Monday, July 13, 2009

Balance.

I need some.

Could someone please give me lessons on how to find balance??

Of course, that would mean I would need to find time to take those lessons, and I am afraid the lack of time is the very reason for needing the balance.

Curious.

Lately I am completely lacking in balance. I feel so overwhelmed, and so unaccomplished. Our calendar is completely overbooked, and I have begun viewing it as a checklist of duties. My heart and soul are busy too. I am lost in thought lately and wrapped up in so many things...so many different lives... my soul is weary and I am just plain tired.

Yet rest is slightly hard to come by lately. Last night I slept so restlessly that at some point I turned off my alarm completely. This morning I woke up and squinted at the clock, only to realize I had to be out the door in 16 minutes. Awesome. As Steven Curtis Chapman would say "the day has just begun, and I'm already running late".

My heart is in need of rest too.


One of my spiritual gifts is empathy. I feel things for other people. When someone shares with me something that they are going through, or have gone through, most of the time I feel deeply for them. I feel like I have experienced some of their heartache. It's a strange thing, empathy. It is such a blessing, and yet sometimes can feel like a curse.


There are two people in our lives that we are very close with whose marriages are both ending. Both of them have children, one set which are family and another to whom I am Godmother. My heart is just broken for them. I can not count the number of times I have wept for them recently. I have friends who are hurting, loved ones who are ill, and it just seems the burden's are plentiful lately...


Empathy is something I have always experienced. I even had a guidance counselor once tell me I should never go into a career involving counseling. "You wouldn't be able to do it, you don't have the ability to separate other people's problems from your own". He was right.


And it's not just limited to Real Life. Even the movies or a book can do it. After we watched The Passion I slept for like 10 hours that night. I was exhausted.

But before you think that in anyway noble, let me tell you it doesn't have to be a movie about the death of Christ.


The Notebook? Forgetaboutit.


I even cry every time we watch Wall-E because I feel bad he is so lonely for so long.

He is a robot, people. Issues. I have issues.


But back to real life. Back to feeling overwhelmed and under-adequate. (Yes, I made that up but it's my blog so I can do that).

I feel like I am running around a lot lately, and yet I still feel like I am letting people down left and right. I am behind on correspondence. But I have a decent reason...when I read an email and reply, I don't want to "phone it in", I want to be there. I want to really take in all that the person has said to me and think on it, then reply. I want to focus. I detest the thought of seeing myself send flippant responses to someone who means something to me, or someone who has shared their life with me. I like to quiet myself, and the area around me so that I can give it my full attention....

(There must be some raised eyebrows amongst those of you to whom I email back and forth with, as even my focused, quiet responses are still scattered and all over the place. Ha!)


Phone calls too, yesterday I was finally able to connect with my dear friend, and that was long overdue.

And the Lord, when was the last time He had all of me...for more than 5 minutes??


And then there is me. Or rather, us. We are in the middle of things too. I so long for this phase in our journey to result in a baby... but even if it doesn't, I want to at least be able to say that I was present for it. That I was HERE, in it. That I was present in my marriage, and right with my God. Those things don't just happen, they require action, thought, and time from me.


It seems that 10 months and 129 posts later, I still have far to go with this whole miracle of the moment thing.


I have a "need to do" list and a "want to do" list. I am sitting here wondering if some of my wants are actually needs...such as keeping up with friends. And perhaps some of my needs are wants...such as keeping a clean house.

Afterall, at my funeral, I don't really care if people stand up and say "oh, she had the cleanest house", or "she was so organized". I want to be looking down from Heaven to hear people say things like "she was always there for me", "we went through so much together", and "she always made time for me".

The Bible says to "carry one another burdens" and "honor your husband" and "spend time in communion with others" and yet it also talks about the need for rest, and for quiet, and for being filled.

I guess I am walking a delicate road in finding the balance between being there for others and being there for myself. Anybody else walking it too?

Is that selfish? I don't know. I struggle with that. Most the time I rationalize that if I don't take good care of myself I can't very well be there for others, but maybe that's not true. Maybe God will provide the ability to do so.


So those are my thoughts...jumbled and messy. I can't be the only one out there that feels this way... can I? Are there some of you out there that have this balance in life thing down? What do you all do to find balance? Or do you find balance?

For now I think I will spend some quiet time with the Lord, and thank Him for my day...for my job that I was late to today...for my husband whom I adore...for my home in which I am so comfortable...and for a life full of people -friends and family- to keep me so busy....I am grateful.

11 comments:

natalierochelle said...

As someone who has been on the receiving end of your beautifully focused, empathetic, undivided attention, I can definitely affirm the fact that it is a Spiritual Gift. That kind of empathy, those tears that you cried FOR me, are nothing if not from the Lord.

In no way am I trying to convince you that you shouldn't take time off for yourself. You need time to be at peace. If you were never at peace, you would never be able to bring a sense of peace to others.

But there is one part of this entry that gets to me: "And the Lord, when was the last time He had all of me...for more than 5 minutes??"

I know the kind of one-on-one devotion you are talking about here, but I want you to realize that using your Spiritual Gift of empathy IS honoring the Lord. If I've learned anything from reading "The Shack" (a fictional novel, I realize) it is that God wants to be actively involved in every single aspect of our lives. Even if we were to nobly "set aside time for Him" each day, our human nature is to label that as some sort of a job or task we must accomplish before moving on to the next thing.

What if we just wove Him in to everything?

He is so pleased with you Kendra. You do beautiful things for people and you have personally given me so much joy and confidence, I could never thank you enough. I know it is a divinely inspired ability and I hope that you can somehow rest in the "gift" side of empathy rather than the "curse."

Take some time for yourself, you deserve it. You've been doing hard Work. (I capitalize it because it's His Work)

Love you sister!

Vanessa's Dad said...

There's always gonna be stuff undone at the end of the day. Don't let perfection be your enemy. Do your best to use your time well, leave the results to God. Angels do no more.

If you have TIME for the long version, you are welcome to continue... :)

I've found it helpful to keep focus on what I got done, rather than what I did not.

My brother David's wife... (your 'other' Aunt Carol) wrote a book on empathy as a spiritual gift. She says ya gotta "give it to God" or you get overwhelmed with all the pain that is around. Don't turn off empathy. Accept the hurt feelings, then lay them at God's feet.

Absolutely make time for yourself...every day. Ya can't help others unless you are healthy. Remember the pre-flight instructions? "In the event a loss in cabin pressure, the oxygen masks will drop automatically. FIRST, put your mask on, THEN help others who need your help."

LOVE, DAD

The Writer Chic said...

I'm overwhelmed, in a good way, by your post. I don't really know what to say...

You will find your balance, I know. I, for one, think you are doing beautifully. I'd think that even if we hadn't had our phone date on Sunday.

Know that I am praying for you. For the marriage situations, for the baby thing. For the fragility of handing God our dreams of motherhood. For your time with David.

I love you.

Faith said...

Oh my, Kendra...you put into words EXACTLY what my heart is feeling too. I completley understand and I am struggling with these same things myself.

Our pastor preached about drifting away from the Lord on Sunday, and it could not have been more timely for me. I know that I have drifted and I desperately want to draw nearer to Him. This week, I have determined that when I get home from work, before I turn on the computer or phone or tv or whatever, I am going to spend some time alone with Him. I need more of Him more than anything else!

I'm praying for you, Kendra! Love ya, Faith

Heather said...

Oh, Kendra... don't be so hard on yourself! For me, finding balance is the million dollar question. It's the light at the end of the tunnel. I think it's a lifelong process, and just the fact that you are pondering the balance in your life must mean that you are on the right track! You are a great person and a great friend for aiming to give so much of yourself when considering others. From what I know, there are not a whole lot of people who can say that. (((Hugs))).

HopingandWaiting said...

Well, my husband is probably the one that brings the balance to our life. He gets stressed if there is too much going on and makes us reduce things down to the things we want to do the most. He will sometimes even not go to family gatherings because he is tired and just doesn't want to spend the evening socializing. Sounds crazy, huh? I on the other hand, like to have something to do every day of the week and want to check things off my to-do list. I make one every day. I think I probably go way overboard. If I am not busy, I struggle with thoughts about infertility, life, fears, etc. So I guess I don't have balance either. ????? It sounds to me like you are a very caring person and want to give of your time to others and to the Lord and I think that is the key to it all. I tend to give all my energy to others and leave the Lord behind--which I feel great guilt for.

Anyways, I pray today would be a day of rest for you and that God would continue to remind you of the things that are most important in your life and that He would help you achieve the balance you desire.

e.brown said...

I know you've heard this verse a million times, but here it is AGAIN, to make it a million-and-one :)

"I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." Philippians 4:13


I like these ones, too:

"God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect." 2 Sam. 22:33

Christ is NEVER going to give you more than you can handle.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers (and sisters!), whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops PERSEVERANCE. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4

...Even though persevering seems IMPOSSIBLE sometimes.

"Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth."
Rev 3:10

Balance is tricky, and it seems like it will ALWAYS be, no matter who you are. It seems like no matter how hard we try, something is always there to tip the scales, preventing balance from occurring. But, Christ will never leave you to go through something that you can't handle. He loves you too much! :D

You are not the only one who feels this way :) And no, not a single word of your post was selfish.

I'm praying for you :) If you ever need to talk/vent/anything, do not hesitate to call me!

Love, Foggy Botton (had to throw that in there to lighten the mood a bit)

P.S. I only saw Wall-E once, and haven't watched it since because I balled like a baby! Even though it has a happy endings, it's just so sad to think of how lonely he was for so long!

Lauren Kelly said...

Girl.... I can soooo relate to how how you are feeling. Right now as I write this I'm hoping for peace and quiet for your spirit so that you may clearly hear from him :)

Love ya, girl! :)

Lori said...

I understand where you are coming from, many times I do not give people my full attention or my full emotions and I end up feeling so sad with myself for how I handled the situation. SO I think its wonderful how you care for others. I can also see how you could end up putting yourself last. I really think that us women need alone time, peaceful alone time. I'm sure when you try to do that your mind is still racing, thats what happens to me lots! Sometimes I get so frustrated at life, that is when I need to focus on my ONLY hope in this world. My Saviour. He is the only one that can help me get at least a little balance in my life, I might need a big push sometimes though! Hang in there Kendra and know you can always let me know if you need an encouraging word!!

Lacy said...

Did you seriously read my mind or what??? I have been struggling for balance too. There is so much to do and not enough time, and yet it is so important that our precious time get spent doing something important!! I get so mad at myself when I am being lazy or squandering time, but by then it is too late!! Don't beat yourself up too bad Kendra. Your friends and God know your heart!! I am praying for you sweet friend!

Jen S. said...

Hi Kendra...
I swear you put into words exactly what I am feeling.
I liked what your Dad wrote about noticing what one has gotten done, not what they haven't gotten done. It sure makes sense. But is so tough to do sometimes :)
I myself feel a huge amount of anxiety on a daily basis, and even more lately it seems. If only I could learn to NOT be such a worry-wart! I try so hard, yet still worry, worry, worry!!
I'll be thinking of you and here's to you finding that balance.
Remember--YOU ARE AWESOME!!!
Love,
Jen S.