I have recently been thinking a lot about how “noisy” my life has become (again). I feel like there are more than a dozen initiatives both work and non-work related that are all going on simultaneously. Some days I lay my head down feeling like I really have a grip on these things, and sometimes I feel like I’m nowhere close. I spent a good part of last year coming up with a “stop doing” list, as well as a “continue doing” & “start doing” list. This proved to be most helpful in prioritizing all areas of my life based on doing the things that only I could do, and things I could be the BEST at. However, when these things were completed (or delegated, or stopped) I really feel like I went back to living my usual day-to-day busy life. So, now it seems I’m back to the drawing board again with my time/priority management.
This reminds me of a theory that I think stands true for everyone. We are ALL surrounded by noise coming from all over (culture, media, work, family, etc). There is NO possible way to constantly be “adding to the noise” and expect to have a clear vision for what God would have us do. So I think before we add anything else to our life, we need to decide what is MOST important in the grand scheme of God’s plan. Secondly, we need to ask this question: What can I remove (or say “no” to) that will allow me to give my ALL to what really matters? My theory on this is actually based on stage lights (hang with me all my non-tech friends). There is really no amount of colored light that can truly penetrate with the desired intensity when mixed with the same amount of “white” light. The only real way to create this amazing colorful display is to actually remove or relocate some of the white lights.
I think this theory can directly apply to our lives. The more we try to be “all things to all people”, the less we are to everyone. The more we try to read all the latest books/blogs, the less we derive from each one. The more information we give to people form the platform (not talking about the sermon, I’m talking about information, announcements, etc.), the less they really hear. As leaders of God’s church, I think this theory is especially true for us. We need to remove the unnecesary “noise” in our own lives, and focus on the calling that God has place on our lives with ALL that we have! Secondly, we need to be very strategic and respectful in how we relay information to the congregation on Sundays. Less is certainly more, and simple (even though harder to pull off) is better. (We all know people check out after a couple of sentences anyway right?)
This is NOT to say that we need simply say “no” to everything either! As Craig Groschel says in his book Weird “we must say no to the GOOD things, so that we can get to the BEST things”. If my wife and I need a date night, then I might have to say no to a double date with friends (even if it is hard to do). The problem is not in the tension itself, but rather in how we manage it. Every decision (including time) should be a spiritual one. God has called us as leaders to be able to discern what things are BEST and what things are slightly less important in the grand scheme of life. We must also figure out what is the MOST important information to share with our congregation. There is a point we can end up saying nothing at all without including some details, but we can obviously overwhelm them to a point where our voice is also silent just as easily.
So…where do I go from here? I’m not sure about you, but the first thing I’m going to do is pray that God would show me these key elements:
1-What are the most important things to God, and how can I help with these initiatives?
2-What are things in my life currently that are not essential to carrying out God’s call on my life?
Lastly I’m going to compose a new “Stop, Start, Continue” list to “remove the noise” from my life.
*What about you…
1-When is the last time you examined the “noise” in your life?
2-What has became so LOUD in your life, that it has taken president over the most important things?
3-Could you benefit from a “Stop, Start, Continue” list?