Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you do the things that you do in a day? I am a chronic over-doer. I want to be the best wife, mother, daughter, friend, and the list goes on…! I want everything to be perfect, on budget, on time and more than lovely; however, these “requirements” often come at the expense of my own well-being.
Ironically, the harder we try to make things ideal, the more we wear ourselves out and diminish our ability to enjoy the things we are working towards achieving.
Then, by the time we get to where we initially blazed towards, we are fizzled out riding in on fumes across the finish line. How does this happen?
It’s 3:15pm. You haven’t eaten lunch. A headache is setting in, and your eyes are getting blurry from staring at the monitor. ‘Just one more email/ call/ paragraph. Then I can get up and take a break,’ you tell yourself.
Does this sound familiar? Or maybe you’re racing through the airport to catch your connection in route to a very important business meeting, grabbing a pre-made sandwich as you run by a food kiosk and barely making it to the gate in time. Or maybe you’ve been cleaning the house all day, running the kids all over town and are now staring at a sink full of dishes as the clock ticks closer to dinnertime.
Whatever it is that demands your time, an energy output assessment may be overdue. When I stopped and evaluated why I had become increasingly burned out, though I had such a strong drive and desire to do so much, I realized I had a disproportionate amount of expectations on myself, a lack of boundaries and I was striving for perfection.
I came to realize that I was doing many things in life out of obligation, due to feeling the need to perform, in order for others to value and love me. When I realized the lie I was letting myself believe, I had the power to change. It took practice and consistently checking my motives, but it has provided so much additional mental space and free time in my life.
Our intrinsic value is not based on how well we perform but rather the fact that we are made in God’s image, and He loves us no matter what we do or don’t do.
Recently, I began asking myself three things before I take on a new assignment or personal project. The results have been strikingly eye-opening!
1. Is this a good use of my time?
2. Does this truly matter?
3. Does this bring me joy?
Maybe it’s blocking off your calendar for 20 minutes to take a prayer walk, enjoy some fresh air and clear your head during the day. Maybe it’s taking a class in photography to pursue your creative side. Or maybe it’s saving a little money every month to treat yourself to a vacation. No matter how big or small, you can find joy in each day, whether in a smile or a sunset. Just make sure you make the time to experience it!
Being self-aware of how and why you do certain things takes practice, but you’ll soon find it refreshing and so helpful to zero in on areas of your life that may be sucking time and joy from you. The more you protect your time, the more of it you’ll have to pursue things you truly want to. You’ll also be able to better enjoy the beautiful life you’ve been blessed with and share it with those around you.