The One Necessary Thing

Lately it seems I move between anxiety and depression.

I am nagged by the constant feeling that I am not using my time wisely. The thought does not help me to do so. It simply leaves me overwhelmed, floundering, feeling guilty, unproductive. I see all of the things I have to do and all of the things I can do, yet when I try to decide what to do I wind up exhausted. Even now as I write this, I begin to fade into that weary lethargic angst that seems to encompass my days.

I believe I have misunderstood the story of the one necessary thing (see Luke 10:38-42). What a relief then to have a thought pierce my turmoil this past week!

It is this; the one necessary thing is, well, everything.

Let me explain.

Forward thinking. Being goal oriented. Strategic planning. Purpose driven. Task lists. Resolutions. Multitasking. Time management. All strategies for success according to self-help books and life coaches everywhere. And all of them may push one towards success (though it is important to determine exactly what defines success).

Regardless, they all have something in common in that they tend to keep me focused on what is next rather than on what is right in front of me at this moment.

The dishes need done. That is what I am to do now rather than rushing through them so that I can get to the vacuuming and the host of other endless tasks that follow. 

I eat too fast. I enjoy food but is it any wonder I have digestion issues when I am not fully present to the table, to what I am eating and who I am eating with. I rush through the meal to get to what is next.

I compartmentalize my tasks into responsibilities, creative things, social, spiritual, and/or “fun” things. But I rarely enjoy any of them because I am too busy thinking of whichever one I should or could be doing rather than what I am doing at the moment. As if some are more important than others. They ALL are important. Equally.

For an overachiever like me, that is actually a huge relief. I am to do what I am doing. Being overly focused on the next task leaves me closed to the still small voice, to the divine interuption that seeks to interject itself into my day. If I let it. So rather than do so, I stay busy, even if not physically moving, in my chaotic brain and my heart, to avoid the peace that passes all understanding.

All I have to accomplish is that which is before me. I can plan ahead but I must not become too attached to what is next. I do not hold the future.

But I know Who does. It is my hope that will be enough.

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