Authors note: Obviously, I am still struggling to take my own advice. I originally wrote this over a year ago and am just now getting time to post it. Note to self…need more time balance!
Lately, my life is consumed with the plague of the white rabbit. Meaning, I am pretty much always shouting, “I’m late. I’m late. For a very important date.” Or task. Or deadline.
No matter how fast I move; how many things I cross off my task list; no matter how late I go to bed and how early I get up, it seems there is always more that needs to be done.
When did our lives get so hectic? You would think with an overabundance of technology and time saving tools and appliances at our very fingertips, we would have time to lay around basking in a life of relaxing, memorable moments of leisure. Instead, as I talk with other women (and men), no matter their age or occupation, what I perceive instead is that we are stuck in a black rabbit hole of time and someone above ground (and it just might be us), keeps shoveling more and more in on top of us.
So, why do we allow ourselves to stay in the hole? What is the cure for the white rabbit plague?
Our life is meant to have balance. A system of withdrawals and deposits, so to speak. This check and balance mentality allows us to freely give and share with others. And hopefully occasionally we accept a deposit or two. A credit to our account of love, encouragement and rest. This then allows us to keep going.
Just like a financial checkbook must balance at the end of the month, so too must our life time-bank stay in the black. If we allow ourselves to become “overdrawn” (live in the red), then we open the door to sickness, stress and bitterness.
For me personally, I find myself staying in the rabbit hole way to often because I don’t want to disappoint people around me. I don’t want to let them down. I mis-perceive their expectations and say, “yes”, when I should be saying, “thanks for asking – but I can’t do that right now. No.”
No! Two little letters that put together have become such a negative noose around the neck of today’s society.
When I have the guts to say, “no”, to a requested task, I think others will feel I am being selfish, when in fact I know that deep inside saying “yes” will severely overdraw my, artistic, emotional, physical, and spiritual bank account.
How do we determine when it’s okay to say no and when we can say yes? When I get a request to do something, I try to follow these steps of consideration.
- Pray about it. Just because it’s a good idea, doesn’t mean it’s God’s idea (quote from Pastor Jim). There are many great tasks and needs that we can commit to, but is it the right time or task for us at this moment?
- Envision yourself doing the task. Visualize yourself preparing and completing the task. When you see yourself saying yes, are you feeling a sense of calm and peace or stress and dread? Feeling peace – say yes. Feeling dread – say no.
- Be realistic. We all have the same number of hours and minutes in a day. What we do with those 1440 minutes is what really matters and only we can control it. If you say yes – will something else need to go to fit this task in your life? What are you willing to sacrifice?
- Evaluate your motive. Ask yourself, am I doing this to positively benefit myself and others? Or is there a hidden agenda? Is my heart true and sincere or am I saying yes to bring glory only to myself?
- Don’t do it just because no one else will. A program, event or task should have value and if no one else sees value enough to help – it will be a loosing cause and you will risk major burnout. Still interested but can’t decide. Consider asking someone to tackle the task as your partner.
Now, I am not suggesting that we close the door of our life to serving and helping others; rather I am strongly advising us that to be able to graciously serve, we need take time to evaluate our time bank, so we can keep our life in balance. Balance keeps us healthy, happy and stress-free. This relates to all aspects of our life. The whole package. Emotionally, spiritually, artistically, and physically.
Maybe, just maybe, we need less Facebook time and more face-to-face time with those around us who need us to be present, listen and love.
Maybe, just maybe, we need to set aside time each day to pray and meditate so that we can be emotionally and spiritually ready for whatever life throws at us.
Maybe, just maybe, we need to pour ourselves another cup of coffee, sit on the patio in the sun and watch the white rabbit run by without feeling the urge to join him in his crazy, dark, time-plagued hole. Making a Hygge moment of opportunity. (don’t know what that is? Google it)
This is my challenge to you today!
- Do a life check on your time bank account.
- Eliminate withdrawals that are not helping improve your bottom line.
- Establish healthy boundaries that allow you to crawl up out of the hole and enjoy life to the fullest. A time budget!
In closing, here is my prescription if you are already suffering from the plague of the White Rabbit.
- Laugh like the mad hatter!
- Be willing to try new things like Alice!
- Dare to be different like the Cheshire Cat!
- Surround yourself with people who will love and support you like Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum!
- And, if you do have a white rabbit moment, at least dress sharp and carry a gold pocket watch!