Last week we pared down our possessions on purpose, creating space to exhale, rest then reset.
This week we are simplifying our dreams, to-do lists, projects and goals.
Because unfinished, half-completed projects and desires invite anxiety and stress.
Multi-tasking forces us to split our energy, scattering a little here and there on multiple goals instead of channeling towards one until it’s accomplished.
If everything is important then nothing really is. We just end up discouraged and eventually abandon the goal altogether.
We want to lose weight, remodel the kitchen, organize the closets, pay off debt, find a new job and plan our dream vacation at the same time while meeting the demands of home, office and life.
So, we start the diet, create a Pinterest board of kitchens we love, take everything out of the closet, update our resumes while our to-do lists continue to grow.
By doing a little on this goal and a bit on that one, we spread our energy everywhere but get nowhere which leaves us burned out and worn out.
But, thankfully, Nehemiah show’s us a better way.
To understand Nehemiah’s teachings we must first know his story. He is the cup-bearer to a king within the Persian empire.
His beloved city Jerusalem’s walls have been destroyed leaving only a “remnant who survived the captivity are in great distress.” Neh 1:3
When Nehemiah finds out “the wall . . . is broken down, its gates are burned with fire” he “sat down, cried, mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” 1:4.
Nehemiah wants desperately to return to Jerusalem and rebuild its walls.
The only person standing in his way is his boss, the king. So Nehemiah asked God to grant him “favor before this man.” 1:11
And God said yes!
Jerusalem’s ruined walls aren’t its only issue. It’s lacking leadership and governmental structure.
Although Nehemiah knew this he wisely focused on just one thing telling his fellow citizens “come let us rebuild the wall. . .” 2:17 The other things could wait.
Nehemiah had critics and naysayers. You will too. He told them “The God of heaven will give us success.” 2:20. He will you too.
Nehemiah chose one goal and poured his time, efforts, energy and faith into it until it was completed.
By giving yourself fully to the completion of one goal, you avoid the discouragement that comes from spreading your energies to multiple projects that never get finished.
Select one goal that excites you, one that when achieved would reduce your anxiety and stress levels, boost your confidence and give you peace of mind and a sense of accomplishment.
At first, you may not know what you want or which one of your goals to focus on. That’s ok.
You have a Helper, the Holy Spirit who’s eager to advise you then lead you when you’re ready to begin.
“Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” Isa 30:21
Nehemiah didn’t attempt to build without God’s help and neither will we.
The wall around Jerusalem should have taken months even years but “the wall was completed . . in fifty-two days. . . . When all our enemies heard of it and the surrounding nations heard of it . . . they recognized that THIS WORK HAD BEEN ACCOMPLISHED WITH THE HELP OF OUR GOD.” Neh 6:15-16.
When you invite God into your goals, His help helps you remain committed and stay focused even when you hit roadblocks, want to quit or see no immediate progress.
So, what will your one thing be?