creating space

All it took was my husband leaving work a few minutes earlier, the boys sleeping a few minutes longer and me resisting the urge to do housework. That’s all it took. Suddenly, I had 45 minutes of uninterrupted time alone. I read a challenging devotional, which was short but full of disturbing questions and difficult challenges like “be on the lookout for people in need….be part of bringing hope and compassion to those who think no one really cares about them. Understand that you represent Jesus’ love and mercy everywhere you go.” I’ve been skimming over such statements in my morning devotions quite often these days. Today I had to peace and quiet to think and pray about that for a while. At times, I’d rather not be on such a lookout if it involves messing with my plans for a given day. At other times, I’d like to go on a crusade to save the world. God reminded me this morning that I’m only to be on the lookout, to be waiting and watching. HE will arrange the details. That set me at ease…then I was ready to go on with some serious planning for next year. This needed prayer too.

I’ve found myself in one of my usual predicaments; that is, of having too many irons in the fire, if I may use a Southern colloquialism. It’s October and I have Friday playgroup outings to coordinate for this month, toddler Sunday school to teach on two Sundays, a son’s birthday to prepare for,a homeschool concert to start planning for, ¬†homeschooling to keep going with, housework to do, email to answer, facebook comments to make, photos to upload, Christmas presents to mail… and the list goes on.

Just last week, KL and I agreed to give a talk for the youth camp in December and an offer I’d made to help with training for the church mission trip became another thing to add to the already full plate. So November will be missions training, December will be toddler Sunday school teaching for the whole month, youth camp, many family birthdays and planning and preparing school materials for next year.

The thing is, I love doing all of these things. If anything gets me energized and motivated it’s teaching or organizing events or doing anything related to mission work. The problem is that I’m often trying to do too many of these things all at the same time. In a recent post I mentioned somewhat incredulously ¬†that I’d seen motorcyclist texting while riding his motorbike. It seemed dangerous, even foolish to do such a thing. But I’ve come to realize over the past several days that I am also attempting such a feat–trying to keep moving, find my way, make plans and communicate all at the same time. I have that dread in the back of my mind that I’m going to crash my delicately balanced motorbike very soon.

When I go into this mode (and it happens pretty regularly) I have bursts of energy (like I did on the the morning when I had 45 peaceful minutes) that will fuel a few days’ worth of planning, writing, emailing, talking and preparing. I’ll try to my best to rope others in and delegate some of the responsibilities. After a while I’ll burn out and start wondering what I can possibly drop (usually it’s cooking), then I’ll remember that I need to finish what I’ve started and do a good job (perfect if possible) on all the things on my list and I’ll get another short burst of energy but know it’s not going to last long.

Then suddenly… it will all be over and December will be here and I’ll retreat from everyone and everything and try to tell myself not to do that again next year.

But today, I managed to create some thinking space. I wrote out a schedule for monthly playgroup outings (dates and locations), twice monthly group science lessons dates, and checked them all against the calendar of Singapore’s public holidays for 2010. I felt like I had accomplished a lot in a short span of time and that my wobbling motorbike was relieved of some of the unevenly distributed weight, so that I could continue riding smoothly–stopping every so often to take a look around and make sure I know where I’m going.