A question I grappled with when battling anxiety was, “What is standing in my way?” What was holding me back from feeling connected to God, to living my best life, to feeling content and fulfilled? When the answer came, I was stunned: ME. I am standing in my own way.
I know my busyness is my fault.
It’s a human tendency to want to place blame. It’s the finger pointing when the drink gets spilled, it’s wanting to figure out whose fault it is when something goes wrong, it’s saying, “You did this!”
While it’s important to accept responsibility for your actions, I’m not about blaming people, least of all myself.
But I also know how easy it is to think busyness is beyond our control.
Please hear me. If you’re on a season of life where you’re working full time, caring for your own family and your aging parents, your home is being renovated and you’re in charge of the neighborhood potluck…I’m not talking to you. That’s a season and busy seasons happen.
I’m talking to those of us who choose to take on to much. Who are always running at 110%. Who forget to count the cost before saying “yes.” Who go through much of life feeling overwhelmed and stretched too thin.
We think life will eventually slow down…but it never does.
Yup. We can only blame ourselves.
People will always ask us to do more!
It’s no one else’s job to monitor your busyness levels.
Go back and read that again.
The people who are asking you to do more are not in charge of making sure it fits into your life.
There will always be more committees to serve on, more projects to sign up for, more causes to support, more fundraisers, more parties, more retreats, more opportunities.
We have to know our limits.
My theory goes like this.
Most of us live at 100% capacity. Between family, work, hobbies and extracurricular activities, we take on exactly as much as we think we can handle. When one project ends, we take on a new one. When we feel restless, we join a new committee.
But what happens when they ask you to chair the committee?
A loved one gets a chronic illness?
You add a house guest?
Surprise!–you have to host Thanksgiving?
For days, weeks, months, years…we are operating at 110%+.
Then we get use to it. It’s a habit. We handle it. So we stay at 100%. Until we burn out.
What we need to do is operate at about 75% so when the inevitable happens, we’re still under capacity.
This is so, so hard for me, partly because I work well under pressure!
But the pressure eventually suffocates me and tends to lead to meltdowns or crisis. Or I simply realize I’m not giving my best in ANY area of my life.
Now I’ve learned to sit with the feeling of being under-whelmed. It makes me twitchy. But it sure beats the feeling of drowning in a flood of my own making.
We’re in this together. It’s time to take ownership of our own busyness. It’s time to say strategic “yeses” and confident “nos.”
I encourage you to make some adjustments. I’m cheering you on! And please work with me if I can help you strategize.