And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
When I sit down with people, more often than not, the conversation comes around to the frustration that life has gotten away from her/him. So many people feel spread so thin, that life itself seems to have taken on a life of its own. We want to scream because we do not have the time to do what we feel called to do. We feel guilt over not having enough time for our children, our spouse, or even with God.
Greg McKeown writes an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled, “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” McKeown affirms that only by doing less, can we do more. He calls it “the clarity paradox.” McKeown quotes from the book “How the Mighty Fall,” by Jim Collins, who says, “one of the key reasons for these failures was that companies fell into ‘the undisciplined pursuit of more.’ It is true for companies and it is true for careers.” I would argue that it is true of our entire life, including our spiritual life.
McKeown encourages the reader to unlock our lives by doing the following three things. “Get started by: Conducting a life audit.” Until you set priorities, you will be forced to say “yes” to everything, because it will all seem to have the same value. Second, you are to focus on “Eliminating an old activity before you add a new one.” I have chosen not to play my guitar regularly because I need to focus on taking that hour and a half for daily exercise. I cannot do both without ignoring my wife, and I am not willing to sacrifice my time with her any more than I already do.
The third issue is “the endowment effect,” which “refers to our tendency to value an item more once we own it.” We own so much. We pay for our cable television, so we need to watch it. We pay for our gym membership, so we better use it. We pay for that music membership, so we better listen to it. I wish people felt the same way about their church pledge. :-)
I pray we will consider these three considerations and how we can get our lives back. There should be time in our lives for work, family, and faith. Too many other things have taken over and we’ve lost our way. Pray for God’s Spirit to guide our path back to having more by possessing less.