What’s On Your Plate?

Have you ever said, “I have a lot on my plate?” This expression generally refers to the unending demands that compete for your time and attention. Some of you reading this post may have graduated from plates to platters. For many people, stress causes them to resort to comfort food as a means of escape. The use of food for solace does not eliminate the reality of the issues at hand. Rather, it only adds fuel to an already problematic situation. Toss in emotions and you end up with a plate overflowing with worries, anxiety and more than you bargained for.

Comfort food can provide immediate gratification and relief. Lesley Rennis, Health Education Professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College says, “Strong emotional states make us turn to comfort food to feel safe and in control. Comfort foods not only taste good, they actually lessen the impact of stress hormones. Eating sweet and starchy food helps our bodies make serotonin which makes us feel calmer and decreases the stress hormone cortisol.” Personally, I have yet to meet a person whose comfort food is carrots, cottage cheese, or anything healthy for that matter. The false sense of security comfort food offers eventually subsides and leaves you yearning for more and more, and all too often results in subsequent weight gain.

So how do you juggle the myriad of roles and responsibilities that scream for your immediate attention, and still maintain some semblance of sanity in the process? The first step is to acknowledge there is too much on your plate. Do you find yourself plagued by overcommitment? Perhaps you suffer from an inability to say “no.” Are you always rushing trying to stay ahead of the game? Does it seem like the more you do the less you accomplish? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is time to step back and examine what is on your plate. You can get so busy with the busyness of life, that you allow overbooked schedules, circumstances, and people crowd out spending time with God.

There have been times when I promised myself to make Jesus my top priority. I learned putting Jesus at the top of my priorities was the problem. Inevitably, something came along that I allowed to knock Him off the list. I have learned that Jesus must be at the center of everything I do in order to live a balanced life. Let me explain using the human hand as an illustration. Take a moment to look at your hand. The fingers and thumb are connected to the palm of your hand. The palm is the center and represents Jesus. The fingers and thumb represent the areas of life: family, work, church, community, and self. Just as the thumb and fingers center around the palm (Christ) and cannot work independent of the palm, every area of your life should center around Christ. You cannot afford to leave the Lord out of the equation in any area.

God assigns each of us different sized plates according to our needs and abilities. Like the food on our physical plates, we often have too much of the wrong things and not enough of the right things on the plate of life. The key to successfully juggling your roles and responsibilities is to meet with God at the start of each day seeking His wisdom, insight, discernment and guidance.

Morning sets the tone for the day. While you may have an agenda for the day; God also has an agenda for you. Each of us are given twenty-four hours every day. Although it may not seem like it, this time is sufficient to accomplish God’s will for the day. Proverbs 3:6 tells us to, “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (NLT).

I am amazed by what you learn when you consult the Lord at the start of each day. What you believed was of vital importance loses its significance as you allow the Lord to remove it from your plate. Conversely, God is in the habit of filling our plate with things we would prefer to leave off. But our Heavenly Father really does know what is best for His children regarding the contents of our plates. Consulting God keeps you from wasting precious time on things that really do not matter in the grand scheme of things. Psalm 143:8 is a wonderful prayer to seek God’s will for your day…“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you” (NLT). There are times when some things will require more of your attention than others. Be willing to shift your focus as the Lord directs you. Spending time with God is not negotiable.

Finally, only God is omnipotent (all powerful) and omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time). You will wear yourself out trying to be everything to everybody. Maintaining your sanity means learning to politely say “no.” John 15:5 says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” This includes learning how to manage your plate.

II Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. Who comforteth us in all our tribulation.” Stressed out? Fill up on the Word of God. Feel like you are being buried beneath the weight of your circumstances? Allow God to be your comfort. Choose to make the Bible your comfort food. Learning to allow God to fill your plate is a process. Remember, progress is never perfect. Ask God to help you develop appropriate self-care strategies and learn ways to relax without food. Remember…When you make time for God, He always makes a way for you!

Until next time…Be blessed!

Rev. Cynthia Jackson, Rhema Inspirations

Rev. Cynthia Jackson is the administrator of the Rhema4U Blog and Innovations Ministries Director. Rev. Jackson is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was licensed and ordained under the tutelage of Bishop David G. Evans. She is an associate minister at Bethany Baptist Church located in Lindenwold, New Jersey. Rev. Jackson founded Innovations Ministries in 2001. Innovations Ministries provides dynamic and innovative programs and services for individuals and families dealing with various health-related issues. She is a gifted teacher, preacher, conference speaker and writer. God has anointed Rev. Jackson to be a spiritual midwife with a passion to empower others to birth God's vision for their lives. Rev. Jackson holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Organizational Management from Eastern University, a Master of Science Degree in Health Administration from Saint Joseph's University and a Master of Science Degree in Christian Counseling from Cairn University.

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