POD #9: Decathexis
My life is in a state of perpetual motion. The moment that I feel like I should give something up, to make time for the things that are more important – I find something else to fill my freed time with. I don’t mean to, really I crave down time – and yet…
My schedule, mind you, the one I created is constantly filled. I wake at 5:20 in the morning – if my natural body clock doesn’t wake me one to two hours earlier. I work Monday through Friday full-time. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday I have activities after work, so I usually get home around 8 p.m. for a little husband and down time. Wednesday we try to have a family dinner with the kids and grandchildren. Friday night is date night with my husband or if he is working it is my down time. Saturday I have breakfast with a friend every other week, followed by exercise class. I usually get home around 11:30 a.m. and then spend time with my husband and down time until the grandchildren come to spend the evening or the night. Sunday I sleep in, have some husband and down time, and then head to church, followed by a little more down time.
In my “down time,” I have daily Bible study, I catch up with phone calls, watch television, cook, clean, write, read, or get on the computer. Oh yes, and I am using Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish during that time also.
I realize there are many things I say “no” to that I really do want in my life; yet at this time I find meaning in the things that I am involved with despite the chaotic schedule. I would like to have more time to exercise, write, and be with my family. I would like to have more time with friends outside of my normal “schedule.”
I have cut a lot out of my schedule over the past few years. I realize that my marriage is the most important thing behind God. So a few years ago, I tried to coordinate my schedule so I would be home when my husband was. Of course, then his schedule changes and I am mid-commitment. He certainly understands, but it doesn’t stop my heart from being torn between what I love to do and who I love. I spent too many years not giving him the place he deserved in my life.
I started making time for my children. We schedule family dinner, and although we don’t always do it weekly, it is a priority. I have started being fully present when I schedule time with my kids – even if it is a random phone call. I try to stay off my phone when we’re together. I realize that I am blessed to have adult children who include me in their lives. I am blessed that they want to spend time with me. They may not always live close, so I will enjoy the moments I have with them and treasure that I am their priority too.
Since my granddaughter came along four years ago, we have kept her each Saturday. In part, it was to make sure that my daughter, who is a stay at home parent, has a break. The other part is so that she and her husband can stay connected and make their marriage a priority. The other part is that I want to have a close relationship with my grandchildren, because I don’t have one with mine. I never knew my maternal grandparents. My paternal grandfather died when I was just a child. My paternal grandmother wrote me off when my father died twenty years ago. I love my relationship with my grandchildren. I have started saying no to the overnights a few times a month, and taking a week off just so that I can have some true downtime with my husband.
I have cut out a lot of volunteer activities, and have no problem saying “no.” There are a lot of things I would love to give my time to, great causes that impact my community. The reality is, I can run myself ragged for great causes that may be good, but they are not from God. However, if God didn’t call me to it – not only am I running myself dry, I am robbing someone else of the job they are supposed to be filling.
I love my women’s Journey group. There is something special about iron sharpening iron. We grow deeper individually as we press in to how God’s Word applies individually to life. Then we share what God is doing in our journey. There is a depth, a unity, a true fellowship that occurs in our weekly time together.
Tuesday I volunteer my time with an international organization that ministers locally to women. It is a Christian organization that allows women to minister from where they have been. Providing hope from places that God delivered me from, ministering Christ’s love to hurting women. Praying for the needs of women and our community. Training women to help other women, it is one of my heart’s passions. I love to see Christ’s body, the Church, breaking down denominational walls and serving as His hands and feet.
Thursday, every other week I volunteer my skills with a local outreach to homeless. Twenty-one years ago, I found myself in a situation with young children where I needed help. My heart goes out to the people who don’t have someone to in their corner to navigate the complex systems designed to help them. I have not only walked the path, I am trained to walk with them. It is a passion built from my own past and desire to give back.
Right now in my life, the only thing I would cut out is mindlessly watching television or surfing the internet. Not that I spend a lot of time doing it, but enough time that could be used to pour more of my time in to writing, reading and exercising. I have a desire to live a healthier lifestyle – exercise needs to again be a priority. It is a choice I have to make though. Writing, I use challenges like the one I am currently participating in to get me to write more than just my daily Bible journaling. I need to be more purposeful in writing on the “assignments” God has given me. Reading, my goal is a book a month – reading before I go to sleep if I am not too tired, or while my husband rests on the weekends.
I think my decathexis has been a slow work in progress. I know God’s not done with me yet, so I will just have to see how when one assignment ends how I am directed to release my time or fill it with other pursuits of purpose.