It depends who you are listening to. (We often get what we are looking for but I’m jumping ahead of myself.)
What if it were Gabby Bernstein? Gabrielle Bernstein is a Youtube Next Vlogger; a New York Times bestselling author, motivational speaker, and even a giver of tips on how to (oh, please) tone your butt. Her advice:
“If you are someone who gets overwhelmed by the idea that you need to ‘have it all’ then this principle is for you. Whenever you find the voice of your inner achievement addict, give yourself permission to thrive at one or two things and let go of the rest, for now. This principle is not suggesting that you give up your dreams or put your passions to the side. In fact, it’s saying the opposite. This suggestion gives you the opportunity to excel in many areas of your life and maintain the momentum. When we allow ourselves to focus on what’s right in front of us then we can manage and sustain the flow of our life. Whereas if we’re trying to ‘do it all’ at once we will inevitably burn out.”
In short, you can have it all but not all at the same time! Sounds reasonable, but are the people who want it all known to be reasonable to begin with?
Here’s more street-smart advice. What if it is the voice of the working woman who wants a career and a family at the same time? Laraine T Zappert researched and wrote her findings, citing what one Venture Capitalist posited: “Can a woman have it all? Can she have a high-powered professional career and still have kids? Sure – just as long as she doesn’t plan on ever seeing them!”
On the flip side, Susan Patton, author of Marry Smart, argues: “Wise up, revise the math, and instead invest 75 percent of your time finding a partner, having children, and 25 percent on your profession. The pay-off is much more rewarding in the long term.” She adds: “Don’t start looking for a husband in your 30s. If you do, you go up against women 10 years younger, and that is a terrible competitive disadvantage in this marketplace. You can have a career and a husband and kids, as long as you start early and plan accordingly.’” Given in the American context but surely it’s extrapolate-able to Asia?
Life can be likened to a dinner buffet spread at a 5-star hotel. It’s just not possible to eat everything, though everything is meant to be eaten. Prioritisation is the key. Is this restaurant famous for their wagyu beef from the Carvery; or the tongue-teasing chilli crab; or the “buddha-jumps-over-the-wall” celestial soup? Go only for the best (“high net worth”) till you hit your three-quarter mark, then slowly cruise over to the “mass affluent” section to take up any slack. “The eye is bigger than the stomach” – indeed! How expandable is your potential capacity? And, for a fitting finale, will there be space to sweeten the deal with the delectable desserts?
"When we allow ourselves to focus on what's right in front of us then we can manage and sustain the flow of our life. Whereas if we're trying to 'do it all' at once we will inevitably burn out."
The guiding dynamic of Prioritisation translates into “first things first”. In the buffet analogy, one is advised against bulking up on the fried rice or bread rolls. These are mere “fillers” and should be avoided or taken in sparingly, if there’s still space after a staggering number of shuttle runs to the laden tables.
But is bingeing the good life?
Our Lord Jesus told the story of the man who thought he had it all (Lk 12:13-21). His harvest was plentiful, to say the least. There was no more room in the barns. He just had to build bigger barns. But all this was in vain when God called “Time’s up” on him and he had little credit to show for in his account. He was not “rich towards God”. Storing things up just for oneself simply doesn’t cut it. Bad deficit.
Putting God first is having it all (Mt 6:33). And everyone can do this – each in his own respective situation and circumstance in life – poor or rich, clever or average, young or old. And then “all these things shall be added to you” and, guess what, these things don’t bring with them pain or regret or anxiety or even a sensation of bloating. Cheers.
Dr Andrew Goh is the editor of IMPACT Magazine
This article 'Have it all and still get it right?' is featured in the latest issue of IMPACT (Aug/Sep 2017). Subscribe today.
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