Drop the Agenda

By Marjorie F. Eddington

Categories: Family and Friendship, Friendship, Golden Rule, Jesus' Commandment - To Love as He Loved, Relationships

We all have agendas, to-do lists, plans. We have to get the kids out the door in the morning, become financially independent, fix something at home, win a competition, prove a point….

Now some agendas are more important than others. But at times, even the smallest agenda can become highly important to us in the moment. In fact, it can become so important that it can cause intensity, division, and arguments.

What would happen if we dropped our agenda … simply dropped it? Instead of getting more and more upset that the kids aren’t getting to bed, that our spouse isn’t getting what we’re saying, or that we’re not getting the recognition we deserve at work … what if we let go of our plan?

This would instantly diffuse the intensity that builds up and destroys the harmony and peace that provides us with the mental atmosphere to find solutions, strengthen relationships, and actually get things done. If I drop my agenda, I no longer feel the need to fight. I’m not trying to change someone to see things my way. I’m not trying to force others to do what I want them to do.

If I drop my agenda, I am instantly open to the need of the moment, aware of what really matters. And the only agenda that really matters is love: Express Love; Live love; Be love; See love; Respond with love. Feel love. Love, love, love.

Christ Jesus understood this. He demonstrated it daily. What greater drop-of-the-agenda could you have than Jesus declaring in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested, “I want your [God’s] will to be done, not mine.” And when he did that, “an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him.” But it still wasn’t easy: “He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood” (Luke 22:42-44 NLT).

Jesus was able to give his life into God’s hands in this supremely difficult moment because he had practiced giving up his own agenda his whole life. His life was never about him; it was about God. It was about love, about God’s love for all (all means all) of us, about God being Love.

Just think about the times Jesus’ own agenda was interrupted:

  • He wanted to sleep on the boat, but a storm arose on the sea, and his disciples were terrified and woke him up. So he stilled the storm. Love.
  • He wanted to go up into a mountain to get away and be able to pray, but the multitudes followed him, so he healed them and fed them. Love.
  • Jesus was on the way to heal Jairus’s daughter, but a woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years touched his garment, and he healed her. Love.

There are countless more examples. Jesus just kept turning over his life to God. And we can, too. When we drop our agenda, we are open to hear what God has planned for us. And it is always far greater than we could ever dream up ourselves.

So rather than doggedly trying to accomplish our agenda, let’s see everything that happens as an opportunity to love—to love ourselves and others. How do we do this? Here are some ideas:

  • As the argument starts with our spouse, sibling, or friend about why something didn’t get done, we stop midsentence and breathe. We let love lead and look at it from his/her perspective.
  • When we feel ourselves getting upset as we try to get resisting children to brush their teeth, we stop forcing the issue, sit back, and look at them with love. We listen with our hearts to their needs and their feelings. Maybe they just need a hug and reassurance that we love them.
  • As we intensely marshal up a defense for our position at work, possibly blaming someone else, we let go it go, take time for spiritual nourishment, consider all the factors, and open up to the universe of possibilities.
  • When we’re doing something we think is important and a child, a friend, a parent, a partner asks us to do something, wants our attention, needs assistance, we stop what we’re doing. We allow ourselves to be interruptible, and we focus on them, totally.

In all of these situations and more, when we drop our agenda, we let the others know that we’re on their side, that we love and/or respect each other, and that we find solutions together. So instead of creating a rift, we have built a bridge of love.

When we make others feel loved, when we love ourselves, when we live a life of love, we can feel fantastic that we have indeed succeeded, for we have accomplished the only agenda that’s really worth accomplishing: LOVE.