Make It Simple

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By Randel Serrano

There’s a story of a philosophy professor who brought out a large jar, placed it before the class, and filled it with rocks. He asked them if the jar was full and his students agreed.

Then the professor pulled out a box of pebbles and poured it inside the jar to fill up the spaces between the rocks. Again, he asked the class if the jar as full. They all agreed it was.

The professor pulled out a box of sand which then he poured into the jar to fill whatever spaces were left.

Now the professor delivered a life lesson for his students: “This jar signifies your life. Rocks signify what really matters most—such as family, health, and relationships. When all else fails and all is lost, rocks remain and life still makes sense. Pebbles are other things that seem to be important in life. And sand is the small stuff that we sweat about and the material things we possess.”

In 2004, the acronym FOMO or “fear of missing out” became popular and pertains to the feeling that others are having fun and enjoying life while you aren’t. We get stressed because we want to belong at all times. We further complicate our already complicated life. We feel we have fallen behind because there is always someone ahead of us or better than us. We always feel empty and tired because it’s like we are running aimlessly and endlessly to nowhere.

In 2021, I was in the midst of so many concerns: family, ministry, masteral class in Theology, speaking engagements, podcasts, the Gabay program on Radyo Veritas, and meetings, among others. I was losing it and I just had to stop, breathe, and look into my priorities for the next year. Let me share some things I learned on how to make life simple.

Set Priorities
Author Stephen Covey said, “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically—to say no to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger yes burning inside.” I must admit I am a “yes” man. But every person has to also learn to say no. I have learned to prioritize what’s urgent and important to do away with other things that clutter my schedule.

Determine what really matters most to you. Everything may seem urgent and important, so you need to look closely and evaluate each commitment.

Make Time
Author Jake Knapp wrote that we only waste time when we’re not intentional about the things we do. Things don’t just happen; we make them happen for us. We need to be deliberate in our choices if we want to make life simple. If we continue with the FOMO mentality, we end up burdening ourselves with stuff we add to our lives just to keep up with others.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” said Benjamin Franklin. When we plan, we take away the burden of adding unnecessary things and activities that seem important but aren’t. The smallest things that we add to our daily activities could keep us from what is essential in our lives. Make a plan.

Let Go
We need to let go and let God. When we overly focus on what others are doing, we compromise our own peace. Focus on your blessings instead. Be grateful. God has something bigger and greater for you. Putting too much on your plate just to show that you are more accomplished than others can be tiring. Let go and let God do greater things in your life.

Jermaine Edwards’s song “Beautiful Life” explains how we should embrace the life God gave us: “If you got life then give God praise / You may not have much but you’re living day by day / You can’t have faith and don’t wanna work / Get up off that seat and put that brain to work.” Recognizing the blessing of our God-given life is one way shake that FOMO feeling. Appreciating the Blesser opens up more blessings and all He has promised. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”

Pay attention to what matters most in life. If you put sand into your jar of life first, there won’t be room for the rocks and pebbles that are the most important in our life. Focus on the things that are essential.

Growth Question: Have you experienced FOMO? What did you fear you were missing out on?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, teach me to fix my eyes on You. Let me see and hear only You, the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last.

*This article taken from Feast Magazine April 2023 issue.*

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