Callings and Accomplishments // overcoming the crippling weight of stress

Life is hard.

(As Sarah blows us away by stating the obvious…)

It’s 2 o’ clock. It’s Thursday. And I’m staring at my keyboard, knowing full well that a blog post should have been published an hour ago, even though I’ve only just started writing one.

So much for preparedness.

I have four unfinished paintings in my portfolio, an art teacher whom I promised I’d keep up with but haven’t, and a handful of sketches I’m supposed to finish for a client but can’t because life, man, life.

So much for improving.

My To-Be-Read list is a mile high and I have borrowed-books that need to be returned, but I’m only 50 pages into the first one because who has time for reading when there’s so much OTHER stuff that needs to be done?

So much for completing my Goodreads goal.

My stupid book languishes in four major plot holes, but I haven’t worked on it in almost a week because even when I’m not preoccupied with blogging or emailing or reading or whatnot, my poor brain is so fried from writers’ block that it’s not even funny.

So much for NaNoWriMo giving me a head-start.

College classes have deposited my mind and soul in the era of Aristotle and Homer, but I barely retain anything I’m learning because my focus is simultaneously heading in three different directions, each one promising to be more important than the rest.

So much for improving my mind.

The list goes on and on and on, stretching into an eternity of selling my soul to writing. And it bothers me; it bothers me that I can’t be on top of life, that I haven’t kept up with my commitments, that these comparatively trivial things cause way more stress than I’m ready to admit. It bothers me that even though I feel like my mind is caught in a time-loop of never-ending busyness, I haven’t actually accomplished anything.

I look at this massive list of to-do’s and won’t-ever-do’s, feeling the weight of my creative endeavors crushing me like the garbage compactor in Star Wars. And yet the fact remains: If I haven’t done any of this stuff, what have I been doing with my all-too-precious time?

I honestly have no clue.

But when I look at the list…

There’s so much to be done.

Which leads to being cripplingly overwhelmed. Which leads to throwing in the towel and not doing any of it. Which leads to starting the vicious cycle all over again.

Welcome to the perfectionist’s mind: If I can’t do ALL OF IT RIGHT NOW, I’m a failure.

In short — perfectionists are stupid.

(As Sarah blows us away by stating the obvious AGAIN…)

In the time it’s taken for me to write this far, here’s the stunning conclusion I’ve come to: God called me to be a writer, just as He calls some to become missionaries, or pastors, or doctors, or electricians, or undertakers. But that’s just it: GOD called ME.

God didn’t call my writing.

God didn’t call my blog.

God didn’t call my art.

GOD called ME to serve him with my whole heart, my whole life, and my whole attitude.

And as God called me, so I must follow. I’m required to serve him through my talents, and that means toil. He wants me to bust my brain at something, even when I don’t necessarily feel like it. He wants me to persevere in my chosen path, even when discouragement gets me down and the fear of failure cripples me. He wants me to work hard at what I do and never give up, no matter what obstacles block my path.

But He doesn’t want me to be so consumed with my calling that I forget the One who called me to it.

Writing is important to me, and will remain so. But in the grand scheme of life, writing is only as important as the things I sacrifice to become a better writer. If I sacrifice spending time with my family, will that make me a better writer in God’s eyes? If I sacrifice the development of my mind, will that make me a better writer in God’s eyes? If I sacrifice spending time in prayer and His word, will that make me a better writer in God’s eyes?

If you answered those questions with an emphatic NO, then you deserve a gold star.

As a wise friend told me when she fell prey to my whining, “Time isn’t measured in sequential distance — it’s measured in moments of eternal value. It doesn’t matter how fast or efficiently you climb the ladder if the ladder’s leaning against the wrong wall.”

(Thank you, Kate Flournoy, for unwittingly making a guest appearance. You’re inspirational, darling.)

So you know what I’m gonna do?

I’m gonna publish this blog post before I have time to overthink how lacking it is in the snark department. And once that’s done, I’ll pick up my to-do list again, and ignoring everything on it but the first thing, I’ll do that thing. Even if I don’t get the whole list done. Even if those four half-finished paintings stay unpainted, even if I only read 20 pages today, even if I only write 100 words for my book.

The Lord doesn’t care how much we accomplish, as long as we do it with the right heart — and do it for Him.

Life is hard.

But putting one foot in front of the other, taking one step at a time, focusing on what is directly in front of me, I shall conquer.

Not immediately.

But definitely.

~Sarah

 

Thank you for bearing with me through this random and scattered rambling of mine. It began as a rant-style outpouring of frustration over the fact that I had no clue what to post about, and somewhere along the line became the actual post.

Don’t ask me how that happened.

 

46 thoughts on “Callings and Accomplishments // overcoming the crippling weight of stress

  1. Well, you wrote a blog post in 36 minutes. That’s pretty impressive in and of itself.

    And I know how you feel . . . completely . . . today especially.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. #PERFECTIONISTSUNITE

    Sweetheart, you always seem to come out of these things with a new philosophy and the right mindset and lesson learned to drive you forward. That must mean they have a purpose. Duh duh duh, but yay. You’re inspirational.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You guys can all thank me she was motivated to finish this blog post at all. As she and I both know, she only focused on this to have an excuse to ignore my prattling conversation elsewhere. *pointed look*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also, guys, please don’t take naps if an alligator is loose in your house. This is another thing Kate and I both know.

      (Seriously though, Kate — I would message you, and then write a sentence, and then message you, and write a sentence. I’m fairly certain that’s the only reason I got through this. XD)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, alligators are just nasty. This is important to remember folks.

        WELL YAY FOR UNINTENTIONAL ENCOURAGEMENT. #authorgoals #authorshelpingauthors #whydoesthissoundlikeafeministslogan

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hear hear!!!!
    This is SO mind blowing true. Like, seriously. Life y’all. It seems to target our goals in an effort to cast it into the great abyss of forever incompletement.
    Isn’t it so awesome that we have a GOD who overlooks all our weaknesses and insufficientness, a God who loves us and calls us to the field?
    Chrisitans have the best calling, because we work for the eternal. And no matter how many times we fail, we have a God who never fails, no matter how weak we are, we have a God who is our strength, no matter what crazyness life throws at us – our GOD is GREATER!!!!!!

    (PS. Some of you Grammer folk may question a few words I used up there, let me say that those are indeed real words, trust me, I’m edumacated πŸ˜‚).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, I want to say something in reply, but everything about this entire comment is so perfectly complete on it’s own that I’m just sitting here grinning and nodding mutely.

      He’s something else, isn’t He?

      Liked by 2 people

  5. *winces* Ouch.
    From one perfectionist to another, I can say that hurt.
    That hurt really bad.
    So thank you for that necessary and providentially timed reminder to slow down and focus on one thing at a time. It certainly isn’t easy… but with God’s help, all things are possible. πŸ˜€
    “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post, Sarah. Very relatable.

    Isn’t it great to know that other people have struggles similar to yours, and that you’re not the only one? That even if a person hasn’t experienced a problem, someday they might and a lot of other people have probably struggled with the same thing?

    Sorry. That went a little deep. Though I’m not feeling stress at the moment, other life-struggles are trying to clobber me and yes, I agree, life is hard. But God is good. <33

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, thank you so much for this post, Sarah. It was so refreshing and TRUE and, sadly, relatable. I’m not as much of a perfectionist as I used to be, but I still get overly stressed about my to-do list, whether I’m completing the things perfectly or not because I can SO relate to this: “It bothers me that even though I feel like my mind is caught in a time-loop of never-ending busyness, I haven’t actually accomplished anything.” Why does it always feel like this? *facepalm*
    But this is so helpful to remember when life threatens to overflow my neat little boxes: “He doesn’t want me to be so consumed with my calling that I forget the One who called me to it.”
    Anyway, thank you for going ahead and publishing this post because I kinda needed to read it. πŸ™‚ If you’re ever almost out of time to post and have to write down some more thoughts like this… I wouldn’t be opposed. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yaaay, I’m so glad this encouraged you! I felt like such a mess while writing it, lol. I guess that just goes to show that God can use us even — especially — when we feel like we’re at our worst. πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I also happen to be a perfectionist, blogger, and writer, and, let me tell you, the struggle is REAL. I did a blog post recently about my overwhelming busyness, but didn’t get as real or deep as you. And I LOVED how real you got! I really needed to hear it.πŸ˜‚ Also, that quote is beautiful! Will be using it in the future.πŸ‘πŸΌ

    Liked by 1 person

  9. WELCOME TO THE STRESSFUL REALM OF LAST MINUTE/OVERDUE RANT POSTS, THE CLOSEST TO HELL YOU CAN GET ON EARTH.

    this is such a great post to read because i think all of us have been here, with 19843867 different things vying for attention. and it’s also great to see what it’s like on the other side, because i’m so used to being like, ‘omg im a failure and no one else gets posts out late and ranty like me sob sob complain complain.’

    ALSO: PRODUCTIVITY IS ONLY HELPFUL IF YOU’RE WITH THE RIGHT STATE OF MIND AND THAT IS SOMETHING WE ALL FORGET SO THANKS FOR THE REMINDER πŸ’›πŸ’›

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, it’s been rather eye-opening to get 15+ comments from people all dying because they struggle with this exact same thing. Like, holy cow, people. This is one big party of overly-stressed creatives commiserating over shared tales of woe, and if that isn’t amazing, I don’t know what is. Just the encouragement of knowing everyone does this and none of us are alone in our various states of disaster… πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Thanks Sarah. I need needed this today. Sometimes it’s very difficult to see the hows and whys of things. It’s hard to just focus on one thing when you’ve got things swirling around you that need to be completed. I’ve been trying to remember lately that God will NOT give me more than I can handle. He knows what I need, and he knows how to take care of me. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. AMEN. When God gives us more than we think we can take care of, it’s because He wants us to trust HIM to help us take care of it.

        Also, “need needed this” made me laugh so hard and totally made my day. We’ve all been there before… #TiredBrainTypos

        Liked by 2 people

  11. I really felt like this post spoke to me, because I’m in a big slough of schoolwork right now, and I’m trying to keep my head straight.

    A prayer that I’ve used in the past (and need to do so more often) is “God, help me to do what I can, and I’ll entrust what I don’t do to you, so you can take care of it.”
    (hopefully that made sense, because it’s not very poetic but whatever.)

    Anyways, thank you for sharing this with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man. School — AKA, The Endless Pit of Time Slavery. I feel ya. πŸ˜–

      That’s a great prayer! My mother often encourages me to do the same — we can only do what we can do, and stressing out about the things beyond our capability definitely ISN’T trusting God. I’m so glad this encouraged you!!

      Like

  12. Heh. Thank you for reading my mind today. Much appreciated *nods* It’s definitely a struggle to accept that God’s idea of “productiveness” and our idea of it is usually VERY different πŸ˜›

    (and you’re in the world of Homer and Aristotle too?! My classes are focusing on Thucydides this week and then I’ll be getting to Plato…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whew, you’re tellin’ me, sister. I don’t know why these things are so hard to get into our heads…

      And heyyy, yes! You’re reading these guys too? *much happiness* I actually just finished reading a bunch of Thucydides — that man is intense. 😡

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He was xD I just started Plato this past week. The conversation between Ion and Socrates on art and inspiration was interesting!

        Like

  13. I dunno why I haven’t followed your blog before now or even read it, but I’m glad I found the link and mad at myself for not finding this gem of a blog- and this gem of a post sooner. Life is killing me, and that’s practically what I mention on my blog all the time. XD But man, this is home so deep. Thankya for writing it. πŸ™‚

    (Also, you’re a writer, homeschooler, sassy snarky LOTR fan too? Have I just found a kindred spirit? :D)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HELLO, NEW FOLLOWER PERSON! Kindred spirit!! Snarky homeschooler LotR fan!!! I THINK I LIKE YOU!!

      *resists the use of more exclamation points*

      But, seriously, I’m glad this could help you in some small way. It’s pretty awesome to see my stressed out rant encourage so many people.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Boot camp of God’s grace.. I like that, may I steal it???
    I am a chronic perfectionist, and have been trying to learn to lay that down and just serve God as well as I can at this point in my maturity, and rest on the peace of His sanctification.
    Oh is it hard!
    Not sure how that is relevant to your post lol.
    I am always so encouraged by your posts.
    πŸ’—

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m so sorry that you’re so stressed. If you have to put things aside to make room for more important things, then feel free to not answer this comment indefinitely.

    Maybe you should plan out times of day for each thing? That way you can get a bit of everything done. πŸ™‚

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s