A pastor I work with told me last week that he could put me on a deserted island without my phone, computer, paper…not even a hairnet and that in less than two weeks I would be over scheduled. I work for that pastor but I do not think he was complimenting me on my efficiency. I think he was giving me a subtle and loving reminder. He has told me in the past that he worries about me burning out and I have told him in response to that that sometimes I do to. How do we decide when enough is enough? When do we know when to say no? How do we live within our limits and create enough margin in our schedules?
Well based on my boss’ observation I am not the person to answer that question. Based on the frenetic pace of my life I am in no position to give advice about how to have boundaries. Based on the fact that I am almost embarrassed to tell people “what I do” (on staff at a large church, a public speaker, in grad school, blah, blah), I am not the person to give others direction on how to not over schedule your calendar when stranded on a deserted island. But now that I am in my forties I can say that I have learned a few things about limits:
· There are some great perks to being forty; neck wrinkles and staying up past 11 are not two of those perks. I am more productive and more pleasant when I get enough sleep.
· I have been called by God to some amazing things in life and He has given me the energy, desire and gifts to do them. Now that I’m over forty, I’ve learned not to apologize for living out that call. We should all be doing that (though it looks differently obviously for all of us).
· Despite the above point, when my boss feels I could create an excel sheet on a beach and ensure each cell is filled with activities and to do’s while living alone on an island, I may need to reevaluate my schedule.
· We should all have people in our lives like my boss, my husband and my friend Mary. People we respect enough to listen to when they are genuinely and legitimately worried about the pace we are doing life.
“Dear Lord, thank you for putting people in my life to help me remember to ask myself periodically, what am I doing and why am I doing it.
Lord, help me not to be busy just out of a habit of being busy, or at the expense of sustained, meaningful time listening to you and being in your Word.
Help me never to be efficient if it is efficiency in things than have no eternal value.
Thank you for the energy you have given me and help me to continue to do everything you call me to with passion, energy and out of love.
Also, please don’t let my boss send me to a desert island (at least not without coffee and my family (that does not include my dog)).
In Your Name, Amen.”