You know that saying, “How do you eat an elephant? ………. On bite at a time.”? Life is like that.
I find myself at work overwhelmed with tasks. What should take five minutes ends up taking fifteen. What should take fifteen ends up taking an hour. 200 unread email messages in my Inbox. I devote an hour to work through them. My reward: 192 unread messages (because so many keep coming in).
I’ve been here before. About two years ago I was staring at my ever enlarging Inbox. It was in the neighborhood of about 350 unread messages. I felt my throat thicken. I started to immediately sweat and quite profusely. My lungs shrunk. It was a full on panic attack.
I slammed shut my laptop, slid away from the desk in my home office, and staggered into bed, all the while trying to hide the tears from my wife.
I still get anxious – and perturbed and frustrated and exhausted – but now I do two things when those feelings rear their ugly heads. The first is remind myself to put it all in perspective. There are only 24 hours in a day, there is a quantifiable limit to how much I can do, and no matter how much I try to get done, I will never be ‘caught up’. Besides, I decided a long time ago that work does not define me, and I refuse to sacrifice my time with my kids or my wife for the sake of getting one more task completed.
The second thing I do is pray. I’ve written about this before, and the tenants hold true. There is no point in drowning yourself in anxiety, and there’s a freedom in surrendering to God. God provides and God knows what’s best for us. It’s when we try to do it all ourselves that we falter, and it’s only in taking our burdens to Him – be they work issues, home issues, personal doubts – that we find relief from them.
So when you sit at the dinner table, and the main course is one giant elephant, just remember: one bite at a time.