Friday, January 22, 2010

ReRun: What to do when you are overwhelmed

They’re expanding a road in my town. It’s a big deal around these parts. After all, we only have one stoplight in our entire county. They want to straighten out the road some, bypassing the town and the ensuing stoplight. Because it holds traffic up, you know.

They have one little teeny tiny problem, though. There is a mountain in the way. Well, a high hill really, but it sounds better to say they are trying to move a mountain. I drive by this construction site every time I go in to town, so I have been watching this hill’s demise with great interest.

Know how you move a mountain? One bucket full at a time. They pick up a load of rock and soil and dump it into a dump truck. When the truck is full, it drives away and they start the process over.

And in time, the mountain is disappearing.

I have been thinking of the application of this in our lives. Sometimes we feel so disorganized that we are paralyzed. We cannot even move because our whole life is in chaos. The baby isn’t sleeping, the kids are disobeying, and your husband has begged you to please not serve cereal for dinner again.

Trust me — I’ve been there. I have a to do list longer than my arm. I don’t even want to admit in public how long it’s been since I’ve corrected some subjects in school. I have to set the cell phone’s alarm to remember to give Mercy her medicine or I totally forget.

Sometimes I sit in my chair, look at the piles all around me, and wonder where to even start.

Then I remember — one bucket full at a time. I start at the first thing. Then hit another. Or change a diaper. Or break up a squabble. Then go to the next. One thing at a time — one bucket full at a time — and eventually some of it gets done.

It never all gets done. I doubt I’ll have that until the children all move out. By then I’ll have grandchildren, so it still won’t get done, I’ll bet. But if I do just one bucket at a time, something will get done. And that will have to be enough.

Pick the most frustrating thing in your day — what derails you for the rest of the day? Start there. Work on that one thing. When that is done, pick another bucket. Sooner or later, you’ll look back and realize the mountain has been moved.

One bucket at a time.

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