Point to Ponder:
Are you over-committed, too busy and experiencing stress?
To piggy back on last week’s Journal, “No More People Pleasing & Holiday Have-Tos,” I have been thinking a lot about Have-To’s deceptive twin sister, Guilt. Guilt is that nasty and wasteful emotion that takes us into a downward tailspin and negative place. Personally, I experience the most guilt when I feel like I am not doing enough. Admittedly, one of my struggles is acknowledging that I am enough (with or without doing) and when I start listening to the deceitful voice who tells me that I am not doing enough and therefore I am not enough, my first reaction is to overcompensate. I go into an unsustainable “like-me” mode and start doing things for people due to lack of confidence rather than my heart’s desire.
Over a year ago I purchased an excellent book called Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. As I recently thumbed through it, I was reminded of the power behind lie #18: “I Don’t Have Time to Do Everything I am Supposed to Do.” Interestingly, this is the #1 lie the women surveyed for this book identified with. As a result, I felt compelled to write about this because I absolutely think this is a lie that we can and should support one another in combating and overcoming. I also feel like it’s especially relevant during the holidays when we are trying to make our houses look perfect, buy the ideal gifts, send beautiful Christmas cards, and attend every party—all the while never missing a workout, tending to the ongoing needs of our family, keeping our house clean, working and or volunteering. It’s just too much!
In summary, here is what Nancy says, “More often than not, I find that women feel overwhelmed by how much they have to do, how much they feel they are supposed to do and how little time they have to do it. As a result, many women are living breathless, frazzled and discouraged lives. Ironically, we have more conveniences available to us that were unknown to women of past generations (dishwashers, washing machines, gadgets, devices, etc) yet our lives are more harried, hurried and stressed than ever before. There are probably a number of explanations, however, one reason is that we have accepted the lie that we don’t have time to do everything we are supposed to do. The fact is, we have no more or less time than any other human being who has ever lived. No one, regardless of his/her position or responsibility, has ever had more than 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, 52 weeks in a year. The truth is, no woman can wear all hats effectively. Sooner or later, something (or someone) is going to suffer. Frustration is the by-product of attempting to fulfill responsibilities that God does not intend for us to carry. Freedom, joy and fruitfulness comes from seeking to determine God’s priorities for each season of life, and then setting out to fulfill those priorities, in the power of His Spirit, realizing that He has provided the necessary time and ability to do everything that He has called us to do.”
What I find so ironic about the twenty-first century female dilemma is that every single one of us is busting our tails trying to do good and have meaningful impact for our family and community, yet our efforts often backfire because we are trying to squeeze too much into one season of life. Just as Nancy reminds us, we can’t do it all and wear all hats effectively without something breaking, such as our health, our relationships, our families, our jobs. Not only can we not do it all, but we can’t do it all alone. I feel as though we have fallen into to a sinkhole of thinking that asking for help is a sign of weakness. The truth is that not only can we not do it all by ourselves, but we were never intended to anything alone. And so, the million dollar question is, “How do we stop our busy and possibly out of control lives? From the wise words of my business coach, friend and iGnite member, Martha Lynn Mangum, the questions that I encourage you to stop and take the time to answer is, “What is uniquely mine to do?, What do I need help with? Who do I need to ask for help from?”
As you begin to answer your question, I want to remind you that you are not responsible for your family or friends’ happiness. You are only responsible for your joy and happiness, so if your joy and happiness is being compromised because you are over-committed and your life is feeling out of control, take the first and very important step by saying “no”. What will make your family the most happy is that you are not stressed and spending quality time with them. And if you find yourself afraid of disappointing someone because you need downtime and therefore need to send a regret email to the party that you have already RSVP’d for, I can’t imagine that anyone who really loves you will do anything more than applaud you for taking care of yourself. In order to stay healthy and well, we must be “selfish” and do what’s best for us.
As Dr. Riga Hancock reminds, “Stress increases your susceptibility to illnesses, physical pain and unwanted behavior through its effects on your posture, muscle tension and immune system. It leads to back pain, muscle spasms, migraine headaches, irritable bowel and ulcers. Stress also decreases your ability to fight infections like the flu. No matter how beautiful a Pinterest pin or Instagram picture makes something look, you are not required to bake one single Christmas cookie or hang one decoration to be good enough.” So, in order to stay healthy throughout the holidays, I encourage you to keep your stress level low by only saying “yes” to who and what matters the most, ask for help, drink lots and lots of water, exercise, indulge but be sure and counter that with plenty of greens, vitamin C and protein, along with plenty of rest and washing your hands often.
In closing, as you begin decommitting to the things that are not uniquely yours to do, I encourage you to start considering an action plan for 2017. The goal to not let the whirlwind of life pick you up and and take you where it wants to take you. Instead, the goal is to land where you want to land, leaving room for spontaneity and surprise, of course! Therefore, I encourage you to start thinking about how you will intentionally celebrate 2016, while creating an intentional plan for 2017. Whether that be asking for time off from your job or from your family, it is essential that you carve out the space that will allow you the time to consider exactly what you want and desire in the next year. It would be the greatest treat to have you attend our January ‘Rise & Shine’ ReNew Year Retreat in San Diego (LaJolla). However, if that’s not a possibility, something as simple as time alone with a new journal, a cup of tea, coffee or glass of wine with your favorite music will do the trick. Not only do you need this time, but you deserve it!