I’ve written about trying to reclaim some order in my house. I’m hauling away junk–yes, I got a lot of things OUT THE DOOR last week, instead of simply removing items from one place and storing them in another until I can get to Goodwill. But time is another area that can get cluttered. Normally, I’m not terrible about my schedule, but sometimes I mess up.
First, I have to admit I have some anxiety issues. For the most part, I know how to deal with it. There’s a difference between having an anxiety attack–which I have–and simply being fearful or a worrier. That second one is what I think God talks about when he tells us to fear not and to trust him and not to worry. It’s something in my control. Anxiety attacks or panic attacks–those are another story. They’re largely physiological, and I try not to beat myself up about them. I engage in both types of anxiety on a regular basis, and I repent of one and do what I can not to trigger the other.
My physical anxiety is triggered by lack of sleep and being too busy. This makes it easier for me to say no to excess in my schedule. If you’ve ever had panic attacks, you’ll understand that a person will do almost anything to avoid them. So. Even with four kids, I have always been good about us staying less than crazy busy, because Mom having a breakdown leaves our schedule in worse shambles than just preventing a busy schedule in the first place. (Yep, I know this one through experience. Ugh.)
Another thing to know about me is that I teach sometimes. I teach pottery, art, and writing at various homeschool co-ops to different ages of children. Usually I like it. We can always use a little extra money, and I need to get out sometimes, and normally saying yes to a teaching gig every semester or so is not a problem.
For some reason, a few months ago I said yes to a gig when I knew I shouldn’t have. I can’t tell you why it wasn’t the right fit because I don’t know. But I knew before the email had reached its destination that I had misspoken and promised something I would not easily accomplish. God has me doing a few other things right now, like writing books and blogging and studying his Word and learning about prayer… other things.
Turns out, I was right. What I’m doing this semester isn’t wrong. I haven’t sinned. I am still happy to have the money. But it isn’t the best thing. I didn’t make the best choices for my time. I feel tension all the time that likely won’t go away completely until I’ve finished this obligation. I’m not as useful because of the tension and the anxiety it spawns. I simply said yes to the wrong things for the wrong reasons, and now I pay for it.
I realize we can’t always do what we want. A few years ago my husband lost his job, and I took a lot of jobs I didn’t like that made me tense or made life difficult. Strangely, those didn’t feel wrong. We needed the money, and I was doing my part. So this isn’t about loving where I spend my time. I don’t have to love everything I do. I have to do what needs done. But this time, I didn’t talk over my plans with my husband. Or with God. I simply didn’t use a lot of wisdom in my decision. And I will be fine, and the students will still get my best, but it’s making things harder than they should be for a few months.
The moral of the story is that it’s important to watch our time. Or at least it’s important for me to watch my time. My schedule isn’t mine alone–like my house, it’s part of my family life, and that has to come first. The house needs to be a haven for my family. And the way I use my time also has to be right for my family, so I can be the best mom and wife I can be. After being God’s daughter, wife and mom are the most important positions I hold, and at the moment, I’m lacking there because I’m dealing with a wrong yes, both physically and emotionally. Since I’m usually pretty good at this, the failures stand out. Time to put a little more thought and prayer into how I spend my time. Time also to trust the Spirit when he nudges me away from something that might have been the right thing last year or last semester. Life changes. What God wants with my time changes. It’s okay.
I honestly don’t think God has one path, one plan for my life, and if I can’t read his mind on every little thing I’m going to be lost forever. Looking for God’s way has more to do with living out his love in all situations, even the wrong yeses. But when I have a choice, when God says I can choose door A or door B and neither one is dangerous or harmful or sinful, I should choose wisely and then be ready to follow through. And sometimes, I simply have to suck it up until it’s time to stand before the next set of doors.