More or Less

Our minister is leading us in a verse-by-verse study of the Book of Matthew. The study is expected to take about a year to complete. I take notes each Sunday using the printed outline the minister provides.

In addition to filling in the blanks in the outline, I also cover the top, bottom, and side margins of the paper with other pieces of information I want to remember.

My intention when this sermon series started was to use the outline as a study guide during the week. I planned each day to reread the Scripture passage and gradually transfer my scrappy written notes into a neatly typed outline.

On Monday morning I scanned my written notes from the first sermon on Matthew. Wanting to be thorough in my study, I decided to read other reference books in order to gain even more insight into the passage.

From my bookshelves I pulled these titles: MacArthur Bible Commentary, Believer’s Commentary, J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible, The Everyday Life Bible, and the Life Application Bible.

I dutifully opened my reference books and began to work. Three hours later I had in front of me on my kitchen table five opened reference books and three sheets of lined, yellow, legal pad paper covered with more scrappy notes.

That was enough for one day. I had studied Matthew 1:1-17. A good start, I thought. I pushed the books and legal pad to the back of the table so we could eat dinner later.

Early on Tuesday I looked at the books and papers stacked on my kitchen table and felt like the miller’s daughter surveying the straw she was supposed to spin into gold. Is this really what I had signed on to do for a whole  year?

I decided to run some errands.

On Wednesday morning I surveyed the same items and decided to thoroughly clean two bathrooms. On Thursday and Friday I followed the same pattern.

It was at this point I realized my plan was doomed.

How I wished on that first Monday I had simply reviewed the lesson and rewritten some notes.

In like manner, on Wednesday of this week, I took my yellow Swiffer duster into my bedroom to do some dusting.

First, I stripped the bed and washed the sheets. Then I pushed all the furniture to the center of the room and vacuumed thoroughly. I took down the drapes and tossed them into the dryer to fluff them up and remove the dust.

Next, I carted all the lampshades, artificial greenery, silk flowers, and candle creations out into the yard and blew the dust off of them using my husband’s high-powered air compressor.

By 3:00 p.m. I was exhausted. The room had not been dusted and would not be. I couldn’t find my Swiffer duster under all the mess.

How I wished I had simply dusted the bedroom.

My plans often fail because I make easy things hard. I take a doable idea and turn it into a gargantuan endeavor that would challenge even the most disciplined person.

In an effort to curb this tendency to take on too much, I have composed what I hope is a reasonable to-do list for today.

  1. Get dressed.

10 thoughts on “More or Less”

  1. Getting dressed as a number one task is a great start to any day, Debbie! And quite honestly, I think that’s a big one!!!

  2. Love your blogs! It sounds like you have the same disease I have “but-first”. Seems I can never do one thing without turning in to several tasks.

  3. Thank you for putting into words the dilemma and difficulty with following through! Reminded me of this quote, “The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention” -John Burroughs

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