Over the years I’ve been in a intermittent tug-of-war between work and living life.
I want to be wise, mature and responsible with my work, career, business, and family while at the same time taking pleasure in my personal interests, hobbies, and ministry passions. But what does God value most? Sometimes it’s like a tractor pull contest inside of me. I think that’s one reason Psalm 90:17 caught my eye.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us–
yes, establish the work of our hands. Ps. 90:17
Then I noticed the Psalmist’s words a few verses before this in Psalm 90:14.
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love. Ps. 90:14I liked the thought behind this and in order to understand it better, I researched the meanings of the original Hebrew words. Based on the definitions I found in the Hebrew dictionary and lexicon, I jotted a JCW paraphrase of the verses into my journal. Here it is:
Lord, at the beginning of each day satisfy us (fill us up until we’ve had plenty) with your kindness, mercy, beauty and relief.
Establish, affirm and confirm (stabilizing us to stand erect, not bent over under a heavy burden)
the work (that which is within our boundaries to do, all that we manage and create–our business, deeds, as well as our art, even needlework)
of our unclenched hands (the intentions/goals we have that are in our personal power to implement.)
Oh. My. I sat speechless at what I learned. Really. It’s like God gave me permission to stand tall, set perimeters for my work and expect Him to confirm my daily endeavors as I came before Him with open hands trusting to receive. (And for a person who had often crawled through life under the heavy burden of work demands and “shoulds”, this was breath-giving!)
YOUR TURN: How about you? Do you ever have a tug-of-war between the demands of your work and the rest of your life?
“What changes are on your horizon?”asked a writing colleague in an email.
“How did she know?” I wondered. I am in the midst of change. Maybe it’s more evident than I imagine. If you interact with me on Facebook or Twitter, perhaps you’ve noticed that I didn’t post much for weeks. I haven’t written many blogs, either.
Several people have asked how I’m doing and what’s going on. (Two practical reasons for my absence include: 1) Getting new tech equipment/software and losing programs in the transfer. 2) AND for some reason, Facebook hid my posts for about 2 months. When I figured that out early on, I just stopped sharing. Then one day my posts inexplicably became un-hidden!)
Anyway…after responding to my writing colleague’s email, I shared my answer with a couple other friends. Each said, “Thanks for sharing, Joan. It’s helpful to know.” So at the risk of sounding confused, lazy, unmotivated or egotistical, I’ve decided to share my email response with you, my Blogger-Friends. Here goes:
Thanks for asking, Lynne. I am definitely in transition. It’s been brewing for about 8 months. I’m in a renovating, refining, restructuring stage. It stems back to something that God seemed to show me in October 2011 in answer to a question given to us at a Life Coaching conference I attended. This became my goal for 2012: To work less, reach more people, and love with abandon.
Now I’m 1/2 way through 2012 and am amazed at the lengthy preparation that’s been going on toward this goal. I think I’m entering into the actual season now. It is definitely a transition of loss, grief, messiness, gratitude and good. In the preparation, I’ve said yes to saying no–for now. “No” to new projects, books, editing jobs. (Although “Yes” to coaching and lifeplans for people.)
This is not an idle time. I plan to get hands-on help. I know I can’t continue to do what I believe God is asking me to do without team members. Also, I’m going to review all my files and materials (on the computer, hard copies, in books and online) to see what God has given me through the years and then figure out how to reorganize, live and offer my life purpose/mission/message: “To reflect God’s brilliance, make His message relevant and help release His people to freedom.” In the end, I think some of the re-offering might be online.
In addition, I’m renovating my health–at least the parts that are within my control to change. Included with all this, I desire to spend time journaling, reflecting, reading, praying, studying and listening. I’m grateful for the new equipment to help me do this. Still it is a learning curve for me. And I’m going to take some time to figure it out. (I realize it’s easy for some people, but hey, not so much for me!)
It’s interesting that during this time we’ve beenrenovating our house. Very tiring, hard work, even though we’ve had a general contractor. But it’s been a kind of “visual aid” for what is happening with my ministry and business. Navigating the changes is MESSY, inconvenient and unpredictable! Well-worth it, though!
Relief-blessings to you,
P.S. By the way, I bought Michael Hyatt’s Platformbook and package and I plan to “hire” him (by reading and watching his stuff!) as a guide during this renovation time. It’s ironic since I think one of the reasons I’m so “tired” is because of the social media/marketing BIGGER, BETTER, MORE, FASTER mentality. God does ironic things sometimes!!
YOUR TURN: So, now that I’ve shared a little about what’s happening with me, I’m curious: Are you in renovation-mode? WHAT CHANGES ARE ON YOUR HORIZON RIGHT NOW?
For years I believed I did not have much choice about who I should be or what I should do. I had the impression that to be a good Christian wife, I must go along with whatever happened around me and to me. Consequently, I didn’t think I had the right to make deliberate decisions about what I wanted to do or what I wanted to become. This misconstrued philosophy worked for me at first. But over the years my suppressed hurt, disappointment, frustration and anger—at not being able to be the person I thought God wanted me to be—resulted in total burnout.
I begged God for help and over the next few years, He assured me that I do have choices. In fact, I learned that He expects me to take responsibility for my own personal and spiritual development. That brought me relief, since I realized it meant I had the privilege of taking steps to make decisions that no one else can make for me.
I know I am not the only woman who has had difficulty believing she has choices.
Responding to Life’s Circumstances
There are at least three ways to respond to life’s circumstances:
I met other women who after realizing they had choices, moved ahead to become intentional. An intentional woman notices, feels the discomfort, questions, considers her choices, clarifies her options, gets support, and takes the next forward step.
You and I do have choices! That’s the relief-producing truth for today. And remember: The KEY reason for living intentionally is to glorify God as the person He designed you to be!
EXCITING NEWS! The Intentional Woman book that Carol Travilla and I wrote will be featured on Dr. Randy Carlson’s Intentional Living program on Family Life Radio today, Wednesday, June 13 and Saturday, June 16. PLEASE LISTEN & CALL IN at 12:00 Noon! WIN A FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPY of THE INTENTIONAL WOMAN. Listen to find out how!
I’m wondering today: How have the 5 steps of The Intentional Woman process helped you?
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.