes a moment when you finally have to decide, push the implementation button, say no, cancel the reservation, turn in the ticket, check the decline box, text a “no thank you” to an invitation, and then admit to yourself and those around you that you can’t do everything.

Why is it is so hard to say that we can’t do everything?

There are the obvious psychological explanations, that we’re trying to fill an empty spot in our lives with activity, or we’re trying to secure some degree of self-esteem by seeking out the praise and favor of others, or perhaps our busyness is simply a distraction from our personal emptiness and existential dread, afraid that if we sit still for two minutes we might be swallowed up by a black hole of nothingness. Whew! (Those French existentialists were on to something.)

I suspect, however, that it’s something else. Sometimes trying to do everything comes from a place of love. Love moves us to be with others, and so we want to say yes, buy the ticket, make the trip, attend the party, and do one more thing before closing out the day. To say no means loss. And there’s no getting around it, it’s easy for others to personalize our RSVP of “no” into a feeling of rejection or abandonment.

Even so, you still can’t do everything.

Take a Breath today. There’s a passage in the Bible that says, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” That’s a poetic way of saying that there’s a time to say yes and a time to say no, and making those discernments is part of what it means to be in relationship with others. And it’s also part of what it means to be in relationship with our inner spirit. Sometimes the inner spirit needs to stay home.

 

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