Learning beautiful simplicity

(This is my journal entry from March 29, 2013)

When something comes to your attention, ask me whether or not it is part of today’s agenda. If it isn’t, release it into my care and go on about today’s duties. When you follow this practice, there will be a beautiful simplicity about your life: a time for everything, and everything in its time.
Jesus Calling – March 29


This is something I need to practice everyday and for most moments. I can very quickly and easily get anxious and overwhelmed within the first few hours of waking up. I am 99% sure that it has to do with the internet.
I will find new, alluring information on the internet about photography, non-profits, gardening, learning guitar, etc. and I immediately sign up for an enewsletter or bookmark the page. Once I do that, it gets in line (in my brain) behind all the hundreds of things I already have lined up to learn or read or try. And one of my weaknesses and strengths is wanting to do everything with excellence, so this long list of things in my head gets to be a huge burden.
Furthermore, none of these things that I log have been filtered through the question, “Lord is this part of today’s agenda?”
So, not only am I foregoing the most important question, I am creating a burden and cause for anxiety.
I decided to make a list of every organization that I get emails from on a daily or weekly basis. I figured making a list of everything will help me see just how bad it is. (There are some great resources in here!)
code.org – I want to learn coding.
The Daily Post – helpful for wordpress users
Mail Chimp – Children of Utila’s online email marketing
Artist Daily – I wanted to learn how to draw
Amy Porterfield – social media expert
David Wilkerson – daily devotional
Piriform – software update for pc cleaning
Trey Ratcliffe – photographer newsletter
Pinterest Weekly – weekly inspiration
Chris Guillebeau – travel, inspiration, blogger
Lifehacker – tips for every area of life
Goodreads – book club
The Lightroom Lab – tips and tutorials for Adobe Lightroom
Worship Tutorials – learning guitar with Brian Wahl
Nancy Schwartz – nonprofit resource
Greatist – health and exercise tips
Blackbaud – nonprofit management software
Digital Photography School – all things photography
Reader’s Digest – tips and articles
NTEN – nonprofit resource
NoiseTrade – free music downloads
npENGAGE – nonprofit magazine
Dwell – home decor
Emerson and Church Publishers – books for nonprofits
Fundraising is Beautiful – nonprofit fundraising resource
Foundation Center – philanthropy news digest
Microstock Group – stock photography news
Chronicle of Philanthropy – nonprofit resource
Pat Flynn – how to make money at blogging
Nikon Store – Nikon deals
DoNotTrackMe – extension for safe web browsing
Heather Mansfield – nonprofit resource
Steve McCurry – favorite photographer
Post Planner – social media
Justin Zoradi – fellow nonprofit founder of These Numbers Have Faces
Dreamstime – stock agency newsletter
Jeanne in Utila – favorite blogger
Network for Good – nonprofit resource
Depositphotos – stock agency newsletter
Professional Photographer – photography magazine
Diana Urban – social media
Guidestar – nonprofit resource
Steve Krenz – learning guitar
Darren Rowse – blogging tips
Chitika Insights – ad agency for my blog
RAD Campaign – nonprofit resource
Hailey Bartholomew – newsletter for gratefulness project
Behind the Desk – blogger
The Sparkline – how to make money online

That’s 50+ sources that I have invited to invade and flood me with their information!
Right now, I have 258 unread emails in my inbox. 90% are from these sources. I keep waiting to read them until I have time to do so with my full attention. The reality is I will never have time because I get 10-20 new emails per day from all of them.
I am drowning myself and creating habits that make me feel overpowered and restless. I’m trying to learn too many things and because there is too many, I’m not learning any of them regularly.

Sometimes it’s so easy to carry on day in and day out with habits that don’t make for a very light-hearted, fulfilling life. We can look around us and blame others or society, but the fact is, we are responsible for ourselves. Blaming doesn’t resolve the long-term effects on our lives. We have to be present enough to see the habits that keep us in a cycle of frustration and mindless living.

I know that I find great peace in turning to God and asking what he wants me to do with my time, thoughts, skills and energy each day. It’s a habit I am working on because I have become more aware of the vast difference between living unintentionally and living mindfully.