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What else can I say other than I’m a hermit much of the time? Seriously though, I’m a classic introvert who likes to withdrawal from time to time to seek clarity and direction for seasons of life. After the closing of Spring semester studies, I’d found that I was overwhelmed and not giving priority to what was going on within the four walls of my home. One night, I found myself thinking, “Why am I prioritizing out there over what’s in here?” Not that it’s a bad thing to feel passionate about hobbies, volunteer opportunities, work, sports for the kids, etc., but it was taking extra time and energy from that which is most important to me…God, family, and others closest to me. I’ve always loved helping out but at what point is one’s helping out there to the detriment of in here? Hmmmm, that’s a thought…and it’s something I’ve been marinating in for the past few weeks. I’m still evaluating what that means so if you have any words of advice for me or anyone else reading this post, SPILL THE BEANS, as I always say.
I had an interesting conversation with my gal pal, Kelley, a couple weeks ago and we talked about hearing so much that you don’t hear anything at all, feeling so much that you don’t feel anything at all, seeing so much that you don’t see what’s directly in front of you, and doing so much that we end up not effectively doing anything at all. Wow! With so much stimulation, needs around you that don’t seem to be getting met, all the people/entities competing for attention, it’s easy for one to feel like it’s just too much and slip their head into their turtleneck collar to take a long nap. (or maybe that’s what I’d do if I didn’t life in the desert and wouldn’t die of heat exhaustion in a turtleneck!)
This reminds me of a talk I give to my children often and yet don’t seem to practice myself. My oldest son, 21-years-old, discusses his financial goals with me and I sometimes find myself irritated at how often he changes his focus and then complains to me that none of his hopes are coming to fruition. One night, out of sheer frustration with him I said, “Ya know son, if you’d just pare down the vision and make one or two clear-cut goals and make those a priority, you’d probably find that you’re seeing more progress.” Well, that was a DUH-moment if I’d ever seen one. Really, Tiff, is that the best advice you can offer to this budding adult? So easy and yet so hard. It takes tenacity and perseverance to stick with a plan for a period of time and patience to see the hard work start to pay off. Ugh, well that was a smack on the posterior portion!
I thought about how this pertains to my own life and how I was feeling a wee little bit overwhelmed and underperforming. I always justified, “but this is a good thing,” and that’s true but sometimes I have to stop and evaluate if I’m effective in this good thing with all of the other good things I’ve got going on as well. There will never be a shortage of good things we are presented with so how do we decide which good things we’ll do, and how do we deal with feeling guilty for things which we aren’t able/willing to do?
As for the first question, a simple blanket statement is that each one of us should be deciding what we do/don’t do based on our individual situation. It will look different from one person to another so there’s really not much need for expanding upon that.
For the second question, this is one I tend to struggle with…feeling guilty for those things we aren’t able/willing to do. Well, peeps, my conclusion is that it all boils down to recognizing and then accepting that we are only one person and certainly have never walked on water SO let’s just learn to get comfortable with the fact that we all have limitations and need to respect those. We have to walk in the reality that we were never meant to carry all of the burdens on our own and it’s rather lofty for us to think that we are the answer to everyone’s needs. Sometimes it’s a tough pill to swallow but as wonderful as I think I am (that was a joke!…sort of), I certainly am not the answer to all the world’s problems. In the grand scheme of things, I am a mere piece of the puzzle so for me to assume that I have to take on the shape of each and every piece, that’s unnecessary stress that I am placing on my own shoulders and only I can decide that it’s time to take that heavy weight off.
This is such a hard concept for me to practice since I’m a feeler…
I feel things and I feel them deeply. I hear about a bunny who needs a home and automatically I’m thinking it’s my responsibility to take Mr. Easter Bunny into my backyard. But with two dogs and not enough shade or even responsible bodies to care for it, Mr. Easter Bunny would be destined to sitting in a cage for the rest of it’s life and endure the heat of the summers on our back patio. Now that’s not doing much justice to Senior Hops-A-Lot, is it? Just because I hear about a need doesn’t mean I’m the one to step up to the plate. Perhaps I know of a person who is looking for a pet for their child? Or maybe a 4H student who is looking for a beginner level animal? Is it possible that I might not be the answer to the problem but have contact or ideas for the answer to the problem? How about the notion that I might be standing in the way of the answer to the problem by insisting that I am responsible for Mr. Bun-Bun’s outcome? Just a thought…
In lieu of the realization that we are not the answer to EVERY problem, let’s talk about which problems we might be the answer to. This is where passion comes in. Outside of our relationships, which most would say are their top priorities (God, my well-being, husband, children, and friends), let’s stop to think about what we are truly passionate about and be brutally honest. Don’t worry, no one will know the truth but you. And now take these passions and use them to decide which responsibilities you will take on and which ones are on the chopping block.
Did I really just say something as insensitive as chopping block??? You bet your bottom dollar I did! It’s super tough at times, but if you are feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, ineffective then you need to get real with yourself. If you absolutely had to choose ONE THING thing (no exceptions) that you are passionate about, what would it be? Outside of my relationships I listed above, it would be hands down my work. I get a burst of warm fuzzies when I think of how wonderful it feels to complete a phase of a project I’m working on. (I know not everyone feels that way about their job and I really can’t speak to that in this post…SORRY!) But for me, I have my dream job and I feel that’s my next best place to serve. After that, I’m so so soooooo passionate about encouraging others to take control of their financial life, which does include encouraging others to make lifestyle changes that will ultimately help move them closer to their goals faster.
In this season, relationships (which includes being a self-appointed new Auntie again as my BFF and her husband welcomed their first child recently, yay!), work, and encouraging others in their financial walk are my top focuses…but what about all the rest? I have to trust that if there is time after all other needs are met, I might be able to contribute to more but if not, there is someone else who will fill the needs more effectively. It might be difficult to move away from that which isn’t in our top tier of priorities, but there will be someone else who is passionate about that which I move away from and has so much more to offer than I ever could. Remember, we’re not the answer to EVERY need, right?
So, I would encourage you, dear friends, not to feel guilty about not being THE answer to EVERYTHING. You can spend your time being an answer to everything or you could reevaluate and decide where you are the answer. The choice is yours, make it count!
As always, stay safe and God bless!