Thursday, February 14, 2013

Scuba diving or Snorkelling?

Once upon a time, my husband led the Youth Group at our church. My contribution was to sit down with him three times each year and help him to plan a programme for the next school term. Gordon used to joke and say that once he had put a ‘coin’ into the ‘slot machine’ of my brain he just had to sit quietly and wait for the ideas to drop  out! 

One of the joys, but also one of the pressures of being a ‘creative type’ is that ideas aren’t usually hard to come by. The things that are in short supply is the time and energy to put them into practice, and the wisdom to see which ideas are the ‘diamonds in the rough’, and what are lumps of rubble.

But this year I’m determined that things will be different. This year I have heard about the idea of having ‘one word’ – really … only one …wouldn’t a phrase be better ?… which will guide my choices, instead of having a mile long list of resolutions that I can’t really remember, let alone keep.

I didn’t have far to look for my word. I’d been thinking about it throughout the autumn. FOCUS. Treat your life like a meal in a gourmet restaurant with small portions beautifully presented, rather than an ‘eat all you can’ buffet. Go deep. Learn to ‘scuba dive’ rather than splash along the surface with a snorkel. Explore one coral reef rather than trying to get a picture of the whole ocean.

Sounds simple enough initially doesn’t it, but then the questions come flooding in. What should I focus on? How many areas of my life can I include? What about all those ideas and opportunities for which there isn’t room on my plate? The doors I don’t knock on, the websites I don’t link with, the books I don’t read? Might I miss out on some vital information or lose some influential contacts? Perhaps, although a notebook or file on the computer will at least keep them safe until later.

Joshua made no bones about our freedom to choose and our responsibility to choose wisely. Joshua24:15  .I’ve found it helpful to look at my life under seven headings. I rated spiritual health, physical health and fitness, relationships, career, finances, and  personal well being and development from 1-10. Some scores are alarmingly low, and so I choose to give priority to the three lowest scores for 90 days. Perhaps I can shift my focus to other areas later.

 Mathew 11:28 in the Message sums it up beautifully and Jesus holds out His arms in invitation:
“Come to me … walk with me and work with me … watch how I do it. learn the unforced rhythms of grace … Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

What sized plate are you carrying? Is it overloaded? If so what are you prepared to discard?


  1. Marion, this is beautiful. What lovely imagery. Thanks for sharing. Well chosen word too--FOCUS. Mine is BREATHE - for much of the same reasons!

  2. LOL! Sorry Marion, I actually thought you were Marion Ueckermann! Maybe you'd better add your surname to your profile. :-) Same comments apply. I loved this post.

  3. Great post, English Marion! I'm attempting to do this very thing especially right at this moment.
    Thanks for the timely reminder!

  4. The trouble is, what do you do with all your present committments? I think I'm going into Purdah for lent. Maybe that would solve it.Any ideas people?

  5. Great post!

    My word for the year is SIMPLIFY. It's an acronym as well as a word. The first word in the acronym is "stop" -- Stop and assess each activity and proffered opportunity. Then edit ruthlessly.

    The solution to current commitments is to give everyone notice of a future cutoff date. Wind things down gracefully. It can be done -- not easily -- but it can be done.

    Think of it as cutting out the merely good to make room for the excellent. If it isn't part of your calling from God, then it doesn't belong on your schedule.

  6. Focus is my word fo this year, as well. So thanks for the help.

  7. It's so good to be reminded not to greedily overload one's plate from life's bounteous buffet, but to slow down, be selective, and savour the specifics.