This post is adapted from one that first appeared on Janet Sketchley’s blog, “Tenacity,” in March 2019.
When should you set aside responsibilities? When should you press on? How do you decide?
There are times we must ask, “Is this what God has for me going forward?”
Over the past several months, I have neglected several responsibilities and have had to ask myself this question many times.
From the time change last fall until the spring, tiredness and lack of motivation seemed to wrap their arms (or is that tentacles?) around me.
Being an Expressive, I am among the group least likely to be overly concerned about missed deadlines. Not great when there are so many mandatory and “soft” deadlines in my life.
When Janet suggested I pray to see if God would have me continue writing for Tenacity, I thanked the Lord for friends such as her. No pressure, just concern that I follow the Lord’s path for my life.
So, how do we determine which responsibilities to take on and which ones to set aside? As Christians, we can ask the Lord for wisdom and direction—and He will give it.
Second, it’s a good thing to create a list of everything we do and prioritize the items on our list.
Of those items that aren’t mandatory—our day job and taking care of family for instance—we may want to determine which items we feel called to and which we’re passionate about.
Now, if you’re eclectically interested, as I am, it may be hard to rank these in order of priority, which leads to the fourth thing we should do: be honest about our energy, time, and abilities.
We may be skilled in many areas. We may be able to do a plethora of things each week, each day even. But can we do them well? Can we give them the time and attention they deserve? Can we do so without becoming exhausted and resentful? Can we do them without fear of burnout?
In humility, we should ask, “Can someone else do this task? Could they do it more quickly and more efficiently than I can? Are they actually the right person for the job?”
I’m a little like Sister Bear from the Berenstain Bears. When my children were young, they watched and re-watched a video in which Sister Bear sang, “I want it all.” Truth be told, I’m like that. I suffer from what I call the Butterfly Syndrome. I flit from thing to thing, claiming the whole garden as my own.
I’m like a plate spinner who tells herself, “Sure, the plate has slowed down … Sure, the pole is beginning to wobble … But I have lots of time to get to it before the fine china crashes to the floor.”
We must consider those who are counting on us.
Granted, I have some of the most understanding and forgiving friends, family members, and clients in the world. Still, I have responsibilities to them, and if I can’t meet them, perhaps it’s time to set some of them aside—the responsibilities, not the people.
Last, but definitely not least, we must consider our Why.
Let’s go over that list we made item by item and determine why we’ve taken on each thing. When we know what motivates us, it helps us determine which items must stay on the list and which we can—and should—set aside.
Does this mean it will be easy? No. Often the things we’d prefer to set aside are actually the things that need our time and attention the most.
How do you determine what tasks to take on? Are there those that must go? Which tasks on your list make you want to jump out of bed in the morning (or stay up late) to accomplish?
Asking ourselves these questions, and others, will help us determine our daily schedule.
With the second half of 2019 before us, I have, once again, commit to moderating this blog more diligently. Thank you for your patience as I wrestle with whether or not it’s time for me to quit doing so.
Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance writer and editor and regular contributor to the HopeStreamRadio podcast. She is also the coauthor of the award-winning Living Beyond My Circumstances, Paralympian Deb Willows’ first memoir. Steph and Deb are currently working on a follow-up to LBMC.