The following article was taken from Volume 15 Issue 1 of ¨The Reflector¨ a publication of the IL/WI District Church of the Brethren.
Last week I caught up on a few chores at home that I´ve been neglecting, one of which was cleaning an old stereo system. The components of the system were all separate, so I carefully removed each one from the stereo cabinet. When cleaning the 5-disc CD player, I tilted it in such a manner that 2 CDs slid out the front. I finished cleaning, replaced the components in the cabinet, turned on the CD player, opened the drawer, and found 3 more CDs. After removing them I pushed the button to close the drawer. All was not well. The drawer did not close completely; it remained about a third of the way open. I could not get the drawer to close no matter what I tried.
Tammy was nearby and suggested that maybe more CDs were still inside the player. I argued that it was a 5-disc player and 5 CDs had been removed. Part of my argument hinged on the premise that I did not want to take all the components out of the cabinet again. But, I caved and removed the components, after which I tilted the CD player only to have 2 more CDs slip out of it. Why 7 CDs were in a 5-disc player I will never know. Needless to say, overloading a stereo component has undesirable consequences and can render it unusable.
How like an overloaded stereo component we can be at times. You move through life caring for various essential responsibilities. All is well. You are on time to meetings and events. You respond in a timely manner to various kinds of communication. You meet a variety of obligations. You pay your bills on time. You are handling a maximum capacity of responsibilities superbly.
Then you are invited to engage in a new opportunity. You may not want to accept the invitation but what will happen if you don´t? The organization or group may not function well. You know of no one else who could handle the task as well as you could. You can do this and accept the invitation. This opportunity opens the door to yet another, and another, and another. And you respond with a ¨ye¨ to each invitation. Before long the calendar has few if any open slots. You begin scrambling to make appointments on time, occasionally forgetting one now and again. You intend to respond to an important email but a text message changed your course and you never made it back to the email. You notice an extra charge on your credit card statement, a late fee assessed for missing the due date with your last payment.
When is it right to accept or decline an invitation to add a new responsibility? The answer is different for each of us. It is important to occasionally take stock to determine how well we are meeting the obligations for which we are responsible. If some things are left undone or neglected, maybe it’s time to be ¨tilted¨ and allow the ¨extras¨ to slip away so that we are able to function well at our created capacity.
I have much to learn from this brief missive. I can easily go beyond capacity. So in this new year, I hope that I will be more responsible with my obligations and learn to function more capably at my created capacity. It means I may need to be ¨tilted¨ once in a while for some ¨extras¨ to slide out. Chances are I won´t like being tilted, but if it allows me to function more fully and serve others more responsibly, then it will be worth it.
How about you? Any ¨tilting¨ need to happen in your life?