I’ve taken a break for a while from Cracked Pot Pieces. Sometimes you just have to be realistic about what is doable, and what is not. Women, in particular, seem to have a bit of trouble with this idea. It’s hard for us not to over commit ourselves. We hate to say no, we hate to let anyone down, but when we over extend ourselves, we let everyone down.
Just in the last year, I have gone back to working full time. It’s been almost twenty years since I worked full time. After I brought home that first baby boy, I dropped down to part time. It’s been that way until now. Now that baby boy is a sophomore in college, so back to full time work I went.
While I am most thankful for the employment, (College tuition is unbelievably expensive.) it’s changed some things for me. Most of which, if I am honest, I’m not really fond of. Full time hours means I am less available to do the things that I have always enjoyed the most about my life. I have always been available at any hour to all of my children. I have been available to help my ministry husband with whatever he needed my help with. I was able to spend time with my parents, friends, and I had time to enjoy the things that bring me personal pleasure. Things like writing. These days, with my free time so limited, I am having to pick and choose the things that I spend my time doing.
Back when I had time to read, I once read a book by John Maxwell about leadership. He wrote that he chooses carefully the things he will commit to. He has limited time also. He wrote that the return on the investment of his time must be great for him to commit to any activity or engagement. He has little time to waste. He taught me that sometimes its okay to say no.
I am learning how to manage my time better, now that I have so little of it. I am learning that I can no longer do everything, and that of the things I agree to do, I must only agree to do them if I can set aside the proper time to do them well, and if the return on my time investment is worth it.
My children and my husband still get top billing on the time that I have. There have been times in the last year where I have failed to be available for them. I am working on this. My hat goes off to full time working moms. You are master jugglers, for sure.
As my parents head farther into their seventies, I try to be available to them. I want to honor them and provide them the security of knowing I will be a good daughter to them in these coming years.
I want to be a good friend. Whereas I used to love my coffee and lunch dates with my buddies, I have had to say goodbye to those times for now. Thanks to phone calls, emails, texts, and Facebook, I can still keep up with my closest friends and feel like I have a connection with them. It’s not what I want, but for now, it’s the best I can do.
I lead a small group of wonderful women. I have set aside this couple of hours each week because we are called to live in community with one another. Together, we can grow in our relationship with the Lord. and encourage and challenge each other to keep the faith and press on.
I have recently, and with much prayerful consideration, agreed to add one more thing to my list of commitments. I have decided to be a coach for a couple of other small group leaders in my church. It’s something one of my very best friends suggested I do. When I whined and told her how little time I had to accomplish all that was already on my plate, she replied by telling me that I needed to do it. I needed to do it for me, and for the women I would lead. Okay. I decided the investment would be worth it.
So much of the time we women forget when adding things to our list of things that must be done, to work in some time for us. Just for us. It’s hard. We so often put ourselves at the end of the needs list. To avoid this, we must ask for wisdom and for the direction of the Holy Spirit to guide us in to making the most of the hours we have, while still allowing some time left over for ourselves to renew and refuel.
And so I have decided to pick back up my twice a week Cracked Pot Pieces blog. Whether anyone reads it or not, the writing is good for me. It’s therapeutic; as it helps me work through situations I am faced with daily. And should any of you find the time in your own schedule to read it regularly, I hope you discover a large enough return on the investment to come back again.