Thursday, March 29, 2012

My (busy) little secret

I have a secret to share.  It's a big one, and has the potential to affect my reputation.  You may look at me differently.  My employer may have concerns.  But it's been weighing me down, so I feel as if I just have to share.  Okay, here goes (deep breath)...

I'm not really all that busy.

Yep, shocking, I know.  You may pass me and ask how it's going and I might reply, "Oh, it's busy!" and you'll nod, knowingly.  I may sigh at having to take on one more responsibility, and I will likely continue having "who does more" battles with my husband (and I'll never tell him that he's really the winner these days...even though it still doesn't make up for the past 9 years of busyness on my part).  :)

The truth is, I have a lot to do, just like you.  And sometimes I get really productive and amaze myself at what can be accomplished in a day.  But I'm also finding more and more that I need to carve out blocks of time to renew my spirit.  I've joined the couch to 5k program that jogs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunchtime (which is probably the greatest indicator of my free time...who would have thought I'd be running...VOLUNTARILY).  I stop between errands to chat with students, friends, and staff.  I take prayer walks through the garden in the afternoon when my energy flags and make time to walk and talk around the loop with friends.  I spend a (little) time on Pinterest seeking inspiration.  I take time to read and write, knowing that these are spiritual disciplines for me.

Do I feel guilty?  Yes and no.  I feel pushed by society and culture to do more, to be more.  The thing is, I've been there and done that, and I completely burned out.  I was miserable and depressed, and was a bitter and uneasy person to live with and be around.  The dark cloud engulfed me and it wasn't pretty, fun, or productive. And so, I'm trying it a different way.  I'm trying to practice what I preach, er, taught in my "Spirituality for Busy People" class in January.

I've experienced the benefits of providing space in my day.  When students need to talk, I can make myself available.  When someone needs help on a project, I can volunteer.  When my kids drop by to visit me at work, I can indulge in a little play.  All of these help to build the nurturing, cooperative, compassionate, playful side of me.

I'm learning that these are also ways to connect, as I spend time out of my office and open my eyes to the real world and work that is Hollins University.  I see students, and they see me.  I hope they see me taking a break, relaxed, and smiling.  I hope they learn that it's okay for them, too.  As I walk and rest and look with new eyes at the world and people around me, I pray that we might all seek to be who God created us to be, and worry a little less about what's expected of us.


Psalm 131:2

New International Version (NIV)

But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Matthew 11:28-30

The Message (MSG)
 28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

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