The problem is not making up the steps but deciding which ones to keep.
I’m getting close to giving up on a book I’m reading. I have been for a few days. In this in-between place I’ve started skipping pages, scanning the words until I spy the gist of the story that caught my interest to begin with. I read a few pages until it veers off in a direction I don’t want to follow and I start skipping pages again.
It takes a certain confidence to give up on a book. You have to believe your time is valuable enough not to continue slogging through a work that isn’t either teaching you something or holding your attention in a good story. You also, if you’re a life-long book lover as I am, have to believe there is another, more edifying, book out there.
It takes a certain confidence to set aside things in life like that too: hobbies, possessions, activities—sometimes even relationships—that are good, but keep us from the best. We must, if we are to be wise stewards of the gifts we’ve been given and make it to the destination we set a course for, be discerning about where we spend our resources.
Regardless of the messages we’re fed: it’s impossible to have it all. Nor should we desire to have it all.
If we are to continue to go forward in the direction of the unique and specific calling our Creator gifted every one of us with, we must be intentional about what we take in. We must continually ask ourselves how this thing we are watching, reading, doing, or otherwise consuming, is affecting us. We must ask ourselves if it is taking us closer to, or farther away, from where we want to go.
So, back to that book. It initially caught my attention because of the subject matter: adoption. In reality, it’s much more about the political climate of a certain time and place. I was hooked by something that interests me and pulled into something that doesn’t. Sound familiar? See how easily it happens?
Even as I write this I’m making the decision to put the book aside—a book that would, and likely has and will, serve others well but is not taking me closer to where I want to be. That’s just a small example of the intentional discernment and focus I need a good measure of every day.