Have you ever had to learn the same lesson twice? Sigh… A few years ago the Lord led me through a season of simplifying and clearing things off my plate. I am a champion plate spinner. Not this kind…
Although I would love to look that elegant while spinning the plates that make up my life. My husband, Mark, likes to say that I fit
THIS ( )
much stuff into
THIS ( )
much time. Bad habit. Most of the time I can keep it together and pull it off but a lot of the time I end up looking like some version of this:
(That is me on the phone saying yes to one more “good” thing that I don’t really have time for:)
Well, here I am again:) I may have mentioned this before on my blog but my junior year in college I was REALLY struggling mentally, physically and emotionally, so my campus minister suggested that I go and see our on-campus counselor. I did and after going over my schedule and my extra-curricular activities she helped me recognize that the with taking 21 hrs and more activities than I could count I was suffering from self-induced overcommitment, resulting in major burnout.
You would think I would catch on to this pattern I have, but apparently I am a slow learner. Kerri Wyatt Kent wrote a book titled “breathe:Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life” that I am currently rereading. I learned so much reading this the first time and this morning this paragraph hit home with me: “Despite the fact that a doctor is telling us that hurry will cause us to feel fatigued or depressed, gain weight, and lose interest in sex, we still find it hard to slow down. Why? I think it is in part because we believe the lie that ‘if I am busy, I must be important.'”
Um, yeah…okay as sad as that sounds, that is what goes on in my brain I think. Subliminally, somehow busy means important, necessary, worthy. The Truth is that what I accomplish does not determine my worth. My identity and worth is based on the Savior that loves me. I KNOW this but I don’t always internalize it and truly live it. The title to this blog, “Living not striving…” was born from this same aha moment the first time I read this book.
So the result is that often I sacrifice what is best for what is simply good. It may be good to volunteer as the room mom but perhaps what would be best would be for me to truly have intimate time with the Lord each day. It may be good for me to make a new mom a homemade dinner but it may be truly best for me to have a calm afternoon at home with the boys and end the day with a relaxing night for my husband after a busy, busy week. It may be good for me to facilitate the spring women’s Bible study but it may be best for me to have an hour each day to exercise, read or just have space to think.
It is good to serve and love other people, but it is BEST to serve and love my family who should be my first priority. It is BEST to obey and follow His plan for my time instead of simply living the way everybody else is because, well, that is what is expected and acceptable. Other people’s choices are BEST for them, but I need to ask the Lord what is BEST for me. It does sound a bit backward because there are definitely times where God asks us to sacrifice our time, comfort and resources to bless and serve other people. I guess I am again realizing that sometimes I say “yes” and “do” just because I think people expect me to and it is the right thing to do instead of really taking the moment to ask the Lord if this opportunity is indeed where I am supposed to invest my resources.
Much of this may not make sense and I apologize for that. But it is making sense to me and resonating within. Peeking into my heart and examining my motives is necessary when making decisions about my priorities, resources and time.
So the thing is, here I am again sensing the Lord is asking me to evaluate my priorities, the way I spend my time and where my focus should be. I have improved this time around but apparently there is still a lot more room for refinement:) Shifting my priorities and creating margin in my life is NOT easy. It is requiring me to sacrifice some activities that I really value, but in this season are not a priority. It also means leaning in and listening to the Lord answer my question,”What do You want?”. That takes quieting my soul long enough to actually listen. And quite honestly some of His answers have not been very popular with me or the people that love me.
Balance, simplify, listen, lean in, create margin. So that is where I am …Here again.