I attended Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership 1-Day Live Stream event and some things I learned there have been rattling around in my heart since then. This post is part of a series where I list ways to implement some of the things I learned.
Reject the apathy that comes with a task so huge. ~Scott Harrison
Do you ever feel like the assignment God gave you is way too big for you to handle? Like it is never-ending?
That’s how Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water, felt. Bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries? Pretty huge task. Feeling the weight of the task almost led Scott to quit.
But instead of quitting, he started changing. The website and his book cover say that his is a story of redemption, compassion and a mission. It is all of that, plus a story of not quitting when the task is overwhelming.
When we feel like the task is too big, we start to lose our motivation We become numb to the need. We get burned out. We become apathetic. We do the same things because that’s the way we’ve always done them.
I learned from Scott’s story … that is the time to start changing. When his old methods of raising funds for their mission began to fail, he thought perhaps his mission was not sustainable. It was too big. Too much. But he could not let go, and so he changed.
If you are in that place where the enormity of your task has shifted you into apathy, embracing change in one of these 4 ways could help you take the next step.
Take a guilt-free day to do nothing
When was the last time you gave yourself permission to take a day off? When we first start out, working hard every day fuels us. We see the vision God gave us starting to come together. Words on a page. A website designed. Volunteers signed up. Sales or donations beginning to flow. It’s exciting and energizing.
Eventually, we begin to wear out. But busyness has become our habit and are afraid … no … convinced that if we take a day off, it will all fall apart. Or someone else will get a step ahead of us.
Guess what? We are mostly wrong about that. Someone may get ahead, but this is not a race with anyone else. And it won’t all fall apart. You may even come back from a day off to find that things are going better. Maybe because they ARE better, or maybe because the rest gave you a new perspective.
God can’t speak into your struggles if your mind is worn out and frayed. Rest, then let him give new life to the dream.
Declutter … mentally and physically
Too much stuff in our brains and in our environment constantly remind us how much needs to be done.
We’ve lived in our house for 16 years and over those years, we’ve re-done every room … most have been torn back to the studs and concrete floors to start over. The only room remaining is the master bedroom and bath. In addition to it being ugly, it has become a staging area for all kinds of project left-overs. Every time I walk in the room, I am reminded of how much is left to be done with this big job and it overwhelms me. I think if I could just get the junk cleaned out of there, I would realize it’s really not that big!
We need to do the same with our schedules, to-do lists and piles of stuff “waiting” for us to use them. When we do, we may find it’s not so bad afterall.
Start by identifying one low-priority thing on your schedule and just stop doing it for 30 days. Use that time instead to do something high-priority (which may be resting!) After 30 days of focus on your higher priorities, you’ll feel terrific about all you’ve accomplished, and wonder if you really need to pick up that low-priority thing again. Probably not.
Try something new every week
Oh we get SO stuck in our ways! Especially things that have been successful. But to avoid becoming complacent and apathetic, we need to change things up. John Maxwell teaches that if you’ve been doing the same thing the same way for three years or more, you need to change it.
It may feel uncomfortable to jump in and change some of our core processes. So instead of changing, start by trying. You don’t have to be committed to it right away. But give it a try . An honest try. Not a “I’m only trying on the outside but resisting on the inside” try. Try one new thing every week, just a small thing at first, and see what happens.
And don’t be afraid to experiment. For more than three years, I sent my weekly newsletter out every Monday morning. I don’t know why I started on Monday morning. I guess I did most of my writing on the weekends, so I would finish it up on Sunday night and schedule it to go first thing the next morning. But when my email open rates continued to drop, I experimented with sending it different times of the day. Just by moving it to the evening instead of the morning, the open rate increased by 5 percentage points!
If something isn’t working any more, don’t give up. Experiment with new things until you find something that does.
Face your fears
Fear is one of the main reasons we don’t want to try new things. We are afraid of failure, afraid of success. Afraid of looking foolish but also afraid of looking too smart. Afraid to take the next step and afraid to stand still.
Fear is never a good reason to start or stop doing things. Face up to your fears by being face down before God. Ask him to show you the source of that fear. Of course, we know the source of all fear is our enemy … but ask God to show you what the enemy is using to grow that fear. Root out that deep-buried seed and crush it with prayer and obedience to God.
No matter how big or small your assignment is, don’t allow apathy to steal the blessings from you. Shake things up with some small changes that help you change the world.