I need to do less, and that is a very tough realisation to come to.
For someone who's always worked full time, volunteered, was active in the church.... I often feel like I'm hardly doing anything now! But somehow this "hardly anything" takes much more of my mental and physical energy than anything I've ever done before. But it's hard to remember this when I'm asked, oh can you JUST do this.... help there... because all those requests are small things in themselves and they're oh so easy to add to my plate. Sure I can do that little thing! And this too. And the other. And - then I'm starting to slip and slide on the ice.
So I'm having a long, hard look at my priorities. None of the many plates I'm spinning are bad, they're all worthy and important, but I need to remember what I'm here for and that I just can't spread myself too thin!
- Family. I'm spending almost all my time with my kids, and that's intentional. I want to be a mum who is giving them the best, rather than the rest, of her energy and attention. To support my family and my ability to be with them, I've started to train as a hairdresser - that's a one-year course I've committed to and after that I'll be able to make an extra income that works around the kids.
- Local community. When we moved to this area, we decided to become part of a local church on the estate and to give it our all. The church is an incredibly exciting, dynamic group with a real heart for reaching and supporting local people - I help regularly at the kids club, which draws lots of local children whose parents have absolutely no connection to church. Helping there is very much part of my purpose.
- Service. This is the tough place, where cuts have to happen somewhere. I serve in various ways - typing for deaf people, leading a Bible study group - all of which I care about greatly, but which aren't part of my core calling.
It's not that I can't say no - if you've ever met me in person you'll know that I usually say what I mean, and I won't say yes when I mean no. (Some years ago when I was happily single and child free, I moved to a new city and began attending a new church. After a few weeks there, a lady approached me asking if I'd like to help with kids ministry - my face must have said it all - and my no was so clear they never asked me again about anything to do with kids!)
My problem is that I underestimate ALL THE TIME what it takes these days to complete even the simplest of tasks!
So I'll have to make my default answer, "I'll think/ pray about it" rather than yes, even if I feel I could do it. And then to consider whether it's part of my core purpose or not. Now for the hard task of letting go of some commitments to regain some traction on that ice patch....