Note: I am currently seeking representation for Thirty by Thirty, a reverently irreverent memoir of my 365-day, 30 faith journey. If you are an interested literary agent or publisher, please contact me at email@example.com
In honor of my CNN article, I’m inducting the following posts and people into the Thirty by Thirty Hall of Fame. (Drumroll, please!)
Favorite visit: A Warm Baptist Welcome To…
Most controverisal: Unidentified Flying Objectors (Specifically applicable to all the crazy CNN comments!)
Funniest (and only remotely related to faith): My Very Bare-y Christmas ****First inductee: My dear husband, who took all my faith-craziness in stride and wouldn’t let me quit, even when I swore I was going to. He also saved me from a near-death experience this holiday season.
Recent crowd favorite, and my Mother’s favorite: Alcohol vs. Aprons *****Both my parents are already in my Hall of Fame for being so supportive of this Thirty by Thirty journey. They didn’t (and don’t) always agree with me, but they never fail to love and support my path! Also, my best friend Erin was with me every step (and fall) of the way…including Amish Shopping. She deserves a Hall of Fame trophy just for listening to me cry all year….and making me laugh instead.
My mother-in-law’s favorite: Buddhist Temple Part 1 ******She (Becky) enters the Hall of Fame for accompying me to the Drive-in Church (We endured single-serving, coffee-creamer-esque communion), attending the Catholic Cathedral (we almost died of incense poisoning) AND participating in an authentic Native American guided meditation to find our Spirit Animals (She isbuffalo…so strong and mighty! I am a Peacock…the bird that can’t fly.)
Questioning: I AM___________
Reba Riley is a graduate of 15,000 hours of Christian education, the Focus on the Family Institute and the Ohio State University. When she isn’t selling construction materials full-time or freelancing at Reba Riley Ink, she’s writing writing from her home in Columbus, Ohio, where she lives with her wonderful husband and their crazy puppy. Contact Reba via Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) Facebook and Twitter (links at top of page).
In my career, I read for the Cliff Notes: if there is an easier way to accomplish sales goals, I find it. This means either A.) I am Very Lazy or B.)I am Very Awesome.
In the spirit of “sloth”, I work diligently on one thing (and one thing only): applying Pareto’s Principle, aka the 80/20 rule. I concentrate on finding and completing the 20% of activities yielding 80% of my dollar growth, thus depositing 80% of my workload in a do-later/never account. (And it earns major interest, this account. The interest of those who want to know how to do it!) I then consistently use the 80/20 rule to exploit all my activities to my bank account’s best advantage. Adept at trimming long-cuts to shortcuts and turning shortcuts into micro-cuts, I focus with laser-precision on top clients and prospects…pretty much ignoring everything else.The fruit of my honed slacking skills? Being in the top 5% of salespeople.
Bottom line: through focused “idleness”, I drive results. If it ain’t putting money in my pocket, it ain’t worth doin’.
As this is not a blog about work, sales or achievement, the attentive reader may wonder…what does all my slacking have to do with faith?
The 80/20 rule.
For a long time, I exhausted myself believing that to achieve the full benefits of faith, I had to fork over 100% of myself to my **religion’s brand of the Divine. (Plus 10% + of my income, but that is outside the scope of this article.) You may Come As You Are…but you’d better be ready to ante up on whatever you bring along. Time? You’ll be spending it in church. Money? Belongs to God. Hopes and dreams? Hand ‘em over…your calling is calling! Questions? Drop ‘em at the door. Romance? Leave room for Jesus, the Holy Matchmaker!
100% didn’t work for me, and I think if we’re honest, we’ll recognize that isn’t doesn’t work well for most. Even the devout among us fail to Live the Life, Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk 100% of the time, with 100% effort. It’s simply impossible. Still, many try; I know I certainly did. But the perpetual trying and failing? It leads to constant guilt. Abiding shame. Infinite ickiness. And one more thing: Trying to live faith at 100% fails to deliver results.
If the fruit [result] of the Spirit is [supposed to be] love, joy, peace…(Galations 5),and the 100% strategy shows love/joy/peace-numbers in the red, doesn’t that mean trouble? (I certainly wouldn’t be storing up any treasures in my heavenly bank account, if you know what I mean.) In order to get my love-joy-peace numbers to a profitable level, I applied my favorite factor, the 80/20 rule, to faith. It goes something like this:
1. 80% of the sought-after results are gained by seeking the 20% cause. For me, this means finding and applying the 20% of things that are common to most religions: Love God, Love Others. Seek God, Serve Others. Find God, Inspire Others. Bonus: By allowing myself to choose the 20%, I believe 100% of the time.
2. 80% of any given religion may be practiced with belief in only 20% of its tenants. By giving myself permission to believe in only 20% ( I can choose to believe in more) , I give myself the opportunity to practice said religion at 80% efficiency. Though imperfect, an 80% religious practice equals 100% more results than the 0% of requiring myself to believe everything before doing anything.
3. An 80/20 religious philosophy=0% guilt. I can toss the idea that I’m not doing it right, or enough, or…whatever. I’m doing my best and that’s OK!
I don’t encourage spiritual laziness; if there’s one place to work hard, it’s your heart. (I think this whole Thirty by Thirty thing earns me a membership in the Hardworking Spiritual Seekers of America) but that doesn’t mean you should stop short of working smart. So, if you’re having trouble living up to your religion, take a lesson from Pareto and try a results-driven 80/20 split. Grant yourself 100% grace, and you just might factor a faith you can believe in.
**Note: I am advocating applying 80/20 to RELIGION, not my realtionship with the Divine. Religion=everything outside this: Love God. Love Others.