Calibrating Our Pressure Gauge

24 Jul

CalibratingOurPressureGaugeI don’t know about you, but I set many goals for myself this year that were unmet. Partly to blame was the overachiever in me. Also, I have no crystal ball to tell me how my year is going to go, so I wrongly assume I have 18 hours free in every day to accomplish tasks.

I lay my plans out as if I wear a cape and boast superpowers, and then I privately whine to myself (and sometimes to others—okay, often to others) when they don’t happen. Meanwhile, my crazy ambition starts hissing a slow leak all year, and I fold under my unrealistic expectations into a heap of frustration.

If you can relate to this in any way, then this post is for you.

Maybe you don’t feel like you’ve failed work projects, but you regret not having more one-on-one investments in people, especially close loved ones in declining health. Maybe you wish you would have spent more time on home repairs this year, or you wanted to go back to school but didn’t.

At any point in time, whatever we keep busy with, we often feel something else is passing us by:

  • That sale on an item we’ve been saving for
  • That educational pursuit
  • That relationship
  • That new career direction
  • That mission/volunteer opportunity
  • That move/relocation

If you have children, like me, you may feel this on an entirely different level. It’s extra fun to stress on behalf of people for whom we are responsible:

  • Why didn’t I make him get a job this summer?
  • Why did I wait so long to teach them life skills like laundry and paying bills?
  • Why didn’t I play more games and read to them more?
  • Why didn’t I try to get this specialist or that professional for a second opinion?
  • Why did I jump to such quick conclusions?
  • Why didn’t I listen better?

Yeah, it’s safe to say that whispers of failure are always waiting for us around the corner to taunt us with where we could have used our time more wisely, where we are flawed, where we could have disappointed someone.

I know a few things to be true about those murmurs, and it helps me get a better perspective when I remember these:

  1. God is not saying those things. His voice is not one of condemnation. Gentle rebuke, yes. Conviction, sure. But He doesn’t make fun of us, put us down, or make us feel small. If He wants us to work on something or improve in some way, He offers His help and speaks it clearly to our hearts. He doesn’t confuse.

1 Corinthians 14:33, ESV, Apostle Paul speaking

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

  1. Most of the negative statements running through our heads don’t have much truth to them, and they aren’t really the voice of anyone but the enemy of our soul, whose mission it is to make us feel like losers 100 percent of the time. The recording that is constantly rewinding and replaying in our minds? Completely fueled by our own insecurities.
  2. We aren’t God, and we have no way of doing all of the things on our to-do list. If we do five items, then five other items don’t get done.

After I published a book last Fall, I felt I could take on the world! I was not a huge name out there, but this was significant achievement for me. During my book launch, I learned so much about the vast world of social media, building platform, time management, the publishing industry, etc. I planned to start my own publishing house, blog regularly, write my weekly column, research other sectors of the industry, keep up with social media, moderate a Christian blogging group, and publish more of my own books as well as those of my clients.

That’s so remarkable, isn’t it? Sound like an amazing list? All that on top of all mom duties and home management!

Well, I didn’t know my difficult year of advocacy, therapy, medical appointments, assessments, tests, health history paperwork, and home care for one of my children wasn’t over. We had only come through Part 1. Part 2 incrementally added to our ongoing list of driving in many directions, keeping a complex-and-very-full calendar, managing a child’s wellness at home, and trying new supplements and therapies.

My personal goals? I managed to start or maintain a few of them, but they were constantly squeezed into 45 minutes here or there outside the karate dojo, in the parking lot of the dance studio, or in the waiting room of an appointment, all shoved between meal preparation and laundry.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not complaining. I’m sure we’ve all had weeks/months/seasons of life like this from unexpected diagnoses, moves, job changes, etc. These are the ebbs and flows of life.

For me personally, this year was more or less an effective lesson in Proverbs 16:9.

It was the best case of Proverbs 16:9 I’ve had to date.


Because it helped me calibrate my pressure gauge (once I was cooperative and humble). And in this case, Proverbs 16:9 ushered in relief and rest.

Nothing I plan really matters. It’s okay that I have big dreams. God loves those. The Proverb clearly states we are going to plan.

In the end, however, God accomplishes His purposes.

If we yield to Him, we will never miss out on this, and ultimately,

we cannot fail.

When we do it in our own strength, we miss the entire point. When we accept that He establishes our steps, then whatever kind of year we are handed, there is peace to be found along the way.

I can almost curl up inside that promise, all cozy, and take a nap.

How about you? Where do you need to calibrate your “pressure” (goals and expectations) gauge to God’s promises?

I promise you will find tremendous peace when you realize that you do the trusting,

but He does the heavy lifting.

*This blog was first a featured column at Your Tewksbury Today.

**It has also been shared at any link highlighted here: Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-Up, Make a Difference Mondays, Pick Your Pin Tuesday, Women With Intention Wednesdays, Grace & Truth, A Little R & R, RaRa Link-Up, Me, Coffee & Jesus, Dance With Jesus, Blessing Counters, Coffee & Conversation, Saturday Soiree, Tell His Story, Find Stability, So Much at Home, Faith-Filled Fridays, Reflect His Love and Glory Link-Upand Christian Mommy Blogger.

More anecdotal stories about an everyday relationship with God can be found in Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day (includes Book Club Discussion Questions).


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9 responses to “Calibrating Our Pressure Gauge

  1. Coupon Diva (@RealCouponDiva)

    July 24, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    ALL of it – SO true! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      July 27, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      Thanks, Coupon Diva! I have to remind myself of these concepts all the time. Blessings!


  2. Christine Carter

    July 27, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Oh what an authentic and inspiring message, I surely needed this today- and every day really. I am constantly surrendering to that bar I hold so high… always feeling like my stretch wasn’t enough to grip it. I keep going back to prayer in asking the Father for guidance in my every day. We CAN’T do it all.. but He can show us where He wants us in the great wide landscape of choices.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      July 27, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      Such a great point, Chrissy! We can’t reach it on our own, and He has to show us what to tackle each day. It’s the best executive functioning plan there is, if only I observed it most days! Thanks for reflecting with me! 🙂


  3. Sharon

    July 27, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Got some heavy lifting that I really need the Lord to handle right now. And I’m praying that He’ll remind me that He is yoked with me all along the way!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      July 27, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Sharon…thanks for coming here to share part of your heart. I’m sorry for the heavy lifting right now. Praying for you right now. I am so glad you keep visiting and sharing your life with me. I am anxious to get back to reading blogs. He is definitely yoked with you….I love that reminder! Blessings, my friend! And prayers for strength, endurance, wisdom, comfort, and peace.


  4. Nance Biswas: Leaning on Jesus

    July 30, 2015 at 7:29 am

    This is so encouraging for a goal-oriented woman like me! Thanks a lot sis Bonnie! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      August 1, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks, Nance! I struggle with this so much! We need to remember to slow down, take deep breaths, and rest in Him. Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person


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