Friends: in attempt to resurrect this blog and to resume the habit of writing, I have decided to start sharing some of the journals that I am doing this semester for my leadership class. Each week, we are given a chapter to read (from Ruth Haley Barton’s book “Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership”, an excellent book!) and a prompt to reflect on. Our prompt this week, taken from the themes of the chapter, was as follows: Where were you noticing both God’s activity and otherwise during these past few days? What that you noticed has implications for your leading of a specific people?
This semester has been a busy crazy ball of everything, and so, Barton’s chapter was the slap to the face that I needed to realize that I am too busy. As I write this, I am taking an inventory of what I do: I am an intern at my church, interim youth leader at another church, a student employee at our school library; I am taking 19 credits this semester in order to finish seminary a semester early; I am a friend, a daughter, a sister, and a wife. I often find myself exhausted at the end of the day, wondering how I did everything that I did and still barely made a dent in the to-do list. I am an extrovert, and so I do find energy in being involved and being with people – but I am quickly learning that I cannot rely on my own energy anymore.
This past week, I have been exhausted. There is conflict happening in multiple areas of my life, including my own soul, and it is taking a toll on my health. The amount of time spent alone, resting, or with my husband has been little to none, and while I love all of the things that I am involved in, this is not something that I can accept in my life. One of the biggest areas of conflict that I am being torn in is that of future employment. I am looking to start full time somewhere this fall, and so am starting the application process now (so that we can hopefully move out of Holland and purchase a house this summer). I am so anxious about what is coming next with a job and a house and new stage of life that I often forget to actually look around me and notice what is happening in the here and now. I resonate fully with Barton’s “burning bush” discussion, because I am sure that I have ran past about a hundred of them in the past six years of my life. For God to grab my attention, it has to be an entire city block that is on fire.
I am not okay with how things are in my life currently. I have been busy my entire life, and I will be the first to admit that I prefer it that way. I love the hustle and the people and being a part of so many ministries and pieces of life. However, the more I learn about myself through the enneagram and through my seminary studies, the more I realize that I need to function at a level about 20 miles and hour slower than where I am currently. Being busy is one thing, but pushing myself to exhaustion is another. I need to slow down.
To slow down, I need to cut my involvement in certain areas. I know that is something that I say constantly but almost never do. I am the queen of pretending to slow down, but really that a just means that I talk less about the things that I am involved with. Since these assignments are geared towards leadership, I found myself thinking about how I can be a leader when I am this busy – and I am realizing that I can’t be. My leadership is present, yes, but not nearly in the capacity that I know it could be. I know that I am called to more, and I think that (as I type this) I am hitting a “burning bush” moment. I’m seeing flickering lights in the distance, guiding me to the path and the plans that God has for me as a leader in His Kingdom. I don’t know how to get there yet, but I finally think I know where I am heading.