Monday, July 23, 2012

Vacation State of Mind

Last week I was on vacation.  This time last Monday, I was on the beach and playing in the waves. It was glorious.  In the first few days, I realized just how exhausted I was and how much I needed rest.  A person really should not be using eye drops to get the red out of her eyes every day to cover up how tired she is.  (especially when her father is an optometrist and has been told all her life that the extra chemicals are bad for you)

Throughout the course of the week, I really separated from work.  I did not touch my dissertation paper.  I just relaxed and read a silly book by one of my fav chic lit authors.  Played with my niece and nephew.  Took naps.  It was lovely.

On Thursday, I had to step back into the real world to handle a situation at church. It was a situation I needed to be aware before Sunday morning rolled around but after about a fifteen minute phone call the situation was handled.

I realized though that if I had been at home, this little matter would have likely occupied my thoughts and actions for an entire day, at least. I'd worry over making sure I handled it just the right way.  Calling everyone that might be involved or affected.  It really was not that big of a deal but it was something that needed to be handled. Just not something to be obsessed about.

My problem is that I take myself too seriously sometimes. I think that if I don't respond just the right way everything will fall apart.  Which is ridiculous.  I am not that important but I put myself under the pressure to make sure I get it just right.

So, I'm trying on a new mindset. The next time I feel myself getting sucked into something, dwelling on a matter, I am going to ask myself, "How would I handle this if I were on vacation?" Would it need the attention of entire days and numerous phone calls or would it be handled simply, hoping for the best.

So, today, join in me in finding ways to listen to the waves right where we are and asking the question, "How can we take on a "vacation state of mind?"

Monday, July 9, 2012

Little By Little

Well, I guess you can always tell when I am overwhelmed with my life. My blogging goes silent. When I'm not sure how to function through each day it is hard to know what to say to anyone. You know, we you feel like you are keeping your head above water, blogging just does not seem to take priority.  Plus, if you were to blog about any of the things that were overwhelming you, it would just mean you would have to face them head on.

The last few months have been a lot of transition, keeping my house clean hoping it will sell, traveling between Smithfield and Raleigh (45 minutes if you're interested) and starting work on my official doctoral proposal and dissertation project. This is part of why I wasn't writing here, because I really needed to be writing on that. But I wasn' was just too overwhelming. When life feels overwhelming, it is difficult to begin something else that feels overwhelming. Sometimes it is hard to make the decisions, take the first steps, when we are overwhelmed with the big picture. Especially when the big picture feels larger than life. I'll admit, many of times, fear has frozen me in one spot. When it comes to relationships, job changes, big decisions of life, etc. it is often just easier to stay where we are.

My doctoral work brought on this larger than life fear. My project is to create a program for women in ministry for them to come together, monthly conference calls and individual coaching calls. The purpose is to provide leadership, theological and personal development for these women while creating networks of lasting support. I've been talking the talk about this project for years now as I've worked through the program. I've talked with organizations about having this become part of their offerings in the future, putting it under their umbrella and with their stamp of approval if it is successful.

But here has been the problem...what if it is not successful? What if I've been able to talk the good talk and it just flops? What if I'm not smart enough to write the big paper (really a book) and lead this program? What if no women are willing to be a part of the project? I really do believe God called me to this, gave me the heart and vision and so believe it will be just what it is supposed to my head. My heart, though, has been full of fear.

However, three weeks ago, I started with just an hour a day. Rather than getting overwhelmed with the whole kit and caboodle, I just started taking it an hour at a time. I've written an hour a day for the last two weeks and now I have written thirty three pages written. I've collected a list of names of potential participants to contact....but mostly importantly, I took the first steps.

Any big change or challenge, any time we step out on a limb or take a risk, it's easy to let fear paralyze us. We have to find ways to break the big project down into small steps. What is the next immediate thing that needs to be done? Even when we know this is the right decision or the potential joy that lies ahead is worth the risk, the fear can keep our firmly planted. The truth is though, anything worth having is going to make us a little afraid.

What is your next "little by little?" What big challenge lays before you? How can you break in down into the smaller parts to keep from being overwhelmed? What is it you really want but are too afraid to step forward to make happen?