Preparing for re-entry…

So, this morning I will head back to work. There are 184 (no 187) emails waiting for my return.

I can feel the anxiety rising. After a week at home, I want to take some of the calm and order with me when I return… but how?

When I first took this job and people asked me how it was going, my ready answer was it was like being shot out of a cannon. Every. Damn. Day. Four years later, I still feel the explosion several times a week. This summer felt like I was being shot from a cannon… from an airplane. After months of falling, it felt so good to finally hit the ground. So, my commitment to myself is to figure out how to do this differently. There are many things I cannot change, but if I am honest the way I do it, the way I live on the inside of my life, can be part of the problem.

There are deadlines to meet and schedules to keep, but those aren’t the main issue. I’ve never once had a supervisor ask me to do more or push harder. The pressure comes from inside for me. This is the element I must get ahold of… no one else can give me permission to take a more measured approach. I have to learn to do this myself. So I’m making some commitments to myself.

Boundaries with my time: I get paid for 37.5 hours but I often work 50 sometimes 60. So, I commit to going home by 5:30. Every day. That is all.

Sanity with my calendar: I cannot be in meetings everyday from 9-4 and then get the work done, there just isn’t enough time in the day. So, I commit to saying no to the serial meeting schedule and prioritizing my time to bring sanity and some order to my days.

Avoiding negativity: Folks are folks and they either drain me or help to keep me afloat. I need to choose wisely who has access to my ears and heart.

Learning enough: One of my contributions to this mess is my lack of ability to recognize enough. I am habitually unsure of whether I’ve worked hard enough, long enough, or smart enough. I think at the core, this is a question of whether I am enough (but that is a thought for a different day).

So, I am heading back into the fray this morning with a plan to shape a life at work that feels more sustainable. I love my work, but I am certain that this pace and this level of stress should not be sustained for long. If I really care about this work, I need to add some white space so that I can continue. There are some things I am thinking about…

Margin: In order to handle the challenges and pace of this work, I need to build in some space for the unexpected, or the immediate concern. I don’t want to give up the forward momentum and just put out fires all day. There must be a way for me to carve out time to learn, grow, and think deeply here as well as work, care for, and develop others.

Failure: “Succeed or die trying.” isn’t actually a sane motto, maybe I should find a more moderate approach. Walking through a season of failure has provided some perspective that maybe it’s okay to risk and fall short, maybe it’s necessary for growth.

Humility: Although I often feel like it is all up to me (and honestly, it doesn’t matter what IT is), maybe I could come at this not as the center of the universe, but just as a person in the midst of the swirl. I don’t really think I need to have all the answers, but I act as though I do. Maybe I could live as though there is a God in Heaven, and I am not it.

I don’t think this will be a miraculous recovery of order and sanity, but I do believe I am responsible for some of this craziness. This work matters and I came to it with a huge question mark hanging over my head, not really sure I knew what I was doing. Four years in, I am more confident in my ability to do this work, recognizing how all of the things I have done before actually prepared me for this season. Grace has taught me to trust His provision and experience has proven Him faithful. It is one thing to step out of the boat and know that He is faithful, it is a whole other thing to dance with Him on the waves. So, I will step back into the fray knowing that He is able to both address the storm outside and the one within.

31days

This is part of a 31 day writing challenge. If you are interested in following along, you can find the rest of the series here. Thank you for stopping by!

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