A couple of weeks ago I quit something in favor of my marriage and family. It wasn’t smoking, gambling, or drinking – though I am on a temporary hiatus from my beloved wine and cocktails while I incubate our third child. I quit something that I loved, something that was important to me. I’d been volunteering with an organization called Strip Church Seattle, helping out behind the scenes with some of their social media needs. This is a group of women I believe in wholeheartedly and have loved supporting. I didn’t quit because they had become demanding or overbearing; they are gracious and kind. I quit because I suddenly remembered something that I had forgotten.
Sometimes you have to say “No” to good things so that you can say “Yes” to great things.
It broke my heart to quit, and somehow at the same time, I felt like I could breathe a little easier to have one less thing on my plate. As it is, the time I spend in front of the computer has become more and more limited with two little girls and one more on the way. I’m busier than I’d like to believe as a stay-at-home-mom. We all are, aren’t we? We try to fill our lives with good things and before we know it, our lives are unbalanced and lack focus.
Jim Collins says in his classic business strategy book, Good to Great, that “Good is the enemy of great.” When things are good in life we have a natural tendency to settle in. We like good. Good is comfortable and pleasing. It is usually not until things are bad that we change or look for something better. In that way, Collins is absolutely right. Instead of pursuing greatness, we settle for things that are simply good.
I want a great family, a great marriage. I want great friendships. I want to produce great and helpful things for you, the #staymarried readers. I also want great skin and great hair, but those seem to fall just a little lower on the list of greats that I’m after. So, I’m thinking if I narrow down my list to those few things I want to be great, it is much easier to take stock of where I spend my time and edit things out, good and not-so-good things, so that I can devote my energy to making the important things great.
So, I’m taking stock. I’m looking at my calendar and I’m looking at the things I spend the most time and energy on.
I’m not going to sign my kids up for a million activities this fall, as fun as they all sound, because I don’t want to spend my limited time with them as preschoolers carting them to and from things that are merely good. I want our days to have flexibility. I want them to have a mom that is not so frazzled. I want this time I have with them before they go into elementary school to be great!
I’m not going to keep telling people I have time to take on new projects because I’m “just a stay-at-home mom.” I’m really not sure where I picked up that lie, but it is a lie. As a mom and wife, I am actually much busier than I was when I was working full time in an office. I’m going to allow that to sink in and reject the guilt I normally inhale for not volunteering for more good things.
I’m not going to pretend I’m working on my marriage just because I write a blog about marriage. Instead, I’m going to ask my husband what he wants more of and how we can be more connected. I’m going to give him my undivided attention when he’s talking instead of pretending there is a deadline on the dishes in the sink.
Autumn is quickly approaching. It’s a time when even the trees slough off leaves that they once spent the energy to grow. Is this a season for editing? Is there something you need to quit? One of my favorite authors, Bob Goff, says he quits something every Thursday. I don’t know that I’m going that far. But, it was on a Thursday that I quit volunteering for something I loved and have since opened up my heart to the wonderful things I really want to focus on in my life. I quit something that became a distraction and now I’m going to put more effort into my life as a friend, as a mother, and as a wife. I quit so I can do more to #staymarried.