Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hit the delay button

Raise your hand if you are guilty of over scheduling and overcommitting??? I took both of my hands off the keyboard…Guilty!!!

You know who you are...the one who says ‘yes’ to every PTA fundraiser, school volunteering, church event, work project, community outreach/event, family function, etc etc. On top of all that, you strive to be the best wife, all invested craft Mom, best friend, helpful daughter and always there when needed sister. You try to balance all this while trying to stay on or start a diet that proves that you can do it all and still be in cute clothes and your hair done all the time. If all of that isn’t exhausting enough, lets add the people who love to be the fixers of all situations. I am definitely guilty here! I am a fixer and if I don't direct that gift in the right direction and the way God wants me to use it, I'll completely overstep my bounds and take on the whole problem so that it is released from you and all the pressure is on me. Anyone relating yet?
What are we trying to prove? That we have superhero powers? That we can out do one another? That we can seem super human and juggle a millions things at once? We should be careful here, no one can do it all. Things will start to fall, priorities will shift and not always in the right direction. We should be careful that we aren't doing it all for the praise of individuals because even praise can become an addiction.
When I was going through a trial in my life this last August, my counselor taught me a simple, yet beneficial concept. She wanted me to hit a ‘delay button’ in my life when life’s decisions came up, no matter how big or small. She suggested pushing pause on saying ‘yes’ too quickly in most situations. We discussed that when people ask us to do something they may have already asked a few people and we don’t need to be the one to quickly jump in and rescue the situation or problem. When we act too quickly and don’t take the proper time to pray about it, or discuss it with our families, we can lose sight of our priorities. I can personally list a handful of times that I have put someone else’s needs in front of my own or my family’s needs. Reassessing your ‘why’ as you go will help you keep your priorities in alignment. Ask yourself, "Am I saying yes to helping this person because of how many will applaud my efforts or is it because it will bless them or others?"  There are times that I say yes to friends, family or church leaders and midway through the planning, I need to re-assess my intentions so my ego and priorities stay in check. Pushing the delay button in our lives allows our priorities to stay intact and allows self-reflection so that we aren't over-committing. 
There are, of course, parameters on pushing the pause button in our lives. Don't just hit it, walk away and let it be an excuse to not commit to anything; that is a different issue altogether. Pray on it, revisit it, evaluate how it effects your immediate family and then see in a few days, or a few weeks, how saying yes or no will impact your life and those around you. When discussing it with your spouse or family, write out the pros and cons of saying yes or no to a situation. If it is a short-term commitment, can those around you be supportive through it? If it is a decision that impacts the dynamics of your family or involves a relocation, make sure to pause and think about the new reality and how you will all respond to the changes. 
My sweet friend last night asked me, "How do you know when to release the pause button and to start moving forward?" She mentioned that so many of us are told to just pray on it. How long do we do that? I think there is not a set solution on how long it takes to pray through a situation that arises in our lives. Some of us walk through smaller or shorter trials, while others walk through lifelong journeys of illness and brokenness. From my own life experiences, I know it takes time and steps of faith. Sometimes we need to move in different directions, but we are required to move regardless. God doesn't want stagnant believers. Start moving down one path staying attuned to God's voice and you will know when to redirect and take a different route. You will know it when you commit to something you knew was beyond your skill set or you knew you should've said no to. The gut feeling or guilt feeling is accurate, trust it; it's usually trying to tell you that something is wrong, so stop and pray through it. You took one step, now take the next one and pray through whether you keep going in that direction or need to take a few steps back. Be honest with the person you have committed to. Keep communication open so they know that you are having second thoughts as you are going along. There will be times where you will be completely out of your comfort zone, but use those moments as growth opportunities. If you stay in your house, sit and wait for a door knock or a phone call with the answer you are waiting for, chances are, it won't come. You have to move! You have to trust God that in the movement He will provide the clarity you seek. Once out of a situation, you can look back and see how all the puzzles pieces fit together. Whether it's a small puzzle piece of your life or a multi-year journey of one, looking back you can add it to your toolbox and memories of the wins and victories in your life. Those add up over time and give you the confidence and trust you need to walk through tough times. 

If you haven’t heard of it yet, escape room puzzles are super popular right now. It is a location that you go to with a group of friends and you are given a mystery or puzzle to figure out in room(s) under a specific time limit. Solve the puzzle in the right amount of time, you win, if not you lose. My friends and I have yet to finish one- we've come so close though, within two minutes on one of them. We always say afterwards that we now want to go back in and do it all over again, but with the wisdom and knowledge we now have so that we make the right choices in the right order - which would then produce the right outcome. Because knowing what we know, we will get through it faster and more efficiently. This is how life situations and trials can work in our lives. We gain experience, we gain confidence, we gain wisdom so when the next situation arises, we are more aware and know Who to go to first with it all. Pushing the pause button allows you time to think before acting, it keeps healthy boundaries in your life and keeps your priorities where they belong. So the next time you are asked or feel the pressure to do something, fix something or someone, or run an event; push pause, pray and decide what would work best for you and for others. 

3 comments:

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  2. Another insightful & oh so relevant piece! Thanks for your wisdom Jenn. This topic hits me mostly at work. In my job as a Director, I'm often asked by staff for permission to work on projects, spend money on trainings or even to make changes within our office dynamic. Being fairly new to a leadership role and leading people who are more senior in tenure & age, I found myself being easily swayed or taking the path of least resistance for not wanting to cause dissention. Sometimes I just didn't want to be the bad guy & say no. It only took a couple times of being taken advantage of & then having to undue or live with the consequence to realize I needed to change. My natural impulse is to help people succeed and to want to say yes. I had to learn to fight that. Here's the tool I pulled out to help me. I put a post-it note on my computer that says "Let me think about it". I recited that phrase umpteen times a day to make it part of my mindset & vocabulary. One time my son asked for water and I replied with my mantra and he looked at me funny wondering why I needed to think about giving him water!!! What saying that phrase does is buy me time & give me space to pray on the issue, and wait for God to give me guidance. Making space for prayer and stepping away from the immediate need to respond has made a huge difference. I even feel more balanced & know my responses are more thoughtful and well intentioned. I do love knowing there's another tool for my tool belt. I'll be sure and use the pause button just as I would my post-it note!!! Bless you and your kindness in sharing your grace and heart. xo

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