Set It Down

Woman-at-the-Well

John 4:28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

The story of the woman at the well is found in John 4. Read it, it’s a great story of redemption and hope. It’s the first message I ever preached and this beautiful painting depicting this story hangs in my room. I relate to her as a woman who had lost faith in things and was just going along. Perhaps you do too.

So a very simple post today and a few very complex questions for your consideration.

When the woman at the well discovered that the natural water pot, and the natural well, would never quench her spiritual  thirst,  or deep down longing for something more than water in dry place, she quickly traded the water pot, her lifeline, for the security of what was being offered, a chance to have her needs met. Maybe because she had nothing to lose, maybe because she had daddy issues, whatever the case, she set it down and decided to trust her gut.

What are you holding onto just in case this Jesus thing doesn’t work? What would it take for you to put it down?

A job?

Money?

A mindset?

A relationship?

A selfish ambition?

Remember, for her, that water pot represented her life. In the desert you need water or you die. What represents life to you?

The Can’t Get It Together Dads

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Scare a woman and she will attack. ~ Oprah Winfrey

Listening to an interview with Cindy Crawford she talked about life after her parent’s divorce and how it shaped her adult life. She said her father would come by their home once a week to drop off his child support except when he was mad at her mother. Then he would punish his family by not providing support for that week which created a scenario where they were short on groceries. She said that the effect on her as a child created an inner vow in which she said she would never depend on a man for finances. That vow created a problem in her marriage where her husband wanted to take care of her but she could not allow it. She had to reconcile this vow within her to reasonable conclusion.

Scare a woman and she will attack. 

My cousin recently posted on Facebook that her husband took their daughter’s high school graduation program to the court the following week to cut his child support, even though their daughter received great grades and was going to college. Basically he let his daughter know he was not going to be responsible for her education and that he had been biding his time. The immediate ramifications are rejection, hurt, and disappointment to a young adult whom this man has donated sperm to, but not fathered. Abuse in any form is intolerable.

Scare a woman and she will attack. 

I know a man, who refused to pay his full child support. He would tell his ex wife, “you’ll get what you get”. Their custody arrangement was one in which he was to pay for half of the medical but he would call her cussing and yelling at her every time she took their children to the doctor and would tell her he would  not F&**%$#  pay for it. What was she doing wrong that made them sick. When his daughter needed braces his reply was, his teeth were straight so it obviously was the mother’s DNA that created the problem so she could pay for it. College? Forget it. He paid partial payments of his inadequate support to coincide with their 18th birthday. Visitation was random to say the least. Yet to hear it be told he was misunderstood. Fortunately for this little family of three, another man came in and picked up the tab and they were saved from the statistic that besets women of falling into poverty.

Scare a woman and she will attack. 

In all of these cases the children were abused. I call it abuse because not caring whether your children have enough food, clothing, shelter, medical attention, education, and above all love is abuse. I could quote scripture but a get it together dad is unbeliever because love would have led them to a different conclusion.

The results of this type of behavior have long lasting effects. Children live their lives always looking over their shoulders not sure if they will be taken care of or not because security is what both their parents should have given. They can’t fully trust in a relationship because at any moment that person may walk and they will be left holding the bag of responsibility. I’m sorry doesn’t make up for the years of abuse poured on by the can’t get it together dad.

Scare a woman and she will attack. 

Sadly though she attacks the wrong man.

The Object Of My Affection

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In  a Human Sexuality class that I took in college we studied the topic of public displays of affection, or PDA. We determined to shelf what Western Civilization deems as normal, holding hands, a kiss. We discussed the topic of making out, grabbing each other’s butts or breasts, or grinding on the dance floor. What did it say about a person? How did it make those around them feel? What was the meaning behind it?

The discussion went along the vein of it makes others feel uncomfortable when a couple is groping at each other. Until that discussion I had never really thought about what it meant. Yes, it can be uncomfortable and very inappropriate to view someone’s private life on display in public but was there a meaning there?  Then the professor brought up a thought process that I had never considered. He proposed that the groping of each other in public is actually not for the sexual pleasure of the couple but rather a branding or peeing on territory. In other words, grabbing your girlfriend’s butt in public let’s everyone know he/she is your property. Grabbing her breast in public shows everyone what little respect you have for her and what little respect she has for herself. She becomes a willing object rather than a human being. Interestingly, along comes a study in 2010 by the University of Virginia called the  National Marriage Project, it showed that couples who engage in PDA are 1.5 times more likely to end in divorce. Why?  PDA is more about performing and looking good for others than putting the needs of your partner first.

Then there was the topic of hickeys. Sucking on someone’s neck until you bruise them. Interestingly if you bruise a woman or a child you could be charged with abuse, but bruising a neck has no such connotation until you think about it. What does it speak to the world about you? It plainly says that you are intimate. For a married couple that should be a given, for a single couple that says what? It also brands you as property. One male classmate actually shared that he gave hickeys as a sign to his friends that he had gotten somewhere with that girl. Interestingly, the guys in our class thought it was trashy for a women to have hickeys, but didn’t mind giving them. So they were saying in essence that they would devalue a woman if she devalued herself. I will never forget that discussion.

Ladies, we aren’t cows that need to be branded as someone’s property. I don’t need to make out  in public with my husband to prove our intimacy with each other. Time will prove if what we have between us is real or fake.

Have you ever thought about what it says to the world when you show up to work, school, church, or a friend’s house with a hickey? It means you are someone’s object. I am not some thing. I am someone. I am a daughter of a King. I am not one who considers that a small insignificant matter. I am not defined by any man’s perspective of me. I’ve been defined already.  I don’t know, I think we’ve fought too hard to get to where we are to cheapen ourselves and let the world know that we don’t consider ourselves much.

Balancing the Overachiever 3

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If you missed the last installment click here so it will all make sense.

Let’s get down to brass tacks and let me show you what I did. Hopefully it will give you some ideas to balance out your work and home life.

Here are the guidelines I came up with for balancing my work schedule. I hope they can help you:

1. Figure out what your job description requires of you and then meet the needs based on what you can realistically do as one person. Have an honest discussion with your boss of what you can and cannot do. It may be that another person is needed to help you complete all the tasks before you. Delegate out what you can’t finish and quit saying yes to everything that comes your way. When my boss comes to me and says he needs three extra things done that week, I assess realistically if it can happen or not. Sometimes, I have to say I can’t fit it in. Guess what? He finds someone else who can. It doesn’t fall, we aren’t the only arms, even though we may think it can’t get done without us, it can! Trust your delegates. If they drop the ball, learn the lesson, move on. More often than not they will give you way more than you expected. It won’t be done as you would do it exactly, but it will be done.

Here are my job duties:

administration, counseling, women’s ministry, writing, oversee several departments, bible studies, mentoring.

2. Figure out how to divide your time and while maybe not giving everything it’s proper due, finding a balance and delegating the rest. In other words, for my workplace,  administration is a 40 hour week. I give 24 hours of my time and I delegate 10. It still lacks hours but until we can afford to hire someone full time it is what it is.

Counseling I can give 6 hours to. It limits the number of clients I can take in but I am more effective to it and I determined not to do long term counseling, I refer out anything that requires more than I can give out of fairness to the client.

Women’s ministry, bible study I give 10 hours to. Writing I give 10 hours to. Overseeing and mentoring I give an additional 10 hours to once a month. So one week a month I work 60 hours instead of 50 average.

3. Set clear hours for your work. I work in the office two and a half days per week. I do nothing but administrating church work, whatever that entails, and one full day dedicated to paperwork alone, no interruptions. By focusing and not multi-tasking I am able to get a lot more accomplished. Remember the adage;

Winners focus – Losers spray

Focus on the task for the day. Most things that are urgent really aren’t important. Recognize the difference and work from there. Trust your gut and don’t be afraid.

The shackles of overachievement were never intended for you. You are to enjoy your life. It’s the only one you have. Work with all of your heart while you are at work. Then shut it down, ignore the phone, and play with your family with all of your heart. You’ll live with a lot less regret.

Balancing The Overachiever 2

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If you’re just tuning in please go back and catch the first installment here.

Last year, those who have hung with me that long, saw that I really began to put balance into play. I’d slip up, but then I’d get back on track again and really try to balance it out. It felt foreign. It felt slothful. It didn’t fit. My husband smiled more, but I had an inward battle to fight, just like anyone addicted to anything. I’d wake up in the middle of the night thinking of all the things I had to do. I’d sneak downstairs with my computer and get emails written and things done before I could be discovered. There were nights, or mornings, when my husband would startle me, sneaking downstairs and standing behind me and saying, “What on earth are you doing?” It was work to kick the habit of habitually working.

Then I figured it out and I put a business plan together for balance. Sound crazy? Maybe, but if you’re an overachiever the goal you set is always in your mind and you will not only meet it, you will supersede it, because that is who you are and what you are good at. I have to tell you that at this writing I’ve met my goals! I work so hard at balancing that my husband laughs at me while enjoying me more. It can be done.

I work an average of 50 hours per week 3 out of 4.3 weeks, keep reading before you scoff. The last week I add an additional 8 hours of work. It totally works for me and I have been able to cut about 12-15 hours out of my work week. Next year my goal is cut an additional 5 hours from my week, but for now, I am really happy with the results because I take two additional days off a month now, okay let me tell the truth, I try to take two additional days off per month reducing my work hours for the month by 16 hours total. I go and visit my mother, who lives 2.5 hours away once a month. That never happened before because I was always too busy. My mother would say, “Aye, mija, you’re always working.”  I don’t feel guilty if I get a migraine or the flu and have to come home to take care of my body. I don’t try to muscle through it. I’ve decided I’m not that tough and I’m worth taking care of. I also have one day a month that I call the recharge day. Nothing gets done that day. I stay in pajamas all day. It’s heaven on earth actually. In next post we’ll break it down to brass tacks on how to rework your life plan.

Balancing the Overachiever

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If you’re like me you have spent far too many years working far too many hours. The accomplishments, the accolades, and the personal satisfaction have been big ego boosters and a driving force to keep you going but at some point, you may have, or will eventually, discover that it came with a big fat price tag.

Time is all that you have.

We become slaves to the things that drive us, and that’s counterintuitive to the very nature of our being- freedom. So how do you balance your work and your life because for some of us, maybe most of us in America, we measure our lives in terms of our work. What we do is who we are and we forget that we are human beings and not human doings. At some point in an overachiever’s life it no longer becomes about the money but the work.

There is a difference between an overachiever and a hoarder. For those whose love of money outweighs their love of anything else, they become slaves to their balance statement. For the overachiever there is a drive within them that says to them every step of the way, “there’s one more step before it’s really finished”. The problem is there is always one more step and one more step and time slips by quickly. We bring death closer to our doorstep by the mere stress it causes to be so driven. So at the end of your life what do you want your life to say about you?

No one is so powerful that they can stop the march of time. ~ St. Marher

A couple of years ago you saw me begin to write about balance, or maybe I’m kidding myself and it’s been way more than a couple of years ago. I began to see the toll on my life and the fact that the fun things I had wanted to do with my life kept getting shelved for the things I felt were more important. Family time was basically when I could fit it into my schedule. My husband kept saying he wanted to spend time with me. People find this crazy because we work together but we don’t really see each other during the course of our day. I ate dinner standing up long after everyone was finished, or worse I’d rush dinner so I could go back to work. It wasn’t working. For now, I’m out of time with you today so let’s pick this back up next time and I’ll show how I worked my plan and how it’s working out. Not perfected yet, but how does cutting 10-15 hours of your work week sound at this point? Impossible? Maybe not. It’s all in what you want your life to say about you.

I Want To Be Taken Seriously

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If you want to be taken seriously you have to show up – on time – be prepared – and do the work. ~ Cindy Crawford

Late AGAIN?

Unprepared?

You’re tired and don’t want to be there?

Psychologists believe that being late is a symptom of other factors such as, trouble with self control which manifests itself in being late, overeating, drinking, impulse shopping. I think this is the biggest hinderance to being taken seriously. For me, it’s pretty simple, when I care more about your time than you care about mine, I can pretty much guarantee you that the activity I have planned with you will go away. I’ll fill your time slot. It’s a necessary ending for me. The delay of even 10 minutes will then cause a domino effect in my life where that could mean the difference between being able to take a lunch or not, or leaving late from work. It means nothing to the person being late but I don’t have time for it. Why am such a stickler? You are wasting the most important commodity I as a person have on this planet: TIME. You wouldn’t invest your money in a losing proposition so why would  I waste my time?

The consequences of being chronically late run deeper than many people realize, according to psychologist Linda Sapadin, PhD, author of Master Your Fears. “You’re creating a reputation for yourself, and it’s not the best reputation to be establishing. People feel they can’t trust you or rely on you, so it impacts relationships. It also impacts self-esteem.”

Being prepared is a big one to being taken seriously. If you show up to a meeting and think you are going to wing it, it’s going to waste everyone’s time. What is the purpose of the meeting? What are your responsibilities? In the church where I serve, we are required to be there 30 minutes before class if we are leading that class. The practice was put into play in case a student comes to class with a question or to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise.

There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation – veneer isn’t worth anything. ~ George Washington Carver

Finally, be ready do the work if you want to be taken seriously. I’ve seen people passed up for promotion simply because they didn’t take the work seriously, they were good at what they did -when they did it. So often we think our employer needs us, our spouse won’t leave us, our friends can’t live without us. In each of these circumstances it takes work to maintain these relationships. Don’t be lazy. Do the work and do it to the best of your ability.

If you’re not willing to work hard, let someone else do it. I’d rather be with someone who does a horrible job, but gives 110% than with someone who does a good job and gives 60%. ~ Will Smith