On Not Doing It All (or, why I haven't been writing)


I sometimes get the impression that we humans are embarrassed that we are finite creatures.

We are constantly apologizing for things we have not gotten done, or trying to improve our weaknesses, or hiding the parts of ourselves we feel are inadequate. We feel like we should have infinite capacities to improve and accomplish and create.

But there is only one Being who is Infinite. It's not us. And friends, that's not something to feel bad about. That's something to receive as a gift.

We weren't made to do it all. {Thanks be to God.}


I haven't written in this space for awhile.

I have wanted to write. I have felt like I should write. I have felt guilty that I wasn't writing. But none of those feelings led to actually writing.


Because I didn't have it in me.

Life in these months has been the way it is for most of us: full. Full of family and work and emotions and thoughts and friendships and tasks. Margin has been thin and something had to give.

Here's what I want to say out loud, though: I could have done it. I'm certain I would be embarrassed if I actually summed up the  time I spent playing Candy Crush and watching Netflix and scrolling Facebook. It's not like I was using all my spare moments to do things that improved my mind or supported my family or added goodness to the world.

I could have done more. And yet, I couldn't.  Because I am finite. I sometimes run out of brain power or emotional capacity or time management skills, and that is okay.

It is okay when we reach a limit.


I once heard someone challenge us to rethink how we perceive the word balance when we talk about how to find it in our lives.

He pointed out that we often think about life balance like the scales in our elementary school science class. It feels like putting weights on one side and then the other until the sides are even and the teetering slows and the whole thing settles into a peaceful state of rest.

Often, we can't actually find that restful balance when we think this way. Life feels more like running back and forth figuring out where to place each weight so we can keep our precarious lives from tipping over.

It's exhausting and impossible.

But if we visualize instead a teeter-totter, there are actually two ways to achieve balance. One is to put equal weight on each side. The other is to move the fulcrum point towards whichever side is heavier.

The fulcrum point moves to different places in different seasons of our lives. We can neither control what life throws our way nor the weight those things carry. But we can move towards whatever requires more of us and find balance there.

We weren't made to do it all. {Thanks be to God.}


I debated about whether to write about not writing. It's not something I'm supposed to do according to blogging rules.

And yet, it feels right. In a world where we've gotten so good at embracing authentic conversation about our hopes and emotions and dreams and fears, I also hope we can embrace authentic conversation about our humanity and limits and finite capacities.

Saying out loud that we can't do it all is a gift we can give to others and to ourselves.

Let's say it more often.


My Guest Post Confessional

  Today, I make a confession.


But it's not on this site. It's through a guest post for my friend Steve Wiens. His blog is wonderful. Even the name, "Actual Pastor: living my life as is instead of as if," breathes words of grace. Awhile back, he had a post about being the parent of young kids that sent the Internet into a tizzy of shares and likes because the words were so needed. Seriously, if you haven't read it, and you are a parent, do so now.


Anyway, I open up a bit today, admitting some "as is" stuff about myself. Here's a tidbit:

human beings not human doings

I am addicted to achievement.

It started when I was a high school student. I worked hard and got straight A’s. When that happened, I felt good about myself. Really good. There was something thrilling about knowing I did my best. And getting a score from someone else that proved I was succeeding? Well, that was like a drug.

I brought the addiction with me to college, where my first major was biomedical engineering. Somewhere inside I think I figured the harder the major, the harder the job, and the better the fix I would find for my craving.

But then, as God took hold of my life, I switched from engineering to social work, and then, after some turns of events, wound up in ministry.

I thought when I switched directions, I left my addiction behind.

I didn’t.


Read the rest here.