Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I'm outta here!

Every time we try to go on vacation or have an extended weekend, I'm reminded why it's nearly impossible to go on vacation or have an extended weekend. Farming out kids, getting ahead on deadlines, figuring out what "must" be taken to work on, doing laundry, cooking extra meals, packing ... ugh! Some vacation.

All hassles aside, as of Thursday afternoon, I'm outta here!

We are heading to San Diego with our younger daughter for a gymnastics meet. I will have an added treat of meeting up with a girlfriend who is driving down from LA on our last day. Theoretically, that's a lot of leisure. Am I up to the task? (Ha ha, up to the task of leisure!)

I'm thinking back, trying to find a time in my memory when I didn't double-book myself. What is with all the busy-ness? When did it start? How can I make it stop? I don't see any examples from Jesus' life where it says, "Jesus went 90 to nothing to the next town...." It always sounds like he took his good, sweet time and enjoyed himself from point A to point B. Don't get me wrong, he was always on the job and usually worked to the point of exhaustion. But he had a better understanding of what constituted a reasonable pace and how to take the time to restore himself.

I told the ladies in recovery whom I teach a Bible study to today that I felt like God was calling me to find a way to slow down. My husband would argue that this is not possible, being known to comment, "If you weren't doing 'this,' you'd be doing something else." However, I am determined ... I shall be intentional about reworking my schedule. I doubt I can maintain the current pace for another year.

One area I have identified to change is the mental and emotional energy I expend in various challenging situations in my life. In particular, I've found myself susceptible to little bouts of depression after teaching my class or after spending time with my Dad. I asked my Pastor for his advice, telling him I felt like I was carrying away too much from these situations home with me. He had an interesting perspective ... take a psychological shower. I understood him to mean by this that yes, it's important to be fully present emotionally in every situation. Putting up the fence and keeping people out as a defense mechanism against depression is not a good idea. However, after being totally available, even soaking up some of their burdens or painful vibrations in the process, it's equally important to disengage emotionally when you leave. Be all that you can be in the moment, but recognize when it is time to move on and take that psychological shower. Rinse and repeat. There, that's better! I'm outta here!

So I put his advice to the test today. Before my class, I thanked God for putting me in a position to be in ministry to these ladies; to be available to them physically, spiritually and emotionally during our time together. Then, after class, I picked up where I left off in my prayer, asking God to enable me to now remove myself completely just as he had helped me to make myself available completely. It worked.

OK, my Pastor is starting to build an impressive track record!

We all need to learn how to say "I'm outta here," whether through a regular R&R opportunity or from the daily removing of oneself from one adventure before moving on to the next one. It definitely facilitates greater emotional health. In the end, that equips and enables us to live more completely the life that God intends.

Copyright 2008 Just Enough Grace Publications

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