Friday, August 15, 2008

Moving Forward Again

A new school year approaches, and this is probably a good thing even though I keep thinking and saying that I'd like another two months, at least.

I would like to say that the approach of a busy schedule focuses my mind and motivates me to use the rest of my summer well, but, to be honest, in the face of recent events in my life I have not been well-focused at all. And last night I even went into a tailspin of panic about it all.

But in the light of day, I'm doing better again.

There are ways I am looking forward to the coming year, because things are on course for us to make some changes in our department that I believe will make my life easier in the long run. And in other dimensions of my work life and my personal life too, I feel much clearer about my goals and what I need, and so I feel optimistic that I will be able to continue to make changes that will bring my life more in line with what I want it to be. But the process still feels long and hard.

As I look ahead with trepidation to the coming busyness, I am considering reviving my Sabbath idea as a strategy for maintaining sanity. I am going to let Sundays be stress-free days. On these days, I will avoid anything that stresses me out, but I am allowed to do anything that I enjoy. This will be one day a week during which I will be intentional about not letting anxiety rule my life. This weekly discipline (which hopefully will infuse the rest of my life as well) will help me to keep in touch with positive motivations, and keep in touch with a sense of how God is calling me (instead of what the people in my life want from me).

Since there are in fact many dimensions of my work that I enjoy, this version of Sabbath is not for me a day of "no work," but a day to remember to try to tune into positive motivations and get centered again if the week has pushed me off center. It's a day to take stock of how things are going, and to seek refreshment.

Just setting this in place cheers me up and gives me hope.

There are some other decisions I have to make too about how to set up my weekly schedule to help me keep up with my busy schedule, and so I may be writing about this more in the coming days.

3 comments:

  1. Here is a little strategy I have used in order to keep my Sabbath (which isn't Sunday) safe for me. If someone asks me to do anything that seems like work or anything that would take me away from the Sabbath feeling, I simply say that I have an appointment that I cannot change. Of course, the appointment is with me and whatever plans God's Spirit has in store for me--but no one needs to know that. ;)

    cath

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  2. CS,
    I was sorry to hear about the death of your father. Give yourself time and permission to grieve. The death of a parent is a very big psychological event in most people's lives. My father died in 1973 and I still think of him often. Of course parents are imperfect and their flaws leave marks on their children. And so your never feeling good enough is caused in large part by this relationship. But the redemption story is that good things can come out of an imperfect past and your personality--someone who is very conscientious and sensitive to other people--is a good thing that was caused by this relationship. I think you can learn to accept the fact that you are good and not let this be overshadowed by the fact that you aren't perfect. Perfection is something that we should continue to strive for but we need to accept that we will only catch it in glimpses.

    I also want to encourage you to make the most of your Sabbath. It could be a very helpful practice for you.

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  3. Thank you, cath. That is great advice. I'll try that!

    And thank you, Richard. I very much appreciate your kind and thoughtful words, and your reminder that I need to be patient with myself because this is big!

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