It's a little ironic that I'm about to do a training for student leaders on finding balance in our busy lives, discerning how to best use our time, and learning when to say "no" to some things so that we can say "yes" to others. It makes sense that I would share about this--as a chaplain, I'm frequently encouraging others to find spaces of sanctuary for rest and renewal and to care for their entire self; body, mind, and soul. And yet, I struggle to practice what I preach. I chose "enough" as my one word for 2014, hoping the reminder that I'm enough would allow me to say "enough" and step back from overcommiting. But as my phone buzzes to tell me that it's time to leave for the training, my mind feels cluttered and my body is sluggish.
Returning from the training, I feel more hopeful and energized, and I realize that I actually heard myself for once. As I engaged with these inspiring and busy young women, I warned with them the truth that I have learned: No, you can't have it all, at least not at the same time. But that's actually a gift. The past season of my life, full of transitions and unexpected shifts, has taught me the joy in stepping back and doing less (sometimes because I had no choice). Through this I've observed that when I become more intentional about my choices, my life can be lived more fully through my passions and strengths. When I'm no longer trying to fit a mold of the perfect wife/mother/career woman, I can be authentically who I am created to be. To my frustration, that person is flawed and falliable, but to my relief, I still find acceptance and love. I have learned that lesson the hard way, and told of my struggles today to hopefully save the students the same difficulty, but I'm afraid it's a lesson we all have to fight our way through.
As I shared with them about calling and my favorite Frederick Buechner quote ("The place to which God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet"), I realized again my own calling to journey with young women as they seek their vocation. It is a sacred (and often exhausting) gift of deep gladness.
I'm currently reading Tsh Oxenreider's new book Notes From a Blue Bike as I work to be more intentional in my lifestyle. Check out this trailer for more information:
Notes From a Blue Bike is written by Tsh Oxenreider, founder and main voice of The Art of Simple. It doesn’t always feel like it, but we DO have the freedom to creatively change the everyday little things in our lives so that our path better aligns with our values and passions. Grab your copy here.