A couple of years ago I was going on all cylinders. I was teaching, coaching an Odyssey of the Mind team, volunteering on the weekends at church, coordinating an area at church on Sunday, helping lead a group that met during the week and I got to the point where I was worn out.
I have a hard time saying “No.” I will admit I am a people pleaser, detail oriented and a worrier. I want to make sure everyone is taken care of, that things are taken care of the right way and will think of every possible outcome (good or bad). Those 3 things combined can be lethal. At that point in 2009-2010 it was getting to that point. I don’t think I was depressed but I was frustrated – why was I in this spot? Why didn’t I enjoy some of the things I love? Why was I on the verge of tears so often?
I was tired, not in the best mood all the time, didn’t have the pep in my step during the week sometimes I wish I had and volunteering on the weekend sometimes felt more like an obligation than an opportunity. I spoke with one of my good friends and stepped back from the volunteer role for a little while during the summer. I also found a book. It was called The Worn Out Woman and WOW – did I need it.
That book made me cry. It was exactly what I needed. It reminded me I didn’t have to have all the answers all the time, I didn’t have to get it right all the time, it was ok to say no and that I need to take care of myself sometimes and just STOP. I spent some of that time at a nearby park reading and just sitting in the quiet of what surrounded me – a lake, the trees, birds. I remember sitting on my porch reading it one Saturday and as hard as it was for me to admit, I finally told myself – you ARE worn out.
That was a tough season. It taught me a lot though and while I still have those 3 traits I mentioned above, I am getting better at learning when to stop, say no and when to hyper focus on the details. I mentioned in an earlier post that this year I’ve had the word “intentional” on my heart and mind a lot. That manifested itself in many ways (morning routine, planning, etc.) and the things I see myself doing now… Oh if I knew then what I know now. Hindsight is always 20/20.
This weekend at church Lysa TerKeurst was preaching. She recently wrote a book called The Best Yes. One thing she said really stuck out to me, “Wisdom makes decisions today that will still be good tomorrow.” What an incredible perspective that puts on our everyday choices, the big ones, the small ones, work, family… It goes back to that word echoing in my mind – being INTENTIONAL with our choices. I love that.
Not to harp on books (but I do love them…a lot), I recently went through the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 with a friend in looking at leadership and I took the StrengthsFinder test online. The results were right on – that I was a learner, achiever, connectedness, responsibility and intellection were where I had strengths I should focus on. A great point that was made is that if we focus on developing our weaknesses, what are we doing for our strengths? It is very easy to point out weaknesses these days and our culture fixates on making them better. But to what end? Do we truly know what our strengths are if we don’t invest in or learn about what they are? I liked the idea because if we know our strengths, we CAN develop them, make them work for us and have a broader impact. If we know our strengths and the strengths of those around us, we can balance each other our when our weaknesses come in to play.I don’t exactly know what brought all 3 of these books to my mind but it’s been a powerful reminder that being intentional with ourselves, who we are, our time and resources and knowing our strengths can make us better. It can bring us joy, peace, happiness and a fruitful life. Though they are 3 different books with 3 different points, the conjecture of all 3 is being intentional.
This song immediately started running in my head – the chorus especially.
Shine Your Light on Us – Robbie Seay Band
I’ve been holding on
And I’ve been holding on
All that is inside of me
Screams to come back home
And if you feel lost, if you feel lost
And if you feel tired, if you feel tired
And if you feel lost and tired
This is your song, yeah
And I’ve been broken down
And I’ve been broken down
But I ain’t giving up
Love will come back around
I highly recommend all 3 of these books… Seeing where I am right now and what I am learning and what I was going through just a few years ago – I’m grateful I had that experience. I needed it even though it was tough. It’s made me a better person and made me more aware of who I am and who/what I surround myself with. The best is yet to come.