The Bandwidth Dilemma

20131012_144444This week I was involved in a small group study with two women, and one of them asked for prayer in a way that has really stuck with me. It fits here in my Friday Simpler Life category, because I think it says so much about the busy, crazy cluttered life, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

The woman who asked for prayer is busy. Most of us are busy. She knew something in her life needed attention, but the way she asked for it hit a chord–she talked about needing more bandwidth. I liked that. It’s not always about time. Sometimes time management has nothing to do with time. It’s bandwidth. In my head, I conjured this image of electrical impulses going all over the place, taking up space and sometimes crossing, sometimes pulsing, sometimes scrambled. Bandwidth to me meant brain space. And nobody has unlimited brain space.

I’m not the world’s busiest person. I’m pretty good at limiting my schedule. But at the same time, sometimes the things I agree to do, even if they don’t take that much time, take up a lot bandwidth. Sometimes they are scattered and lack focus.

I’m not the kind of person who gets excited about writing life goals or a purpose statement. I don’t have a business plan for my existence. However, the more I thought about this image of electricity gone wild, the more I realized the benefit of some kind of limiter like a purpose statement. Right now I’m writing, blogging, teaching, and learning about prayer and spiritual disciplines. I’m also a wife and mom. Truth be told, all of those things together don’t take all my time. I have room to spare in my schedule.

But in my head? Nope. They don’t all link up. Some take more brain space, induce more stress, fill my thoughts more than others. I waste precious time changing gears to go from one activity to the next. I feel a little scattered.

In a few months I will be able to rewrite my schedule. I’m not going to write a purpose statement, but I think I’ll look closer at what I do and how they link. I want to spend less time transitioning. Maybe if all my activities use less bandwidth, I won’t get so overwhelmed. Writing, blogging, and spiritual disciplines are related. All dig into spiritual realms. All deal with words and themes.  I soak in ideas and truths with Bible study and prayer. I spit them out in books and blogs. All of it includes processing, internal discovery of who God is and what he wants from me. Shifting from one to another can be seamless.

This semester, teaching writing and art isn’t fitting so well. During other times of my life, it has. And I’m neglecting some of the mom duties because my youngest is old enough I tell myself he can tend himself. But he should get more bandwidth. He’s a priority, so I should shift things to fit around him, not make him fill in the gaps. I need to uncross a few wires and line up other purposes around him.

I don’t know if that all makes sense. Cleaning out my house and my life fits, as it clears up space for better things. I have been feeling some spiritual nudges about a few other things, and I need to see if they fit or if they will dilute my energy and my direction. Maybe I’ll decide this way of looking at things isn’t right at all. But since I’m dealing with prayer and listening to the Spirit now in new ways, I’m not worried. He’ll help me see clearly how to use my time and where to put my energy. And then I think I’ll use my limited bandwidth in the best ways possible, and what spews from my frequencies will be clear and loud and useful to the God who made me.

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