Guest Blogging for us today is photographer Rachel Richard! When you’re done reading, be sure to check out her WEBSITE!
A couple of weeks ago, I turned off my cell phone to do a 48 hour media detox. Our family needed time to rest and enjoy each others company. I needed a break from work and the world for a while.
Let’s be honest. Running a business is fun but exhausting. Making connections and keeping clients happy wears on you. Managing all of this while keeping your house and laundry clean and your family and pets fed is nearly impossible. Throw in all of the other responsibilities and relationships on top and chaos can ensue if you aren’t skilled at juggling bowling pins while riding a unicycle in a leotard. Somebody is bound to be unhappy or feel slighted. Somebody is always crying and somebody always thinks they can do it better.
About half way into it, I made the mistake of checking my messages. The list of “I need you to do X” had gotten quite long. I already had 46 Facebook messages, 55 emails (less than 10 of those were spam), 1 voicemail and 12 text messages. I was less than 24 hours in and in under 20 seconds I felt like I was drowning. The pressure was insane. I am a people pleaser by nature. Like to a fault. Those who are really close to me tease me sometimes about how I am slowly growing a spine and how “no” has become part of my vocabulary. My husband even bought me this Think Geek t-shirt for Christmas in a last resort attempt to help me learn this word. (I wear it often.)
Becoming fine with other people being unhappy or disappointed with me has been a huge step and process. Now, I’m not out to tick off everyone who crosses my path but I am becoming OK with saying “no” or “not now” to the things or people that take away from what I need to focus on.
It’s boundaries for my family. Boundaries for my business. Boundaries to keep me sane and mentally healthy. Boundaries so I can have focused time with God and not let my devotional time get pushed to the bottom of the list. I’m learning to say “no” to good things so I can say “yes” to the best things.
I am reminded of this passage of scripture in Exodus 18. Moses is trying to do everything by himself because the people keep coming to him with their long lists of things they want him to do. His father-in-law steps in and says “Whoa! What you are doing is not good. You guys are going to wear yourselves out and end up not being effective. Let me show you a way to share the burden and create a system to train up leaders to handle the small stuff.” (My paraphrase) Then he says “If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
My people pleasing brain says that I have to be all things to all people. Or if someone asks, my answer always needs to be “yes” so someone isn’t disappointed in me. But the truth is that it doesn’t need to be that way. That’s a pretty ineffective, stressful way to live. (And yes, I know it has taken me almost 31 years to fully realize it.) Focused strength and expertise in a few specific areas gets more productive good work done. Partnering with friends and colleagues with different skills than your own shares the load and makes the burden lighter.
How are you creating boundaries in your life and work? Is there someone you can partner with so you both don’t have to “reinvent the wheel”? Thoughts?
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