“No one is ‘Doing It All.’ Here are some things I don’t do,” said Leslie, a homeschooling mom who was speaking to our mom’s group a few months ago. “I like to cook, but I don’t like to bake. So I never bake anything for my kids. I also don’t take meals to new moms.”

At that last one, you could almost hear a collective gasp from the audience. Taking meals to new moms is such a wonderful, Christian thing to do. Right?

Is it even possible to be a decent human being if you don’t take meals to people?

Of course, many of us should be taking meals to people when we can. Taking meals is indeed a wonderful thing. But I really admired Leslie for having the guts to tell people that she doesn’t take meals to families in need.

You see, the full story is, Leslie has taken on a couple of huge things she feels God wants her to do to bless others—one of them is coordinating all the volunteers for Sunday School at her church and the other one is helping refugee families who are impoverished and isolated in this country.

With these two things, on top of homeschooling, there’s not much time left.

On the topic of choosing priorities, my favorite book is Essentialism by Greg McKeown.

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done,” he says; “it’s about how to get the right things done.”

Have you ever asked yourself what is the most essential thing for you personally? What is the most essential thing, looking at the calendar today, and also looking at the whole context of your life?

When the most essential thing can be narrowed down, every decision and every item on the calendar can be weighed against your ultimate priority.

“Remember,” McKeown says, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”

“Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not as an inherently negative part of life,” he continues. “Instead of asking, ‘What do I have to give up?’ they ask, ‘What do I want to go big on?’”

Leslie has become an essentialist by determining what is most important for her and her family.

When she saw refugees on the news, she tearfully wondered who would help her if she had to suddenly pick up her kids and desperately flee her country. Then she wondered who would help them. God whispered to her that she would help them. But in order to have time to do that, she had to say “no” to many other good things.

Wow. That takes a lot of vision and clarity!

So often, I cram things into my day to be “nice” to the tertiary people in my life and then end up shortchanging my kids and husband. Or what about the vision I had years ago to help out at a Christian legal clinic? What do I need to do now, to make that happen?

“What work has God prepared for you specifically, that you should be doing?” Leslie  asked. “Don’t say ‘no,’ just so that you can be a little less inconvenienced. Say ‘no’ so you can say ‘yes’ to what God is putting on your heart.”


Photo Credit: Graphic by Anna Soltis. Following image courtesy of author.