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One at a TimeOne at a Time
by Tom Norvell

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    As I backed out of the garage, I reached to press the button to close the garage door. I pushed the button to close the sunroof on my car at the same time. While my hand was up above my head I decided to also try to push the button on the clip that holds my sunglasses on the visor.

    Simple routine actions, right? Simple when you do them one at a time, but when you try to push them all at the same time while backing out of the garage and holding a cup of coffee it is not so simple. Add to this little morning scenario the fact that I was distracted with the events of the day before and the plans for the day ahead.

    So, what happened is that the sunroof only closed half way (you must keep the button pressed or it automatically stops at the halfway point). Forgetting that I had already pressed the garage door opener (closer) button, I pushed it again. The door stopped. I pushed it again and it went back up. So, I pushed it again to close it while holding down the sunroof button. In the meantime, the button on the clip that holds my sunglasses in place released my sunglasses which had now fallen on the floor beneath my feet. (No, I did not try to retrieve them... immediately that is.)

    At this point, near the end of my driveway, I sensed that this was not a good start to the day so I stopped, took a deep breath, made sure all the buttons were pressed properly (including the button to change the radio station), retrieved my sunglasses, took another deep breath, mentally said a prayer, and then proceeded on my way.

    Some readers may be thinking, “This guy needs help! Who gets stressed out over trying to close his garage door?”

    The answer to that question is clear: “Anybody who is also trying to press every button in sight at the same time.” Maybe it is not a garage door opener button, or a sunroof button that is getting you stressed, but you see all the buttons in your life that need to be pushed and you are trying to push them all at the same time.

    You are a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an employee, a coworker, a church member, a friend, and a follower of Jesus. Each of these roles comes attached to a specific set of responsibilities and privileges. Each one representing a button that demands to be pushed. Right now!

    You are a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an employee, a coworker, a friend, and a follower of Jesus. Not only are you aware of the responsibilities of those roles, but you also consider it a privilege and want to push all those buttons. Right now!

    You are a student, as son (or daughter), you work as much as you can, you are trying to make good grades to keep your scholarship (or get a scholarship), you are trying to build a relationship that will last, and at the same time maintain other relationships that have already lasted a long time. Each one is a button waiting to be pushed.

How are you supposed to do it?
    Now you find yourself backing out of your driveway trying to close the garage, trying to close the sunroof, trying to change the radio station, and fiddling with the thing on the visor that holds your sunglasses all at the same time. What you realize is than none of them are actually getting the attention they need.

    How should you do it? How are you supposed to do it? Is it possible to do it? Is it essential that you do it? Should you try to push all the buttons right now?

    Here’s a suggestion: Stop! Take a long deep breath. Say a prayer for wisdom. Then look at what you are doing and how you are living. Is it really necessary to push all those buttons at the same time? Are there some that can be pushed later, or not at all? Determine which one absolutely must be pushed right now. Push it. Then, take another deep breath and push another one. Or not. Make sure that every button you pushed is pushed with all your desire and skill. Give it your complete attention. Then proceed.

    Jesus once said, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and the day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.” (Luke 21:34, NIV) You may not be struggling with the “dissipation and drunkenness” but the “anxieties of life” may be choking the real life right out of your soul.

    Oh, one final suggestion. If you find yourself in a trying to do all those things as you back out of your driveway, and it happens to be raining, don’t worry about the garage door, the radio or the sunglasses clip...close the sunroof first. Sometimes the priority is obvious.

    Try sticking to one button at a time!

 
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      © 2002, Tom Norvell. Used by permission. A Norvell Note is a weekly email message from Tom Norvell. Check it out!

      Title: "One at a Time"
      Author: Tom Norvell
      Publication Date: October 12, 2002


 

 
 
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Tom NorvellTom Norvell is the author of "A Norvell Note." He ministers at the East Brainerd Church of Christ in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

 

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