Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Reshaping a Life: Reflections on Less Yes

Saying yes less has helped me slowly reshape my life.

Over the course of my Lenten season, I worked strategically to identify and set priorities in my life.

I have a tendency to quickly jump at change, whether it be quitting all of the things at once or adding all of the things to my to-do list.

In the wake of the shattering loss of my mom, I had to guard myself. I knew, all to well, that I would want to leap at change and make myself feel better with the rush of something new.

When I set out this year to nourish myself, I knew that change would come, and I finally feel ready.

The past several years have offered a growing career, becoming a mom (twice), facing my mom's illness, and simply living my day-to-day life, and I've lost sight of too much. I've hidden myself in commitments.

Commitments look good from the outside. I'm bringing in extra money! I'm getting published! I'm a leader on my campus! All of the exclamation points!

I could write 20 blog posts (#becauseoverachiever) about what happens to me when I over-commit, but the purpose of my Lenten promise was to look at what happens to me when I don't.

Who am I without an overwhelming, fast-paced (self-induced) schedule?

As good as it eventually feels, letting go terrifies me.

I took it slowly, and opportunities to say no began to present themselves.

When I thought about how I felt when others rejected my photography skills (both directly and indirectly), I recognized that it needed to go.

With a photography business carefully and prayerfully set aside, other priorities started to float to the surface.

Should I continue to force my direct sales business, or should I back off and let it grow as the hobby I originally intended? I emailed my upline and let her know about some changes she might see in my commission statements, and I immediately felt better.

As invitations, volunteer opportunities, and sales videos poured into my inbox, I refrained from an immediate yes or no.  I have intentionally let go of immediate responses.

There's a rush that comes from commitment. My schedule looks full and warm and happy.

But there's a dangerous low that follows the high.

In December, we participated in a wellness conversation at work. They warned us about "burn out." I related to Every. Single. Symptom.

The holidays and packed travel preceded back-to-school and family tragedy.  February passed in a blur of tears and sickness.

And then Lent began, with its promising gift of renewal.

Finally, I could take a moment to step back and reflect on this time in my life.

I'm trying to piece it all together into something that makes sense for me, and it doesn't always go smoothly.

I'm the least perfect person I know, and I've probably offended people as I settle into a new kind of life. I have new priorities. Why won't you let me be part of all of the things that are now my priorities as of this week? I definitely didn't need to shout my demands at people. I have made mistakes.  I find there's a bluntness that comes with grief. Couple that with an active desire to change the patterns of my life, and, well, emotional responses happened. I'm paying a price. And I'm also working on it.

While Lent has ended, my promise will continue.  I will keep steadily pulling at the pieces and rebuilding.

We have a crazy new season starting soon. My son will move from preschool to kindergarten. He will enter a new phase of childhood, and we will take a new step as parents.

Change is still coming, and I hope that I can face it with grace.





















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