Saturday, February 7, 2015

All or Nothing vs. Some and Something

I am a dreamer.
I am a planner.
I am a perfectionist.
And...I am a procrastinator.

Put it all together, and what do you get? Not a whole lot done, that's for sure.

Perhaps that's why my longest-running favorite quote (I have many of them, but this was the first to earn that distinction) is "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little" by Edmund Burke.

That was always me. Doing nothing because I wanted to do EVERYTHING, and if I couldn't do everything, well...I would do nothing.

For most of my adult life I've been trying to overcome this very debilitating character flaw brought on by a perfect storm of otherwise helpful personality traits.

When I started working at my church as a graphic designer, I quickly became overwhelmed by the number of projects requiring a creative touch. My perfectionist designer habits were not helpful in this job! Thankfully a fellow perfectionist friend was also on staff, and as we worked together on one particular project, we coined a phrase that I have used as a reminder many times in the years since: "We can do it perfectly...or we can get it done."

Which has a lot to do with how/why I started blogging.

Along a similar vein, I have always empathized with Prince Henry in Ever After when he said, "I used to think, if I cared at all, I'd have to care about everything, and I'd go stark raving mad!" There are so many good causes out there that it can be overwhelming to consider getting involved in any of them--how do you choose?

So after taking Randy Alcorn's Theology of Money class at church last semester, I knew God wanted me to invest more in eternity by "looking after orphans and widows in their distress (as James described "perfect religion" in James 1:27)...but where to start?
My sister and I have been making candles for a few years now. We make them as gifts and sell a few, too...originally we'd dreamed of a business that would keep us both home with our kids, but we are too busy right now to bring that to fruition. (Or I am I just too much of a planner/perfectionist/procrastinator? Hmm...) Eventually I had hoped to turn enough profit to start a non-profit, so our candles could bring the light of hope to people around the world.

As I said, I am a dreamer.

And the planner/perfectionist/procrastinator in me had always said, "One day we might be able to do that."

But I am trying not to listen to that particular voice in my head any more.

Cue Edmund Burke! I may not be able to do much right now. I may not be able to do it perfectly. But what I can do, I want to do.

And right now, what I can do is sell the candles I have made and give the profits to charity.

So that's what I'm doing!

My sister was totally on board with the idea, so we had our first candle fundraiser last December. She was burdened to help homeless children after working with a class of homeless first graders. If we'd waited for my planner/perfectionist/procrastinator side to be satisfied with researching charities, we would never have given the money away. But I prayed about it, was reminded of the ministry to Phoenix's poor/homeless that Andrew's dad has interacted with in the past, and took the plunge.

We raised $50. It doesn't sound like much to me. But it was something. It was a start! And it was a blow to my paralyzing planner/perfectionist/procrastinator side.

Now we're doing another fundraiser, for Valentine's Day. I read an article in the Desert Shamrock about the sex-trafficking that takes place in my very own city, and a ministry that helps the victims. What a worthwhile cause!

Is it the only worthwhile cause? Is it the most worthwhile cause? Probably not, but you know what?

I can do it perfectly or I can get it done.

A journey of thousand miles begins with one step.

You eat an elephant one bite at a time.

Two steps forward and one step back.

Never put off 'till tomorrow what you can do today.

Did I miss any cliches about overcoming procrastination?

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