I was reading a blog post by Penelope Trunk. I don’t know if you have ever read her stuff. She is pretty provocative and outrageous most times, but seems to touch a nerve in society, as she gets 100’s of comments and responses.
She wrote a post earlier this week about women trying to “do it all”. She has basically come to the conclusion that we can’t! She says we have choices….we can choose….but we can’t do it all.
Here is an excerpt from her post:
I got tons of complaints from women who are pregnant and say their passion for startups will be undaunted by having kids. But really, this is what they wish. These women wish they fit in everywhere. Women wish they were being pushed out instead of just stepping to the side. Women want to feel they can do everything, but we can’t.
Look, we know the baby boomers failed at work-life balance. We know it doesn’t exist. So let’s just start talking about things that are real. You can have a rip-roaring career in a great big city or you can have a goat on your driveway climbing on your car. You can’t have both. You can have kid-centered days or you can have career-centered days. You can’t have both. Let’s just stop lying to ourselves because it’s not helping anyone.
All we can do is reframe. We can say that we are so lucky to have all these choices. We can choose what we want, we just can’t choose everything.
Reading this reminded me of the conclusion I came to about 10 years ago. I was working in the corporate world. I had three young children. I thought I was doing it all!
Then something happens. A crisis of sorts. And the house of cards comes crumbling down. You think you can do it all as long as every thing goes according to plan. But it never does forever.
That’s what happened to me.
What We Can Do
Over the past decade, with the help of God, I learned two incredible principles.
Principle #1: We must have margin in our lives. Margin is the room at the side of the page…it’s extra savings for financial margin…or planned free time for time margin….or quiet time with God for emotional margin. I have written a lot about margin, here and here. One thing I have learned is that we need to have room to adjust in the face of calamity. Big crisis can be managed with enough margin. Tiny emergencies grow huge, without margin.
Principle #2: There is a season for everything under the sun. King Solomon, the wisest man to live, finally figured this out. In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, King Solomon explains that we will experience everything under the sun at our appropriate time. For some reason, as humans, we try to rush it. We want it all and we want it now. We do try to do it all!
Do We Choose or Let God
The second principle is the first thing I thought of when I read Penelope’s post. Yes, we can choose in our own strength. I still believe though that there is room for us to do all of the things God has planned for us.
As a Christian, I believe that God has our path planned. If we can try to listen and follow, (my biggest challenge), then we may get them in His order and get the chance to experience starting a family and starting a business. Penelope is Jewish. I used to be. I was raised Jewish. The problem I had when I was Jewish was an illusion that I was in control…..of everything. It wasn’t until I found Christ that I learned the truth.
What If We Just Followed Him
We have free will to mess up stuff and to make things more difficult than they have to be. Or maybe even sometimes that is God’s plan to help me learn. But, what if we just followed Him. Purely. Without question.
Would the Spirit lead us through the seasons of life, walking us through the mine fields of this world, keeping us whole and allowing us to experience it all…in time?
Can we have the patience and the will power to give up our will to Him?
I am doing much better on this journey. In turn, I have had a few calamities diverted….handled a crisis or two with more dignity….experienced God’s amazing mercy and grace.
I have also been raising three kids and opened a business.
I wish I could say it has been with confidence and strength. But in actuality, that wouldn’t be true. I am just following now. Trying not to psych myself out. Is it God’s plan or my will? Can I please have a flashing sign Lord?
Or as Mother Theresa says (paraphrased) “if we have faith, we wouldn’t need a flashing sign”.
How about you? Do you think Penelope is right and we just have to make a choice? Or do you think it just depends on God’s plan and whether or not we choose to mess it up?