Friday, December 27, 2013

You've got mail

It's about time I took a few days off from work. Best decision so far? Changing the settings on my phone to see only my personal email instead of "all" email (which included work). I really dislike having "unread" email in my inbox, so it was hard to come to terms with not keeping track of incoming mail and deleting/filing/responding to it in the moment. Even if I planned to only look and not respond, I know myself well enough to know that seeing the content of the emails would stir up thoughts in my mind about what needed to be done when I actually could address some of the emails, and that would take away any sense of freedom over the next few days. Does your mind work like that?

Like I said - best decision.

Yesterday reminded me of what life was like prior to three months ago. I spent a leisurely 3 1/2 hours with a sweet friend at La Madeleine. We caught up on Christmas activities and recent happenings, shed some tears but laughed the tears to shame, and shared prayer requests.

I had TIME. Time to run errands or just browse. Time to linger. Time to not feel rushed. Time to read. Time to clean. Time to cook.

One of my favorite verses is Psalm 90:12, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." I once read a translation that worded the first phrase, "Teach us to make the most of our time..." In our personal lives, we often associate "making the most of our time" as not wasting time, which is typically defined as laziness or sleeping in. In the workplace, not "making the most of your time" may mean laziness or it could actually mean you just couldn't cram enough stuff in a certain amount of time. You could be doing all the right things but just didn't get the project completed in time. Some people may criticize that you didn't work enough hours or that you shouldn't have taken lunch, etc.

But what if we redefined "making the most of our time?" What if it meant resting when our bodies need it and working more reasonable schedules? As a colleague of mine says, "The emails will still be there tomorrow."

Why do I feel like I have to respond to everything as soon as it happens? Honestly? I feel the need to respond real-time for a number of reasons:
  • Yes, it WILL still be there tomorrow, but so will 50 other emails. If I don't resolve it now, it will continue to pile up.
  • In my profession, a lack of response could affect someone's health and wellness, in some cases.
  • I'm a people-pleaser - I want to take care of things as quickly for others as I would like them to be taken care of for me.
  • Everyone thinks their needs are a top priority.
But life is more than work. God created us with five senses so we could enjoy things: see a sunset, smell the flowers, taste chocolate, feel the cool sheets as we slide into bed at night, and hear the morning songs of the birds. If we're working all the time, we can't enjoy these things.

Let's work on finding a better balance - making better use of our time. Work hard and well for the Lord, and then relax and play hard...for the Lord.

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