About this time each year, I realize that I neglected to enjoy my beautiful garden fresh tomatoes on a classic BLT. For us tomato lovers, there is nothing better than the taste of perfectly ripe, sweet, and juicy heirloom tomato in a sandwich. I don’t eat bread or bacon regularly, so when I do, I go all out.
As I enjoyed this year’s perfect BLT I reflected on how often we’re served hard, pale pink pieces of a tomato like fruit. The taste and texture are so unappealing that most people set them aside to be tossed in the trash. What’s the point of even offering them? It’s a waste of time, money, and natural resources.
This prompted me to start thinking about the tomatoes in my life. All the things that I approach half-heartedly just to check them off my list. Are they important? Do they need to be there? Or are they wasting my resources?
When it comes to tomatoes, quality is important. My husband, Jer, didn’t eat tomatoes until we started growing our own. Up until then, he had only been served those hard, pale pink spheres. Once he discovered the deliciousness of homegrown heirlooms, he couldn’t get enough.
The same is true of our personal resources. Our time, energy, and finances should be saved for the people and activities that are of the highest quality. Still, many of us find our days filled with relationships and activities that are not only unsatisfying, but drain us.Everything we put energy into takes energy away from something else. Click To Tweet
Everything we put energy into takes energy away from something else. So while we’re focused on stacking those pale pink slices, our ripe heirlooms are left to rot.
We get stuck in patterns that drain us for the same reasons restaurants put those pale pink slices on our burgers.
- We believe it’s what people expect of us and we’re afraid of their reaction if they notice it’s missing.
- It’s a habit that we’ve had so long that we’ve never considered not doing it.
- We’re so focused on the habit, checking it off the list, that we fail to notice what’s being tossed aside.
- No one has ever told us they don’t enjoy them or would be happy without them.
- We’re just doing what we’ve been told to do without questioning the end result.
- And we never bothered to ask.
I’m sure there are many other reasons we keep doing those things we shouldn’t be doing. Whatever the reason, at some point we need to consider how they fit into the big picture. Are they helping your mission, or hurting it?
Here are some questions you should ask.
- Have you stopped enjoying it?
- Does it feel like a burden?
- Are you doing it because you’re worried about what others might think?
- Do you ever question the purpose behind it?
- Have you ever felt conflict with your personal values?
- Have you been doing it this way for so long that you’ve stopped considering other options?
- Do you feel like your efforts are unappreciated?
If you answered yes to any one of these questions, it may be time to stop and reflect.
Just like it’s a waste of time and resources to purchase, wash, slice, and serve those pale pink tomatoes, it’s wasteful to spend your limited resources on activities that are not important to you.
This, of course, means you need to know what is important to you. If you’re struggling in this area, I assure you that we’ve all been there. I think it’s a normal part of growth. Check out my section on Clarifying Your Calling to learn more.
Identifying the pale pink tomatoes in our life is only just the start. Next, we must find the courage to stop doing it. It can be really hard to say no. Even if we know without a doubt that it’s the right thing for us and our family.
We worry about what people might say. We think about the consequences of pulling back. We feel guilty for not being able to do it all. We might even feel incompetent for not being able to make it work.
Did you notice a common theme there? It’s on us. We worry. We think. We feel.
In my experience, the people we’re saying no to probably won’t even notice. They’re too busy juggling their own tomatoes. They might even say, “It’s about time.”
If feathers are ruffled, they’ll get over it quickly. This is especially true if we articulate that we’re doing what’s best for ourselves and our families. As for those who don’t understand, they’re probably not people we want in our lives anyway.
As the year comes to an end, I invite you to consider things you don’t need to carry into the New Year. Life is too short for anything less than a perfect tomato!Life is too short for anything less than a perfect tomato! Click To Tweet
What are the pale pink tomatoes in your life you need to put on hold?
Share in the comments below and tell us how you plan to handle them.
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