The old theme song goes something like this: “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have, the facts of life.”
But sometimes, life feels more like: “You take the good, you take the good, and there you have too much life.”
Sometimes, even good things need to go…
My wife wants to get a new dog. My oldest son wants to add a fifth extracurricular activity to his plate. My younger son can’t understand why we aren’t able to fit in wrestling, Legos, a movie, and book reading every night. My little girl wants to wear six outfits at once because they are all “bootiful.”
Here at UnTangled we talk a lot about redeeming the painful things in life. Yet, many difficult decisions in life are about having to choose one good thing over another.
Giving Up Good Things
We live in a world in which a virtual cornucopia of good things is available to us with the push of a button or the swipe of a finger. The Chicago Tribune reported last week the majority of adolescents now prefer a smartphone more than a car. Because a car can only take you to one good place at a time, but technology can deliver you to many good places, all at once.
Sometimes, we work hard to be grateful for the good things in life. And we should be grateful. But we can “grateful” our way right into overloaded and stressful lives, full of every manner of good thing.
Sometimes, if we want to live rich, textured, and sane lives, we have to sacrifice some of the good things, too.
We have to make choices and let good things go and creates space for depth instead of breadth.
I love my wife and I love my kids and I cherish my friends and I adore my clients and I am passionate about this blog and I am fueled by quiet and contemplation and there is no end to the good things I want to do.
But I need to make some choices and let some good things go.
So, I’ve settled on eliminating the “second weekly post” for a while. That’s not to say I won’t ever post twice a week. It’s just to say I’m not planning to. Yet when something happens to rock our world, or holiday inspiration strikes or I just get antsy and have something to say that can’t wait, I won’t hesitate to send you a surprise post.
Welcoming New Things
But sanity isn’t the only reason to eliminate good things from life.
I heard Bob Goff speak at the Story 2012 conference last September. He said he cuts out a good thing in his life every Thursday, because if you want to grow and be renewed, you have to make space for new good things to arrive in your life.
He said on the way to the conference that morning he had called up the head of a board he sits on and he had quit. When the man asked why, Bob told him, “Because it’s Thursday!”
Bob said he was excited about what new thing might be coming down the pike to fill that newly vacated space in his life.
Letting go of the “second post” is going to make some space in my private life, but it’s also going to create space for some good-new things here at UnTangled. So I want to take just a minute to tell you about some of those things (and then I want to ask you a question):
- Beginning with the next post, all posts will have a link to an audio version narrated by me. It will be in the form of a Quicktime audio player at the bottom of each post. If you read the post by email or RSS, there will be a link to the website where you can access the player on both your home computer and mobile devices. My posts are longer than the average blog post, and I hope this will make them more portable—something you can listen to on the go.
- I think it’s time for me to start writing a book. There, I said it. And I want your help writing it. To that end, in the near future, I want to initiate periodic video hangouts on Google+. They will serve as focus groups to develop ideas around shame, grace, marriage, parenting, and life—and those ideas will become the material for the book. I want you to be a part of it. Stay tuned for more information.
- Finally, I have posted here at UnTangled on Fridays since the very beginning. For the first time, I will be moving the weekly post to Wednesdays. This post begins that new rhythm and my next planned post—“How Our Friends Bring Us to Life”— will be next Wednesday, April 10.
At its best, this life is like a cornucopia overflowing with abundant fruit and a deep magic. And yet, like anything that overflows, it periodically needs to be emptied a little. Our lives need to be emptied a little so new fruit can spring forth.
What are the good things in life you want to experience, for which there is no space—not because life is just stressful and painful, but because life is overflowing with good things?
What kind of fruit is waiting to grow into your life, with a just a little space for it?
Share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this post.
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The Mess: The messy places in life—and the messy places within ourselves—present us with a choice. Because the mess is where our shame collides with grace, and we can choose to succumb to shame, or we can fight to receive grace. Come visit The Mess, and join the rebellion against shame. And as always, thank you for reading; it’s a gift. Sincerely, Kelly
Disclaimer: This post is not professional advice. It should be read as you would read a “self-help” book. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor, who can become more intimately familiar with your specific situation. Counselors can be located through your insurance network or through your state psychological association.