DON'T GIVE UP THE GREAT FOR THE GOOD
Dear Ones –
It's Throwback Thursday, so here's a photo from two months ago, of me and my dear friend Pastor Rob Bell (in our stage makeup – fancy!) at Oprah's Life You Want Tour.
I adore Rob. We sort of became siblings on this tour. (One of my favorite comments on Twitter was somebody saying, quite sincerely: "I didn't know Rob Bell and Liz Gilbert were brother and sister!" Yeah, well, we didn't know it, either…but in a way we are!)
One of my favorite things about the tour was getting to listen to Rob give advice to people, because he's so freaking good at it. One of the most memorable things I heard him say to somebody (who was struggling to find happiness and meaning in her life) was this:
"DON'T GIVE UP THE GREAT FOR THE GOOD."
As Rob explained it, there are only so many hours in a day, and only so many days in a life. There are many things that we can fill those hours with, and many of those things are GOOD THINGS — things that we need to do, things that are important. Our responsibilities. Our emails. Our housecleaning. Our job. Our ambitions. Our bills to pay. Our phone calls to return. Our storm windows to replace. Our Christmas shopping. Etc, etc, etc.
Those are all GOOD THINGS to do.
But then there are the GREAT THINGS that you could do with your time.
Only you know what your GREAT THINGS are.
But here's a clue — your GREAT THINGS are whatever makes your soul ignite, whatever makes your heart sing, and whatever makes you say, "Oh my God, I'm so excited that I get to do this GREAT THING today!!!"
For me, my GREAT THINGS are pretty simple:
1) Going for a long walk or a run alone on the beach, or in the woods, or in the city.
2) Dancing around my house while listening to music made for 16 year-olds.
3) Going to Target with my best friend for absolutely no reason.
4) Sitting down at the end of the day with a glass of wine, to talk to my husband while he cooks dinner.
5) Writing a book slowly in a quiet room.
6) Traveling somewhere new.
7) Calling my mom just to say hello.
8) Karoke night.
Not too complicated, right?
With the exception of Item #6 (Traveling somewhere new) every single one of these GREAT THINGS are readily available to me, just about every single day…or at least every week.
And yet sometimes I get so busy taking care of the business of life that day after day after day will pass…and I won't have done any of those GREAT THINGS.
Why am I so busy that there is not enough time in my life for any of my GREAT THINGS?
Why haven't I had time to go to Target with my best friend in six months?
Why haven't I been to Karaoke night since October?
Why did I tell myself that there would be no time next year to travel to a new place, because I'm too busy with my career?
Because I have stuffed my life too full with merely GOOD THINGS.
Therefore, the GOOD has crushed the GREAT.
What Rob taught me is this: Every day, you must be really clear with yourself about what would be a GREAT THING to do — and to make sure that it becomes a priority.
Only you can sort out your GREAT from your merely GOOD.
For Rob, who lives by the sea, his GREAT THINGS are making breakfast for his kids, and going surfing. When he gets too busy to do either of those things, it means he has let his life get too full of GOOD THINGS. Then he reins in his life, so that he does not miss out on the GREAT.
You may have to shuffle some things around in your life in order to be able to do one GREAT THING every day.
Some GOOD THINGS may have to go — or, at least, they will have to be taken off the top of the list. You may have to scale back your plans and ambitions, if they are interfering with your GREAT THINGS — or maybe you need to make plans or be more ambitious.
Only you will know.
But make sure you allow yourself the GREAT THINGS.
Or else your life will be merely GOOD.
And GOOD is fine. There is nothing wrong with GOOD. But in the end, it's just…you know…GOOD.
Why not permit yourself a little bit more of the GREAT?
Every. Single. Day.