September 29, 2013

Getting Work Done

I have a lot of work to do this week. On my TO-DO list are my paper assignments for Regent as well as some grading for GCU. I also have my regular studies (reading and DQs) along with some miscellaneous items. My list seems to get longer by the day, and the closer I get to the due day, the more I start to panic.

I am a good planner by nature, so in theory, I shouldn't panic. If I have planned the task well, factored in enough time to complete it, then I should be able to perform the task well and check it off as completed. I think I panic because I do not focus on the task at hand, but rather I look to the complete list and then begin to see the next item due, and the one after that, and then WHAM! I am overwhelmed.

I read a good book a couple years ago, while I was in the midst of my marriage struggle. A friend gave me Stormie Omartian's book called, "Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On." The message of this book is encouragement during the hard times in life. The truth shared is that God illuminates our path one step at a time. We don't have to see the entire road ahead of us because that would wear us down and make us want to give up. Instead, God sheds His light for today and tomorrow only. We see where we are today, and where He is leading us tomorrow. Each day His light illumines the next two steps. In this way, we are able to focus on today, and not worry about future tomorrows. This idea aligns with God's Word, where He says, "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." (Matt. 6:34)

When I focus on the far away tomorrow, then I become overwhelmed with the work load. Instead, if I would only focus on what needs to be done today, then I can be confident that I can do the work assigned.

I found this picture online and it made me think of how well God handles His Work. He plans out the work carefully, then He prepares us to do that work. Lastly, when the planning and preparedness is complete -- then He asks us to perform the work. He never rushes the process. He doesn't plan and then make us perform. No, He gives us time to be prepared. By doing so, we become accustomed to the work load, to the tasks, build the necessary skills, and so on. We learn how to do the work He is asking us to do, and then we perform well because we are ready and able to do it.

I think planning is the key step in doing a job well. We sometimes skip the planning stage and "just wing it." Usually, our success is limited because "winging it" means flying without any particular direction in mind. We are flying out on the breeze, going in whatever direction the wind chooses to take us.

With planning, however, we create a predetermined path, with clearly defined steps to mark our way. If we follow the steps, the plan should take us to our intended destination. If we make a mistake, we can stop, reevaluate, and then move forward (usually by adding in additional steps to clear the confusion).

Therefore, we need a plan of action followed by adequate time to prepare for work. These two items must be completed to ensure we can perform as desired or expected.

Today, I am writing an annotated bibliography for one of my courses. I have one-fourth of the way done (it is due on Wednesday). I panicked this morning because I started thinking about the paragraphs I need to grade for GCU and the Historical paper I need to write next weekend. I forgot to follow the plan that the Lord laid out for me, and I jumped ahead to next week. Note to self - do not do this anymore. Remember you are to follow the plan, prepare for the work, and then when the time comes, perform (do it).

Simple stuff, really. Now if I could only remember how simply planning, preparing, and performing are, then I should be good.

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