REconsider Resistance as a Providential Pause Button

There’s something I was supposed to do. Like two months ago.

And I haven’t done it.

I just couldn’t.

It just sat on my list.

Really, I couldn’t discern WHY, I just could not move forward.

There are things I add to my TO DO list that don’t get done.

(Aren’t you sighing a BIG sigh of relief – that Yours Truly Organizing Expert is in the same boat YOU are??)

Now I’m not talking about little things here and there that we get behind on…I’m talking about the things that we KNOW we need to do and are plaguing us.

I used to get so down on myself when there were things I knew I SHOULD do but am not doing. Every day these tasks would hang over my head, taunting and demoralizing me. They were subconscious weights around my ankles. They were self-assigned demerits on the report card in my head.

Can you relate?

Are there things on your list – big or small – that aren’t getting done and not only can you NOT figure out why you’re not getting to them, but you’re also beating yourself up for it??

I want to demystify why this may be happening and what to do about it.

Now, common “productivity” theory would explore a few options for overdue tasks:

  • Perhaps you need a new planning system – to explore whether you work best with a simple list or set of lists, an electronic system, or an app. Customizing a system to how you think is a key organizing principle.
  • Perhaps you need to block your time better –literally to get the task on your calendar and assign time to it. After all, wasting time drains resources.
  • Perhaps you’re having trouble prioritizing – maybe you need to organize your tasks by A, B, or C; or even by payoff: low, medium, and high. Some people prioritize by today, this week, next week, this month, etc. A master list of equally-valued items will be too daunting to approach.

Our organizing consultants consider these very matters when we are helping our clients take back their time, one unique individual at a time. Right-fitting a system and creating processes that makes sense to each user is paramount to organizing success….

But what if productivity, processes, and prioritizing have nothing to do with WHY you’re not getting your to-dos done?

What if it’s deeper?

I’ve found in the field that sometimes people aren’t getting things done because of deeply held beliefs

Let me give you a case study: A wife is not getting the bills paid on time. She has a system and even the time allocated to do it. (So trying to find a better system would be fruitless.) The REAL reason, I discover through some detective work, is that she resents having to pay the bills in the first place. Once I got the background on the story and pieced together the clues, I realized that she had to take over bill-paying because her husband was being irresponsible with their finances, and she had to take over that role to plug the hole in their proverbial financial boat.

I think you can see the writing on the wall by now….until we resolve THAT issue…she probably will resist paying the bills…because deep down she doesn’t feel it’s fair. Wow, eh?

But there’s more…and for me, a more personal reason for undone tasks….

Sometimes we aren’t getting things done because we are not supposed to do them after all…maybe not then, maybe not in that way, or maybe not at all.

If I can’t bring myself to do something nowadays, I wait for the reason to present itself. I have had to trust that my inner man knows something that my outer man does not yet know.

I no longer try to force completion. Instead, I take back my thoughts and remind myself that there must be a reason I don’t have the “juice” for a certain task.

This takes disciplining my mind. I have to consciously sidestep the internal guilt or external pressure of not doing that task.

I have to refuse to be judged by expectations, especially expectations of myself.

Then, I ask WHY I am not doing that particular task and I apply myself to tuning in….

 

I start treasure hunting that which is keeping me from doing this task. I REconsider the task more crucially; I think again about my resistance.

  • Is it really important after all? Who says it’s important – someone else, or me?
  • Does the fact that I haven’t done it indicate a need for a better process to begin with?
  • Is there a better way, course, or manner of doing this?
  • Am I the right person to do it?
  • If it was completed, what would happen next or as a result?
    • This is KEY! Sometimes incomplete tasks are like unanswered prayers – we don’t always see the big picture when we’re in the middle of something, so we must be willing to wait until the answer presents itself.
    • What seems like our resistance may actually be providential delay and the BETTER thing is on the way!)
  • Does it fit with our family and business purpose? If not, why am I forcing it, rushing it, or insisting on it?
  • Is it the right time in life? Do I really have the bandwidth for the task and the outcomes of it?

Now I don’t go through this actual checklist above each time some resistance pops up, but these are examples of the kinds of questions I begin to ask.

Also, as I’m re-considering why I’m not doing something, I have learned not to over-think it. If I seek wisdom and still don’t understand what’s behind my dragging feet, I don’t force it. I don’t beat myself up. I just wait and give myself some grace.

Quite a change from the past, where I would just “buckle down” and “get ‘er done.” (I acquired some serious frown lines from that season of life!)

You see, when we are under obligatory living, we assume that WE are the problem.

We reflexively run on the hamster wheel of life and do things because:

  • It’s on our never-ending, overburdened to-do list
  • That’s what’s expected
  • It’s what is “next” in the proven process
  • That’s what it takes to be “successful”
  • We started it, so we really “ought” to finish it

But none of these reasons are good enough.

None of these excuses prove that the task is aligned with our purpose.

None of these motives – though they are indeed classified as “best practices” and “common sense” – are worthy of my effort and attention anymore.

I can only afford to do that which I am called to do at the very moment I was destined to do it.

Now that our family has departed from obligatory living, we have started to learn a new, freeing way of life that honors – and even uncovers – the truth!

The more we have begun to seek wisdom and trust ourselves, the less we have done things because we have to.

The more we have started to REconsider every-little-aspect of our lives, the more this journey has profited us…we’ve begun to really learn and be led into the RIGHT things instead of the COMPULSORY things.

This REconsidered life where I’m noticing everything about the choices I make is not natural at first….

Sometimes it feels grindingly slow for me – a woman accustomed to a pretty high level of productivity.

Sometimes it’s aggravating, because the process person in me very often just wants to get-it-done.

Sometimes it even feels irresponsible, like I may let someone (even me!) down.

But this awakened life of freedom from duty-for-duty’s sake has NEVER LET ME DOWN.

I’m learning to tear up the mental report card and send the guilt packing.

I’m learning to honor – and even be grateful for – the PAUSE BUTTON I have come equipped with and spent all those years IGNORING.

I’m enjoying the discovering the hidden wisdom that is ALWAYS there if I will just look for it as treasure.

 

I invite you to join our family on the exciting and freeing journey to reclaim your life from obligation and frustration and step into victorious living!

Vicki Norris

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