Thursday, February 1, 2007

Help! I'm drowning! (a really long post, finally getting to the point at the end)

I belong to this women's group with 9 women of different ages and backgrounds who are followers of Christ. It's grown organically, and the core group has been together since 1996. We do this ancient scripture meditation called 'Lectio Divina'. The general idea is that someone reads a passage of scripture out loud, and the rest of the group listens for a word or phrase that sticks in her mind. The passage is read several times followed by an extended period of silence for reflection. The idea is that God will speak to through whatever jumps out of the passage. We then share our reflections with the group.

Usually, I get general niceties like 'God loves me despite my faults', 'I need to be less selfish', 'I need to make space for God in my life'. Some of the girls get really specific things like 'God is calling me to move to X neighborhood to help serve the poor'. That doesn't usually happen for me. Maybe I'm not able to really be present most of the time. I don't know. But, I still appreciate the discipline of the exercise and being silent to reflect.

In any case, last night I got a specific message. The passage was Ecclesiastes 1:1-11. In the translation we were reading the phrase that stuck out to me was:
"What's there to show for a lifetime...of working your fingers to the bone?"

So, in addition full time work (which is going full-steam right now), I also am finishing up a master's degree with 3 classes this semester, and racing my bike (go Velo Girls!), and trying to squeeze in family visits and a marriage and keep up some friendships that aren't a part of those 3 activities around the edges....and....well you get the idea. I have lots of working my fingers to the bone. What will I have to show for all this stuff? Right now, I'm in such survival mode, that I am not fully present to any of the relationships in my life. That's not OK. I'm passing over what is eternal for what is a fleeting vapor.

So, I felt like God was calling me specifically to do a few things to pull back where I can:

1. Avoid going to races that were not in my plan for the season....
There are lots of fun races out there that the team is going to do, and I really want to go to some of them and contribute. But, until mid-May, I need to suspend that desire and leave time to survive the semester. Those races will be there next year, and I will be done with school then.

2. Don't over promise on any school project....
I need to clearly state up front what I intend to contribute to the various class projects and not get sucked into picking up additional work - either out of a desire to control things or to go above and beyond. Just do what I promise and do it well.

3. Make clear boundaries at work....
I need to make clear boundaries for projects that were not planned and delegate when my plate is full. I cannot afford to work evenings and weekends for the next few months. Also, I've maxed out my vacation and need to take a day off each pay period. I need to put it in and take it and not get sucked into checking work email on those days, but rather use them for school work and training.

4. Put priority on my marriage....
Because that's my most important relationship. Yes, I need to carve out time for lounging around in bed with my sweetie, and cycling with my sweetie, and having enough mind share to pay attention to what he's saying at dinner. And, I need to tell him how much I appreciate him and how I couldn't survive my life right now without all that he does for me....

OK, that was pretty specific. I guess I'm putting it out here in cyberspace so those who know me can hold me to what I know I need to do. That's it. I promise to be less philosophical for a few posts after this.


velogirl said...

very lucid, Sarah. I'll help you stick to it.

paula pardini said...

sarah, very insightful and specific plans set out for yourself. thank you for sharing what God has put on your heart!!!!!! I've got your back!!!!!!!! paula

Sweet Cheeks said...

I've never read a passage in the Bible that says, "Work thy ass into the ground and neglect all important relationships."

Last I remember, God is love.

Good job re-prioritizing.


chatterbox said...

Thanks, all.

Sweet cheeks - so true! Thanks for the reminder.