I Need A Time Out
I would love to say that is a tongue in cheek statement, but I really need to be sat down and forced to STOP. I need my electronics taken away and I need to be forced to spend so quiet time reading, writing and completing some tasks on my to do list. If you are a multi-tasking, time managing, perfectionist….you need the same thing. I also need to stop hating my job. It’s like a chain weighing me down.
I have this bad habit of if I can’t do something with excellence, I just do not want to do it at all. I have a problem asking for what I see as “selfish” help. If I said I would do something, I should not ask for help from anyone…except my husband and children because they are automatically voluntold. (Hence the reason my husband is the most amazing man I know, next to my Daddy.)
Let me tell you, not asking for or accepting help can rob two people of a blessing. The one helping and yourself are both blessed when you let pride fall and say “YES! I’m drowning, please help.” Last week we had an event for the Aspire Youth Girls “She Is Enough”. I was one of the driving forces behind this brain child and as such…I was cooking. We were at the church to decorate earlier in the day and I was in a panic. I had to pick up my son from school, take him to the church for the all guys event and somehow cook stuffed shells in the process. My friend Erin rescued me in regards to getting my son to the Church. She came by the house and took him where he needed to go. Another, new friend, Rachel came and helped stuff shells. There is no way to express how grateful I was to these two ladies. (By the way, they had to be at the same event in a few hours, as well.) Normally, I would have done whatever it took to make all this happen without help. I did not want to impose. These two ladies were a blessing. I made it back to the church, with dinner and in a dress…on time.
The perfectionist theme continues with Growth Track. My husband and I took over a the food component of Growth Track at our church several months ago. When we started the meals were purchased from various businesses in our community. It was a nice event, but I wanted to kick it up a notch. We started cooking 2-3 of the 4 weeks of meals. The gracious gifting of table skirting and various decorations from my mother allowed us to put a little more polish on the event. Our pastors do an extraordinary job presenting the information and guiding people through learning about our church and getting plugged in, I felt it is only right and proper for my part to mirror their efforts. Mind you, I LIVE FOR THIS. I love cooking for people. No matter how exhausted I may be on Saturday night, the reactions from people on Sunday afternoon are well worth it. It is a gift I can share with others. I look forward to Growth Track months, even when they fall back to back. (It is a great way to sneak in time with my husband too.)
The problem is I have a very high expectation of myself. I really do want everything perfect. Right down to food being blessed and people moving through the service line before the staff arrives to start the class. Let me be very clear. I love doing this. I KNOW that our efforts are appreciated. In addition to Growth Track, we help with other food related events. I work with the youth group and I have a bi-weekly connect (small) group. Guess what, my small group cooks too. Juggling these things is completely manageable, if I give myself permission to not be 100% all of the time. Here is the thing, I may give 100% but seldom does anything turn out perfect…at least in my eyes. I know a lot of people from my church read my blogs on occasion. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read this sentence…I do not want to give any of it up, it blesses me to serve in these capacities. (In case you had not figured it out, I have been warned not to burn myself out.) I trudge through my job so I can get to serve in these areas. If I could create some more hours in my week…I would be doing more.
The problem is between my job, which I have little joy in, and my family and church, which give me lots of joy…I am being pulled in dynamic extremes. When I have a few moments, I have little motivation to write, because I am exhausted. I start reading my bible or a book and start to doze off. I really do not want to sound like I am complaining. (OK I complain a lot about my job. We will address that a little later.) My sleep is restless. I have so many thoughts running through my head and sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and write them down. These thoughts go from work related things to household projects or ways to assist or improve on something at the church. My brain is on overdrive. I have so many thoughts I can’t seem to get them all together in one place. Which I admit makes me and this edition of the blog sound a little crazy. The only time my mind seems quiet and focused is when I pray. Honestly, only when I am praying praise and thanksgiving. When I pray to the issues in my life, my mind goes a little off target. Sometimes going off target leads to praying about things I was not even focused on. Other times it is just a jumbled mess of word vomit that only God could make sense of.
Just Keep Working, Just Keep Working (It’s not working, Dory!)
So lets address the job thing…again. I apologize. I am sick of talking about my job so you have to be sick of reading about it. (Feel free to skip to next section.) My morning prayer, before I get out of bed is a prayer of thanks. I ask for nothing. I thank God I have another day. I thank Him for the roof above me, the food in my kitchen, the coffee my husband already has brewed. I thank Him for my children, my family , my friends and my church. I also thank Him that my husband and I both have jobs. I thank Him for the health insurance I have through my company and the company vehicle. Yes, I thank God for anything I can find positive about my job. Honestly, this has made my bitterness lessen toward the job. It provides for me and my family and for that I am thankful. I just happen to dread work every. single. day. WHY? It is not a bad job. I have a great supervisor. It can be very interesting. I just don’t like what I do. I am sick of driving so much. I am so over being rained and snowed on. Not a fan of driving long distance in inclement weather. (Especially when the weather service has said stay off the roads.) I’m not real keen on driving to remote areas, by myself, without my sidearm and no cell service. (If I disappear at 9AM, no one is looking for me till at least 4:30 or 5 PM.) Most of all, there is no joy in this job for me. I am not “into” cars. I could not care less how many horsepower you have in your jacked up F150. All that aftermarket stuff…not impressed. My car is a tool to get me where I need to go…I do not need anyone to “Pimp My Ride”. I am a social person and I work a very isolating job. I spend 4-6 hours a day all alone. No human interaction, unless you count talking back to my radio. (Probably a sign that I have bigger problems.) I feel no purpose or joy in what I do. I am sure my Dad who has worked in a factory for the last 40+ years doesn’t feel any of that in his job either. So yes, I am willing to admit I sound like a Gen X BRAT.
“Do something you love and you will never work a day in your life.” Not sure who coined the phrase but I have heard it for years. So what do I truly love to do? We know I love to write. I love to cook. I enjoy fixing or improving things. Like our Growth Track program, nothing was wrong with the program or the food. I saw an opportunity to enhance something while ultimately cutting the overall cost. (This is actually a game to me and I enjoy playing it.) So the quandary is everything I love to do…I do for my church and my family. I suppose one could look at my job and personal life balancing each other out…one makes me happy the other not so much, but it pays the bills. The only draw back, is after an event at church…I resent my job a little more the next day. So I pray a little harder. I ask God to give me peace and let the Holy Spirit reveal whatever it is in me preventing a break through in this situation.
Someone is reading this and thinking, “It’s a job, you are not supposed to be happy” or “God did not promise happy”. Every good thing comes from God. If I am unhappy in my job, that is not God’s will because that is not a good thing. Either I am doing something preventing satisfaction in my job and stopping my prayers about the situation or God is preparing me. If I were content in my job, it would not be as easy to pursue what God puts before me. I have been saying for some time that I believe I am being prepared for something. I believe ministry is a part of that, but I do not know if that is a full-time calling. Perhaps there is a job right around the corner for a process manager that writes and cooks. (OK not likely, but 2 out of 3 would work.)
Is There An Answer?
I may not know the path, but God goes before me through the valley so I am safe. The job situation I have to leave in God’s hands. I need to stop picking it up, dragging it away from the altar and playing with the issue in the parking lot. It is a heavy burden for me and I need to give it to the one who can handle my heaviest burdens. I have to let go. Worrying about this situation is a sure sign I am not fully trusting God to handle it. (Remember those mind walkabouts I mentioned…my brain now has “Let It GO” running through it.) I have to press in a little harder. I have to focus a little more. I have to ask for God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Then I have to receive the help that has been there all along.
The other part of the answer is protecting some of my time. I have a book to read “The Best Yes” by Lisa TerKeurst that addresses making decisions, when to say “No” and protecting your time. I just have not had time to read it. (The irony is strong in this one.) Our Lead Pastor, Luke, shared a story at a quarterly meeting about a baker who starves himself. He was great at what he did but he failed to feed himself and subsequently starved. I have got to etch out protected time, scheduled time to do things like read, write or just sit at the park and watch the ducks. (Random, but they make me happy.) I need to take a deep breath not to get to the next appointment or obligation, but just to enjoy the air. I do not want a week or even a weekend away. I miss my family and my church when I am gone. I need a cup of coffee and a book at Panera Bread. I need a blanket, some sun and a nice patch of grass.
It is important to take care of ourselves. Not just spiritually and physically, but on a personal level. Even the most social person needs a time out from things. We have to pour into ourselves so we can pour into others. I had the privilege to speak to our Aspire Youth Girls at the “She Is Enough” event. I spoke on I Corinthians 13. One of the points I made was we have to love God first, then ourselves and then others. I am not talking about being self-centered. If we do not love God and accept his love, we cannot love others. In order to love others, we also have to love ourselves. We have to love ourselves enough to be patience and kind with ourselves. We have to pour into ourselves so that we can reflect God’s love to others. (I need to follow my own little pearls of wisdom.)
So the next two Saturday’s don’t look for me. The first Saturday is a family day and the 11th is going to be a me day. (In fact I am finally going to use that massage my husband got me for Christmas.) Both days I am going to write, read and remember that is about me, every now and then. No phones either. So take this as permission to take a little time for you and make it all about you. Pour into yourself in word and action. Let me know how it works for you.
Until next time, enjoy a…