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I find it ironic that I am writing about simplifying my life in order to live more meaningfully during these 40 days of Lent.

In the last week I have committed to “spending more time with God daily,” “focusing on quality time with my wife,” and writing every day on my blog for forty days.

Some of you also know that I accepted a new job in the last five months that has me busier than I have been since I was in my 20’s.  And if that’s not enough, I accepted more duties within this same timetable in a “moonlighting second job” that I have had been doing for several years.  This doesn’t sound like simplifying my life!

I am over-committed, over-promised, and overwhelmed.  Have you been there?  Do you know what this feels like?

When I asked Mary if I have been like this during our whole marriage, she answered truthfully, “No, you’ve had pretty good boundaries between work and home until you started your new job, and it’s been different since then.”  And she was right.

I am learning that living more simply is not about committing to do more, trying harder, or making more promises to “do better.”  Too many promises makes life complicated, not simpler.

Sometimes to live more simply means to forgive yourself, and to let go of promises that are impossible to keep.

And so I will get out my calendar tomorrow, take a hard look at my commitments in coming weeks, and start saying I’m sorry but I won’t be able to do this or that commitment.

Deep breath.  Maybe it’s time to offer grace to myself.  How about you?

Peace to you along the journey.

5 Responses to “Forgiving Yourself — Day 5”

  1. jenny marko says:

    here’s to self forgiving!

  2. Jeff Thomas says:

    Malcolm, you are so right. Somehow in our society, we are measured what kind of person we are by how much we do, how many degrees we have, where we live, etc. One can lose who they actually are, by trying to be what we think the world expects of us. There comes a time when it is just too much.

    We long to spend more time with the one we love, and work on the things that mean the most to us.

    But you also want to be available to serve your community as well. It certainly is an exercise in balancing. I honor your exercise of reducing your commitments and realizing you can’t do everything for everyone. Some people will be disappointed, but you have to do what is right for you and your family. Peace be with you today as you excersise you right to simplfy.

    Jeff

  3. Malcolm says:

    Jenny, I want to thank you for your encouragement. It means a lot.

    Jeff, it is so good to know that I am not alone on this journey with friends like you. I think supporting one another in this effort to live more simply is one of the keys, that is, not to do it in isolation. We need each other to be a sounding board, to learn from each other’s experiences, and to pick one another up when we fall short. Thanks for being here!

  4. Beth says:

    On more than one occasion I’ve had to tell my husband, “just say no.” Now he understands that its okay that we can’t please everybody…and we shouldn’t even try.

  5. Isaac smith says:

    Thanks for the Encouragement as this is one I really struggle with.

    I was elected as a councillor of Lismore City 18 months ago and I have spent the past 6 months as deputy mayor. I am always in demand for meetings and committees and I often find myself saying sorry to my wife as she is frustrated with my schedule.

    I feel God led me into politics and this has been and continues to be reinforced by many friends and family. I know I am where God wants me to be, but my commitment level is a constant tight rope walk. I can only pray that I can balance well most of the time.

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