Learning About Myself

When I saw the chalkboard colored book staring at me on the shelf in Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago, I picked it up because I could almost hear "you need to read this" ringing in my head. At the time, I'd heard of the book, but I thought it's just another one of those books that tells women they need to get their priorities in order and mine are just fine as they are. I mean, I spend time with God daily, I put my husband and our children above myself, I work hard at every single thing I do, I dive head-first into everything, I give without talking about it, I try to be the best I need to be for everyone, and most of all, I strive to live to please Christ even though I fail over and over.

But still, that thought telling me I needed to get that book kept ringing in my ears. I bought it along with Fast Food Nation (what I went to purchase - and that's a different story for a different day) and decided I'd read it when I got around to it.

That weekend, as I was browsing Facebook on my phone, I saw an ad for this online Bible study on this book and knew I had to do it. Fast forward a week and I can already see so many reasons this book was calling out to me. Or God was whispering to me to read it.

In the book, Lysa talks about how she doesn't want to admit out loud when she's "a little overwhelmed and a lot worn down" (page 3) because she's a positive person. I identified with this immediately. Because I am a positive person, I have a hard time admitting out loud when I'm overwhelmed, upset, worried, or need help. It's because I don't want to be that woman.

I've always been pretty independent and handled things on my own, so asking for help isn't something I'm used to or comfortable with. I feel weak or powerless when things bother me and hold it in until something triggers, "enough!" And I'm not proud of that.

I love to help people and hear their concerns, and I have many people who come to me for advice, but I don't have many people I can go to. My experience has always been that when I do talk about things that bother me or cause me concern, they're brushed off or people act shocked. I like to tell myself that it's because I'm a pretty strong person and people know that my optimism doesn't fade for long, but still, sometimes I need to talk. Just because I'm always bubbly, confident, and hopeful, and have a great husband and kids doesn't mean I don't have worries, stress, or fears, or just need need to vent.

In addition to trying to work things out on my own, I'm also really bad about asking others to do things. In my professional life, I do a good job of delegating, though this has been learned. I simply can't do everything. In my personal life, though, it's hard to ask for help. I'm asked often to pick this up or drop this off or stop by here for people and I don't mind doing it at all (and because I can't say no very well), but I'm really bad about returning the favor. It's not that others don't want to help, it's that I'm not willing to ask.

Thankfully, I have a great husband who helps out all the time. Our home is not run by me doing everything. We work together, we each pitch in, and neither of us (I don't think) feels overwhelmed or like we do it all. That's a huge blessing.

Lysa talks about those times we feel like we need to do something, but we brush it off. She talks about whether those are God moments and how we shouldn't wait to see later if they were, but to treat them as they are. I believe that "read this book" I experienced was God steering me towards something He is using to reach me. I'm learning so much about myself, or rather, admitting so much about myself through just the first three chapters of this book and so far, none of it has even related to saying "yes."

Lately, I've felt like I'm rush, rush, rush all the time and don't take or make the time to see the little things. That's not good. Granted, the last month has been pretty stressful and consuming, but at the same time, little things matter. I'm trying to make a concerted effort to not rush in every day life and to savor the little things. (And I'm trying to forget about the to-do list, but little steps, first.)

With that said, many of the things that cause me stress are self-induced. They're certainly not all self-induced, but some are. I'm trying to work on these things one by one. I don't want to say I'm going to rid myself of them all at once because that's stressful in itself, but I am taking steps to try to wean myself away from those things that are self-induced one-by-one as well as those things that aren't which are out of my control. Sometimes I feel I take three steps back with every two steps forward, but at the end of the day, I feel I'm doing better with these things.

Lysa talks about how when she first started writing, she added up the hours she spent doing everything in her life and out of the 168 hours, there were 3.5 hours unscheduled. She took those three and a half hours and scheduled them to be hers. She used hers for writing. She encourages readers to use a free time assessment tool on her website to calculate how we each spend our 168 hours a week.

When I initially did the assessment, I got something like 29 hours a day and 203 hours a week. That's 28 more hours than is in a week! I went back and redid it and came up slightly better with 25.75 hours in a day and 180.25 hours in a week. Not good. I think that means I need to slow down and cut out.

As you can see, sleeping (7 hours, 15 minutes) and work (about 9 hours when you add in a commute) take up a good chunk of my time each day. I do think the weekly time use chart is misleading because it's calculating my average day and my average weekly times together. The weekends are total family time, so that small green sliver should be much larger.

What's scary to me about this chart is that all of the things listed are things that have to be done. They're not "me" time unless you count exercise, date night, and family time as "me" time. Margin is good and I don't seem to have any.

In light of this, I think I'll be fun to share what a typical day looks like in our house, so I'll do that next week. I also want to figure out how to at least get 30 minutes of "nothing has to be done" time in each day. If you have any tips on this, let me know!

Labels: , ,