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A quieter day is not coming

I have been really enjoying doing church online during lockdown. Our church has done some ‘socially distanced’ interviews with various members of the congregation finding out how they are coping with lockdown.  Last week the vicar interviewed an elderly lady living in a retirement village. She told us how generally she’d been enjoying lockdown and the space and time she was enjoying not having to go out to bingo, Wednesday club, bowls, home group and the various charities she visits that make up her weekly activity. Then she went onto say that she had thought that since all that had been stripped down because of lockdown, there was going to be loads of time to do some of the things she’d always wanted to do – more reading, sorting her house out, gardening etc.

But it had transpired that really, she was busier than ever – what with keeping up with friends – and making those calls to people she wanted to support, and check were OK. Then there were the endless emails to deal with and reply to, and what with a bit of gardening and her prayer and Bible study, there really was little time for anything else. She certainly hadn’t got anywhere near sorting out her kitchen cupboards which she’d really wanted to do!

I wonder what your experience has been like. Whether you’ve been on the front line working perhaps harder than ever before, or you’ve been furloughed (with the worry that can bring) or you’re not working but haven’t been able to get out, I expect many of us may have experienced some of what the lady my vicar interviewed expressed.

My point here is that a quieter day is not coming! I think many of us think it is. We think something like this “It’ll be quieter at  x point (whether that’s next week, when the children have grown up, when I’ve completed this work project, when I’ve retired, when…… you fill in the blank) but the reality is life really isn’t like that. If life doesn’t become radically quieter in lockdown for someone who wasn’t working before lockdown, then surely, we can truly now see that a quieter day isn’t coming to any of us.

And here’s the rub. I think many of us think we’ll do that thing we’ve been ‘putting off’ when a quieter day comes. Perhaps it’s a DIY project at home, or a work task, or it’s making progress with dating – and contacting people we’ve sent you. If you are putting it off (for whatever reason – and we’re so good at finding ‘valid’ reasons aren’t we?) until a quieter day comes (or until you ‘feel’ like it) then we need to realise, like our lady interviewed above, that the reality is, unless we are 100% purposeful about getting that thing done – and make it a priority – then chances are it is NOT going to happen.

I’m an expert at putting things off myself – in case you think I’m preaching at you. I procrastinate over all sorts of things. Even things I know are really important and that I want to do. And then finally I do them and I wonder why I was so resistant to doing them – because generally once I get stuck in, they aren’t half so hard or time consuming as I thought – and they may even be quite enjoyable.

So I want to encourage you to NOT put off getting in touch with other members until ‘the time is right’, until ‘you feel like it’, until…… whatever (again fill in the blanks).

Whenever you catch yourself saying ‘I’ll wait until…….’ realise you are probably putting something off that you just need to prioritise to do today or tomorrow (no longer than that!). The solution is to get a time fixed in your mind (or diary) and commit to doing it at that very specific time come ‘hell or high water’!

That surely is the only way to get it done, because without this purposefulness other things (valid good things) will crowd out your day, and before you know it, another week, month, year will have flown by and the thing still won’t have got done.

And if that’s finding someone special to share your life with, then remember time is precious, and it is limited – it won’t be there forever. Yes, cleaning out the kitchen cupboards really doesn’t matter – but finding a soul mate – now that’s a completely different kettle of fish.

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