This has definitely been one of those weeks. You know, the ones you’re happy to survive. That coming out of it with your head still attached counts as a victory.
Actually, I think it’s been one of those months.
You know, the ones where every single responsibility you have taken on, converge on themselves to make one big black hole of late night studies, and early morning drives.
Yeah, you do. Don’t lie.
How did I get here?
The problem is, everything that was driving me nuts last month were things that I love. Teaching, serving, learning, and of course, writing. Most of the time, when you tell someone you might have too much on your plate, the first suggestion they offer is, “Just learn to say no.”
I can say no. In fact, I do it often. I said ‘yes’ to these commitments for a reason. It’s not like I didn’t see what was coming. I wanted to be a part of all those things, and I had to say ‘no’ to other things I wanted to do so I could focus on what I really loved. And I really love 4 things.
Over the course of the last 3 or 4 years I’ve been slowly discovering a passion I have for the youth in my church. I’ve got some great ideas, and I really think that with the grace of God I can create a ministry that works, building on the block of what I’ve learned. And now is the perfect time. I’m young so I still understand the youth, but I’m growing up a little every day.
Last month we finished my high school and elementary age classes. At the end of the year, that is, last month, we ‘publish’ a book of all our assignments for the class year. Poetry, and short stories, all written by the students get compiled, printed, and bound. The looks on their faces when I hand them the book that they’ve written, proving that all the homework was finally worth it, makes all the work I did putting it together seem effortless. Although, it did take a lot of time!
Two of my friends had birthdays this month, another had a baby shower, one moved, and three more are home on spring break. I don’t know if you know this, but keeping in touch with friends, especially right after high school, takes effort. So phone calls, Facebook messages, cards and coffee, get added to the list.
Now I’ve saved the best for last. Writing the THE passion of my life. It’s my purpose, if you will. Part of my identity. So you can imagine that when everything else in my life leaves little room for writing, I get cranky.
So, when an opportunity came my way, I jumped at it. A friend of mine owns a publishing company. Not like a New York Publishing House. But a publishing company nonetheless. It’s pretty cool.
Last month, she announced she was publishing an Anthology of romance short stories. I thought, “I’ve got a couple of those in an old notebook somewhere. I’ll just dust a few off.”
Not that easy my friend. They were pieces of garbage with a good idea underneath, like most rough drafts. So I embarked on an impossible mission of rewriting, revising, and submitting two short stories in 8 days. Talk about some late nights! What was I thinking!
But you know what, I got it done. 🙂
Friendships maintained, classes finished, ministry started, and short stories submitted. And I hope you’ll forgive me my ego-mania for a second, but I did a pretty darn good job at it, too. And I can’t wait for it to start all over again.
Like the title of this post indicates, my focus word for the year is DEDICATED.
That’s how I want to live this year. And that is how I lived the last month. Trust me, I would not have survived otherwise. So my advice to anyone who is living in one of those times of busyness is this:
- Make sure everything that you’re doing is something you really love. If you only sort of care, and you’re already burnt out, then maybe you really do need to ‘learn to say no’. But if you fill up your schedule with things that you love, and that give you life even when you’re busy, you won’t burn out as easily.
- Beware of using that word ‘dedicated’, or similar words as a trap to continue burning yourself out. I know you want to ‘dedicate’ yourself to 9 events a day, but the simple fact is that there is only so much of you to go around. The word actually means being able to give more of yourself to less things, not spreading yourself so thin that no one task gets more than a third of your attention.
- Follow it up with a time of rest, and relaxation. In fact, make time for rest at least a couple of hours a week while you’re working through the busyness. Then when you’ve accomplished much, take a week or two. That doesn’t mean do nothing for two weeks. For me, it just means leaving my days open for study and writing, and only having commitments in the evenings.
- Finally, be ready to apologize! Being busy and frazzled for any amount of time can shorten the fuse on your temper. Your family in particular will need a little extra repentance from you. And that’s okay, you’ll probably need a little extra forgiveness, too.
How do you survive the busy times? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to come back for more great content on Friday!