Saturday, October 12, 2013
My biggest takeaways from the Soulation Gold Gathering weren't the things I would have expected. Exhibit A: the importance of Sabbath. Sadly, it's been years since I consistently practiced any concept of Sabbath - my awareness of this lack was heightened before I even went to the Gathering. I know that rest is a COMMAND, which I ignore to my own detriment. But if I take a whole day to rest and/or do whatever I want, it's just not possible to get everything done. And I don't have enough hours in the other six days to work extra hard to free up the time. For me, the stress of that would negate the day of rest anyway.
But thinking about this, and experiencing the rest and refreshment I had in Colorado, cast the craziness of my everyday life into alarming relief. As I've mentioned before, for several months (and really for most of my adult life), I've been operating on adrenaline. There's no time for being, only for doing. I am addicted to doing, and the pressure to do constantly is tremendous. My journey with busyness has been somewhat like what many people experience with antidepressants. I reach an unhealthy place where I have to quit some activity for my own sanity. So I do. Then, before long, I'm presented with an attractive new opportunity. Because I feel so much better due to the increased free time, I think, "Yes, I can and should do this!" and happily sign up, and the cycle starts again. Soon I'm back in this maxed-out place wondering how I got here. I'm embarrassed at how many times this has happened.
2013 has been my year of learning to own my identity as a writer. So I'm newly aware that the frantic brain and the creative brain are diametrically opposed. I cannot create if I never stop rushing from one activity to the next. It's a smaller vicious cycle nested inside the first one - I'm overstressed, I can't think to write, then I feel more stressed because writing is how I process life. In a similar vein, when I'm too busy, I can't "hear" God. All the noise drowns Him out. Then I feel disconnected from Him, which makes everything else worse. To fulfill my calling and be fully human, I have to give my mind, heart, and soul more room to breathe. Taking time to rest is not selfishness. It's what enables me to do the important things.
So I'm starting small. I'm thinking a lot about how I can create pockets of rest in my life, more time to write and relax and be. I'll have to lay down some of my pride - in taking care of my lawn all by myself, in not being seen as undependable or a quitter. But more than a lesson in humility, this is a lesson in trust. I listen so readily to the voices of fear, to those who tell me I have to do more and more and more in order to find a man. In the quiet of the mountains, I felt God asking me, Hey, do you think you can trust Me with this? I didn't realize until that moment that, successfully spooked by "God won't bring the right man to your door," I'd gone to the opposite extreme.
It won't be easy, but it's time (again) to stop striving. It's time (again) to remember who's in charge of the universe, and stop feeling like I'm solely responsible to make everything happen. He's got this, and I need to quiet myself enough to listen for His voice and for the words He's given me. I need to lay in the sunshine and let it do its life-giving work on the seeds in my soul.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Every so often, life sneakily builds up on me until I'm at a breaking point. Over the last month or two, I've spent most of my lunch hours rushing to appointments, crossing tasks off my to-do list (stressing all the while about getting back to work late), or leaving early so I could go out of town or meet a service person at my house... then scrambling around attending events and stuff in the evenings and on weekends. I realize that this is normal life to many people, but personally, I can only power through for so long. I felt stressed constantly and couldn't deal with it anymore. Even after taking some time to relax last weekend, I hadn't come out of my mental fog.
So last Friday, I took a vacation day just to catch up on my life. I accomplished most of my nagging to-dos in that one day!* It's crazy how much easier it is to get things done in the daytime. Even though I slept in, by noon, I had already visited the car tag office** and gotten my tires rotated at Wal-Mart (and easily did the shopping while I waited). In just a few hours, I knocked out a list of errands that would have taken forever individually on a night or weekend. It was incredibly liberating. Then, with nothing hanging over my head, I was able to HAVE A WEEKEND. I had time for a leisurely brunch with a friend, reading, napping, catching up on my DVR, and even renting a movie (which has become the height of luxury to me for some reason).
I've concluded that my life would be vastly improved if I could have one Errand Day per month. One day (or even half-day) solely devoted to Doing All The Things, during which no one is allowed to call and redirect my plans or ask me for anything. Sometimes I feel ridiculous struggling to manage everything as a single woman. I sense mothers rolling their eyes at me thinking, How hard can it be? (and seriously, working mothers, I don't know how you do it). But as my friend and I agreed this weekend, single women are solely responsible for managing our own households. Even if it's only a household of one (and pets), we're doing it all on our own with no help and little time.*** As I've said before, single homeownership is not for the fainthearted. In addition to home responsibilities, most single women juggle busy social schedules to meet our needs for interaction… not to mention the time-suck of "putting ourselves out there" at every opportunity in the faint hope of meeting someone (because, as people love to remind us, God will not deliver the right man to our door). This is especially draining for me as an introvert, which is probably why I have these occasional breakdowns. I want to live a full and interesting life. I also want to know when I'm still single and too old to have children that I did everything I could. But often, all I really want is to stay happily at home with my cats and a good book and have it be okay.
Anyway, taking that day was one of the best things I've done for myself in a while. I can't really afford to do that as often as I'd like to, but in the future, I'll be less hesitant to take the time when stuff starts piling up. It's worth it.
* = The main thing I didn't do: call Comcast to cancel/negotiate my cable. I can't pay their exorbitant costs anymore, but I don't understand the competitors' cable/internet options and false advertising and hidden installation fees, and I also dread calling and arguing with them. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP.
** = Heads up: if you buy a car outside Shelby County and keep your old tag, it will NOT be transferred automatically. Even if the dealership said they would handle it, and you received completed transfer paperwork from the Tennessee Department of Whatever.
*** = This is still fathoms better than managing a household of two with no help and little time. (Been there, done that.) But that doesn't mean it's easy.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
|my faithful companion and foot warmer|
My normal week came to a screeching halt on Tuesday when I was diagnosed with the flu - just the news I'd been praying (in the midst of my agony) not to hear. The doctor told me to stay at home till Saturday and not to go back to work until Monday. I've never taken so much time off work for an illness, including more serious ones. But she seemed pretty adamant, so I was afraid to disobey. Besides, maybe if my co-workers stayed home instead of coming to work sick all the time, I wouldn't be in this predicament. :P My boss brought me my work computer, so now that I've checked my e-mails and seen for myself that nothing is exploding in my absence, I feel less anxious about my forced vacation.
On this Day 3 of quarantine, I feel fairly okay. I'm fever-free (thank you Lord) and able to get around the house a little bit. I even finished putting the ornaments on my Christmas tree, though it took a while. All this stillness and relaxation is a startling contrast to my everyday life. It always takes a doctor's note to get me to truly rest for an extended time. Even then, I feel ridiculous for not being able to run around like usual. I keep learning the hard way that if I refuse to give myself a real break when needed, God and/or my body will make it happen eventually. But believe it or not, I have learned to live at a slower pace over the past year, and I think it shows. Aside from feeling bad, I'm enjoying not having to go anywhere or do anything strenuous - getting to read and sleep and watch shows in real time! But I will be REALLY ready to venture back out into the world on Saturday!