Ready. Set. Go!

I’ve had incredible, jaw-dropping opportunities in the last few years. When I reflect on all the things that have happened, all that has been offered, I’m at a loss! How could one person experience all that?!

I show up to a lunch with friends and end up with a job. I walk over to say bye and someone tells me they want to hire me. I show up to coffee to volunteer for an event and am offered employment. I mean really, this happens to people? It’s puzzling and each time I’m in awe of the range of possibilities of what can happen. It continues to stretch my mind.

As I reflect on the countries I have been to, the organizations that I have worked with, the people that I have met, I realize this. The going happened when I was ready and set. There are moments that I have tried to race without being equipped. Being in track and field in high school gave me plenty of learning opportunities for that. I was on the field team. This was my way of avoiding the running side of things. Then, there was the ambitious coach who wanted everyone to be conditioned to run. I was out of breath the first lap but then it went on… for hours… for days. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t set. But I was told to go… and I didn’t go very far.

I have done many things that I wasn’t ready for. It was slow and it was agonizing and it was frustrating. However, I have done just as many things that I was. In all of those things, it was due to the conditioning before I had to get set. It was the getting ready that allowed me to get set into place and it was the setting that allowed me that jump start to continue. When my heart was set on learning and getting all that I could in this very moment, I realized that it prepared me for the setting that may happen tomorrow or years later. Take a breath and capture this moment so you won’t miss out on all the go that is coming. What is it that you’re being readied for now?

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

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Creating Margins

I know we’re more than halfway through 2017 but I’m going to reflect on my 2016 for this post. If I could characterize my 2016 in one word, that word would be busy. Now, I’ve always done a lot of things. However, I don’t know if I had experienced busy-ness until last year. I ran from one meeting to the next, one thought to the next, one building to the next, as if my life depended on it. However, if I had paused and created some margins in each of those moments, I think I would have come to the realization sooner than I did. The world will not fall apart because of something I did or did not do.

The demands of the world are pretty high. You can easily spiral into the endless loop of haves and needs whether that is what your boss tells you he/she needs, your coworker, your family, yourself, you name it. You get into these highs of go-go-go and then you’re at a loss when you don’t have to be in that environment binging on everything you missed or feel that you have missed. Perhaps I’m not as smart as the rest of the lot but this is how this endless cycle of a year looked like for me.

While in the past five years, I had learned to breathe, to step away, to remove myself before I get sucked into that busy-ness. Actually, I was forced to learn it. I was a missionary living in different cultures that was driven by a different beat, a different pace of life. Between each assignment, I was given days to reflect and to think to allow myself the breathing room to exhale all that has just happened before I inhaled what was about to happen. Then, America happened. America is a go-getter country. There is a reason we stand out in the world and we’re called leaders in so many areas. We’re constantly competing, innovating and at the precipice of breakthrough of the next best thing…as we see it.

However, this…never…ends. If we don’t create margins for ourselves, we will continue to be defined by the demands of the world and what we put on ourselves rather than just be. There is a freedom to our being for ourselves and for everyone around us. Juliet Funt, CEO of Whitespace at Work says it this way, take a strategic pause between activities to remove what is unnecessary and to make time for strategy, innovation and vital reflection. In the midst of busy, when is our fun? We lose our joy when we give in the insatiable demands of never enough. But it is in those margins that we learn to think beyond what is seen.

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. Genesis 2:2