Have you ever felt like you’re falling so far behind on something that there’s little hope of getting back to where you need to be? Have you ever thought, “What the heck. It’s too late now. Why even try. I’m too far behind.” Maybe you’ve felt that way about a project at work, or a hobby you always wanted to pursue. Maybe you’ve felt that way about your finances, or that career change you always wanted to make. Maybe you’ve even felt that way about your marriage.
At times we all feel like we’re falling behind, and it can be paralyzing.
I know this is a small thing, but I feel like I’m falling behind on posting to this blog. When I started the blog, over a year and a half ago, I had high aspirations. I felt the blog was important, because so many marriages are struggling. So I committed to give the blog my best. I was going to give it my attention. I was going to make time for it. I was going to make regular contributions. (Ever felt that way about something?)
But after a strong start, I began getting behind. I didn’t intend to. It happened little by little. Something would come up and throw off my schedule. Another priority would get added to my list. Something would arise that I wanted to do more than writing a post. Sometimes I just was tired and didn’t want to do it.
Some call this “mission creep.” This is when, without realizing it, you gradually find yourself veering off the course you said was most important to you.
Others call it surrendering to the tyranny of the urgent. This is when you find yourself responding to things that seem immediately urgent, but in the long run have little lasting impact on the things you said were important.
Others just call it ADHD. This is where, like Doug the Dog in the movie “Up,” our attention is constantly been misdirected by every “squirrel” that crosses our path.
Whatever you want to call it, it causes you to get “behinder” and “behinder.”
This can happen to your marriage. You start off with great aspirations. You’re going to give it your best. You’re going to give it your attention. You’re going to make time for your spouse and make regular contributions to your marriage.
But then things happen. You get that new job with more responsibilities. The baby comes and now there are 2 a.m. feedings. You upsize your house and now there’s more to take care of. The kids have homework and school programs. You spend more time on the golf course, at the game, one the lake, or in the deer stand. You get more involved in church and social activities. Grandchildren need more time and attention. Elderly parents need more time and attention.
Then one day you wake up and realize, you’re behind in the thing that really matters most to you…your marriage. “Mission creep” has taken you off course. The tyranny of the urgent has robbed your energy. “Squirrels” have distracted you. You’re behind in your relationship with your spouse. (Note – This can also happen in your relationship with God.)
You may feel like your too far behind to catch up, but you’re not! It’s never too late!
- It’s never too late to make a good start. This may sound odd, but each new moment offers you the opportunity to make a new start. Each failure gives you the chance to make the next attempt better. Even Scripture tells us… “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
- It’s never too late to do the right thing. – It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the ways we’ve blown it. It’s easy to get discouraged by all the opportunities we’ve missed. But that was then. We still have now, and we can do the right thing now! Just do the next right thing now.
- It’s never too late to finish well.- A bad start, or a stumble can make us feel like we’ve lost our chance. But bad starts and stumbles do not mean you can’t finish well. While being in the lead of a 600 meter track event, Heather Dorniden stumbled and fell. Everyone assumed that this was it for the runner. But Heather knew it’s never to late to finish well. (Click here to find out what happened.)
I am not saying that every marriage will work out well if you just sprinkle on enough cliche’s and fairy dust. There are times when spouses allow their marriage to disintegrate to the point of no return. But even then, you still have the opportunity to do something better with what you’ve got. If you’re still breathing, it’s never too late to make a good start, do the right thing, and finish well.
So, where do you feel you’re falling behind today? Where have you let “mission creep” pull you off course? Is the tyranny of the urgent causing you to forget what’s really important? Are there too many “squirrels” diverting your attention? What are you going to do about it?!
Copyright © 2015 Bret Legg