By Bob Simpson, BCM/D Associate Executive Director, Editor of BaptistLIFE
There’s a country song written by singer/songwriter Mac Davis that goes “I thought happiness was Lubbock, Texas, in my rear view mirror…” With apologies to Lubbock, I am glad to have the 2009 finally in my rearview mirror. I broke most of the rules of “pacing one’s self” over the past 4-6 months. I admit it. I did what I have advised and even preached to others that they should never do. I worked at a frenetic pace and did not even take the usual time off to re-group. Admittedly, some of it was self-induced by my having taken on more “projects” in my life than I should have. Some of it was just unfortunate timing for me professionally. Sometimes it just comes at you in waves and patterns that are not always in your control. But, nevertheless, I was wrong to let myself get into that position.
I am pretty efficient most of the time juggling the complexity of what is my life. Most people who know me well tell me that I am multi-talented and very gifted in numerous disciplines. I recognize that. Often, though, I am my own worst enemy when it comes to prioritizing things. Part of my nature is to do it all and do it all with excellence. But the last several months even I got to the point of feeling like I was drowning. Frankly, I didn’t like the feeling. It made me commit to simplifying my entire life as I moved into 2010.
So… I am in the process of slowing myself down. I have made the following commitments to myself which I hope will also be of help to you:
(1) I will try hard not to let myself get into that condition again.
(2) I will take what I learned (and felt) and apply it directly to learning to say “no” more often in the future.
(3) I will stay focused on resisting the professional “creep” of doing more and more beyond my capacity.
(4) I will make time for re-fueling and re-freshing.
I know my strengths and I know my limitations. This year I have learned that I just can’t do it all. But when I operate within my strengths, I am so much more effective both personally and as a minister.
But now I need to stop staring in my rearview mirror and get focused forward once again. I don’t know whether any of this makes any sense. But I feel better having mused it over. 2010 is a fresh new canvas for me to see if I really learned my lesson. I’ll keep you posted!