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Mixed Emotions

August 11, 2020

Have you ever had mixed emotions?

You feel strongly about one thing, but something else is pulling you in a different direction?

Famous children’s book author E. B. White once said, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”

I understand where White was coming from. 

On the one hand, I have a desire to be productive. I want my time to be purposeful. So I want to attack the day, to grow my business, to impact my community, to share my faith, to invest in my family, and to get things done around my house. I want the world to be a  better place, and I want to be a part of it. 

Do you feel that same tug?


We don’t want to waste any of the time we’ve been given. I believe that we are all here for a purpose. And as a person who spends his time teaching and working to live out leadership principles, I am passionate about the power of purpose. 

But that doesn’t mean I always feel so motivated. In fact, there are many times when I desire to simply enjoy the world and the life I’ve been given. Someone recently shared with me that we only have eighteen summers at home with our children before they graduate high school. Eighteen. They reminded me that this is the only August I have with my son as a two-year-old. Doesn’t that put things in perspective? I want to soak up every moment with my son, watching him enjoy these carefree days as a child. I know they will fly by. 

Sometimes, we all just want to rest and spend time enjoying life. We don’t want to work, and instead we want to find ways to make our lives easier, more comfortable, and more fun. Life is short.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about this contrast a lot. Unfortunately, I don’t have a quick answer or pithy phrase about which one to choose.

In fact, I believe choosing one or the other will only leave you partially satisfied.

This pull between work and rest, productivity and enjoyment, is not a problem to solve. It’s a tension to manage. My challenge to you today is to lean into that tension. Understand that a fulfilled life is found in the balance. 

As Robert Fulghum says in his book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: “Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.”

I think that’s some good advice. Perhaps living a balanced life isn’t as complicated as it seems. If we could do it in kindergarten, why not now? 


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