Monday, March 8, 2010

Back In Town with Lessons from a Headache

Well, I'm back in town . . . and it's funny just how appropriate last Friday's posting about rest was. I went to Pennsylvania for the weekend for a Worship Arts Conference where I was invited to teach a class about church drama ministry. We had a 7 hour drive to get there -- and I think I was crashing after a busy, somewhat stressful, week because I had a terrible headache for half of the ride and then for most of the night. But it was funny because before we'd even arrived at the conference, I'd already learned something. I'd learned the importance of rest. This is a lesson that I have to learn over and over again, because I'm just not wired to build rest into my life like we're supposed to.

But anyway, I realized that over the last few weeks I'd been spending a lot of time calling libraries and other places trying to get more work for the summer. In my head I could already think of a bunch more places I needed to call or email or places I should look into calling or emailing. I was planning on getting back to it as soon as I returned from the conference. Never mind the fact that for the upcoming summer I already have more work scheduled now in March than I ended up having all of last summer. And I considered last summer a good summer!

I thought about how tired I was right at that moment, how I'd been working hard over the last few weeks; and I thought about my head-ache because my head was still throbbing. And then I thought -- "I don't want to be driving to places this summer with a headache, feeling tired and worn-out and not able to give my best performance! No, that's not what I want!" Not only would I be miserable, but it wouldn't be fair to the places where I'm going. It wouldn't be fair to the people of Haiti whose story I'm going to tell. It wouldn't be fair to my husband because he'd inevitably end up getting the worst part of me -- the times when I'm exhausted and grouchy.

Now, this is not to say that I don't want to work hard. Believe me, I've got enough going to keep me working hard all summer. It's not even to say that I wouldn't be happy if more work came along and that I wouldn't take it if it did. But I feel like an annoying headache on a long car ride taught me that I need to be careful just how hard I run after work. So I'm taking a different approach right now. The calendar is pretty full -- so now I'm not going to spend hours each day pursuing more work. I'm going to take it one day at a time, doing what I can and being sure to make time for moments of rest so that I don't burn out. I'm going to trust that since I've done the work of getting the word out in the first place that the places where I'm supposed to visit this summer will get a hold of me. And I'm going to focus my attentions where they need to be focused. . .

It's so easy to go from wanting more to wanting too much. But when you put it all in perspective it's not worth it. . . In some cases the more work I get, the more time I have to spend away from home, away from my husband, and he is one of my top priorities!

How often do we evaluate if our actions and choices are leading us closer to who we want to be? Sometimes something as seemingly small as a headache can speak louder than words.

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