Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Battling the All or Nothing Mentality

I have this silly little enemy that I am constantly battling with. You might be familiar with it, too. Does "all or nothing" ring a bell? It likes to rear it's sneaky little head into our lives through our relationships, habits, diets, faith, and thinking. If you are having a hard time recognizing what I am talking about, let me give you a few examples.

  • "Well, I really shouldn't have eaten that for breakfast this morning. Oh well, I can always get back to my diet next Monday."
  • "I really only have a few minutes to read my Bible right now, so I will try and do it later when I have more time."
  • "There are a lot of dirty dishes in the sink. I can't really get to them all right now, so I guess I will leave them until later."
  • "Everything seems to cause cancer! What's the use in trying to change!"
  • "The government is just to big for one person to try and make a difference."
  • "How am I ever going to get that entire project finished! I will never find the time to do the whole thing!"

At least in my life, time is of the essence. Between preparing three meals a day, wiping dirty faces, washing dirty dishes, changing dirty diapers, doing dirty laundry, sweeping dirty floors and a whole list of other things that involve dirt and messes, I can sometimes feel like I am getting nothing done outside of my motherly responsibilities. Most times I am to blame, but not because I am lazy. I assure you I don't sit down much throughout the day! But rather because I am losing the battle mentally. In my own mind, if I can not complete a task from start to finish, I don't always think it is worth getting started! If I would only get started and keep back at the task, as many times as it took, then I would finish the task.

I realized this the other day when it took me all day long to clean the ceiling fan in our bedroom. With a crawling baby and two other little people running around, I don't have the luxury of going upstairs to clean my gross, dirty(See more stuff involving dirt) fan for 30 minutes. Instead, every time I laid the baby down for a nap, I would clean a blade or two before heading back downstairs to deal with the older two kids.

Sometimes the same applies to dishes. As much as I would like to wash all of the dishes, it is much better to get a few done than none at all. Then I can do more the next time I have a few spare moments. It is the same for faith. Isn't is much better to spend a few minutes in prayer or read just a few verses, rather than go an entire day without prayer or God's word? With our bodies, isn't it much better to keep trying to eat healthy, whole foods, even if you might have eaten a junky meal or snack? In reality, the "ALL" of "all or nothing" practically doesn't exist. I think Satan just likes to fill our minds with unrealistic pictures of perfection to keep us distracted and keep us from doing "something." He knows that if he can keep us tied up with "all or nothing" type of thinking that we will more than likely accomplish "nothing."

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" 2 Corinthians 10:3 -5

I frequently lose battles against "all or nothing" in almost every area of my life. I would like to start winning! I plan on doing SOMETHING when that "all or nothing" feeling tries to creep in.

In what ways can you attack the "all or nothing" monster in your life?

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