Managing the Monkeys in Your Life
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you. Hosea 10:12, NKJV
Things that need to be done are like monkeys. Feed them and they’ll never go home. They cling to you. They chatter incessantly. They vie for your attention. They multiply until they’ve taken control of your life. They cause stress!
If your life has become a zoo, follow these monkey-managing rules:
- You’re not the only zoo keeper in the world–or in your family. You don’t have to do everything. To show your family that you love them, you don’t have to cook from scratch or always be the one who does the laundry.
If you think you are indispensable to your family, you’ll always have too many monkeys. You must believe that your family can get along without your “working” for them. Encourage others to do what they are capable of doing, even if it’s not done exactly the way you’d do it.
- Don’t feed other people’s monkeys. Make sure each person keeps his own monkeys. Don’t allow others to dump their monkeys on you. Learn to put responsibility back on others. Learn to feel OK about disappointing others by saying, “That’s not my monkey!”
- Keep your monkey population under control. It may sound cruel, but you need to kill the excess ones. Let them starve to death. I’ve found that things to do tend to expand to fit the amount of time you’ll give them. That’s why you must prioritize (determine what’s really important) and schedule. Allow only a certain amount of time for a project and let the rest “starve”; for example, washing windows every time it rains! Learn to just say no.
- Monkeys come in the mail, over the telephone, and via the Internet.Control your mail by reading and processing it immediately. Control the telephone by using an answering machine. Don’t be quick to answer yes when someone asks, “Do you have a minute?” Set a time when you are available for calls. Budget your time on the Internet.
- Don’t start the weekend with a cage full of monkeys. Instead, plan fun and family into your weekend. Take the Fourth Commandment seriously. Instead of spending your week putting things off until weekend, plan your week so that you’ll have time to enjoy the weekend.
How can you reduce the monkeys in your life so you have time for the Lord–and your family?
from Fit Forever: One-A-Day Devotionals for Body, Mind, and Spirit
Kay Kuzma (editor) | Review & Herald (2005)
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