How I Realized I Needed To Do More Than Clear My Plate

The journey to get where I am has taken about two years. A couple of really big things happened around the same time:   We changed schools for our three children (three new schools) because they needed a different educational environment.  A summer job that I had for 15 years came to a close.  By changing schools, I lost a support system that felt almost like a family.  The job situation was harder that I originally thought it would be.  It was hard to tell people that I was just a “mom” or that I was a blogger (who didn’t blog regularly).  I meandered along aimlessly trying to figure out my new normal.  Some days I felt like the Israelites who wandered in the desert for many years.  To say my plate was full was obvious.

The summer before the school year, I intentionally took things off my plate. I didn’t sign up for certain things and tried to limit other commitments, so I would not overfill my plate.  This was a good move on my part but not one that I usually do.  I tend to pile more on my plate than necessary.  I am a “do-er” not a “be-er.”

Several months into this new family schedule I felt like something was missing. I questioned whether I had removed too much from my schedule.  Did I miscalculate what I could do?  Surprisingly, I found I did not want to go back to some activities that I previously offloaded.  I decided they were good for a season but not the current one I was living.  To paraphrase:  something for a reason, something for a season, or something for a lifetime.  Peace settled over me as I closed that door.

I noticed, however, that a note of restlessness remained.  That restlessness was pervasive just lingering over the last summer.  I thought, mediated, sought Godly counsel and prayed. It remained for several months. I reverted to my pattern of “busyness” to fill the gap.  I Along this busy path, I stared listening to some books on audio as I drove my children to their new schools.  I kept going back to the writing:  I missed writing.  I have taken several months of writing for this blog and years from writing my book. It was never the right time.  At the time I started the blog five years ago, I had a clear vision about what I wanted to write. That has changed radically based on my personal and parenting experiences.  I doubt myself and wondered what I would have to say to anyone.  Why would anyone want to listen to someone who struggled and whose children struggled so much?  I felt like I have no answers.

A social media post and a single internet search provided a jumpstart to the blog and the books.  As cheesy as it sounds, I rediscovered my passion.  A writing coach challenged me to write an outline for a book. I dusted it off and updated an idea that I came up with years ago.  It still feels like a story that I want to tell.   I had a harder time with the blog.  I no longer want to get up in front of people to speak.  I love talking but my struggles are still too tender to share in public.  They still feel raw.  So, the blog is taking on a new vibe over the next few months.  I have a general direction and some guidelines, but they are not set in stone.  The next few months I plan to hone it.

So, I am circling back around to my title.  I realize now when I cleared my plate last year that I left a void.  It wasn’t intentional; it was something that never occurred to me.  I simply had no ideas of what to do with my free time.  I wasn’t sure that I would have much free time.  I realized over the last few months that clearing your plate is a great thing but sometimes other thing creep onto your plate if you are not intentional.  My metaphor is an alcoholic who decides to stop drinking.  The lack of focus on alcohol leaves a void.  That void can be filled with good or not good.  That’s why I think addiction programs have their members work on themselves – sometimes a 12-step program or something similar. Mindfulness and intentionality are the two new buzzwords in my planner and brain.

As always, thanks for joining me on this journey!

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