I am consistently taken back to the verses in Ecclesiastes 3:1
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
There is a season for everything under the sun.
I went from being a complete workaholic in 1999 to finding God and spending the next 11 or 12 years re-designing my life and healing from the most incredible burnout you can imagine. I wrote about my decade of burnout and recovery here.
Moving Past Burnout
It has been about a year since I felt the cloud of burnout move over the horizon. During this year God has done incredible things in my business. We have grown and doubled twice in the same year.
My solo act has now become a trio, with the fourth on the way.
Yet, in this moment…..
in this season…..
we are incredibly busy.
Margin and Balance are Thin
After a decade writing about margin and balance, I feel un-balanced and margin-less. I don’t think it is God’s plan for me to go back to my old ways.
As a matter of fact, it is shameful for me to think that someone may drive by my office and see my car at 7 am and then possibly see it again at 7 pm. I find myself making excuses that I am not back to my old life. This is temporary. I don’t like it this time around. But I don’t think people (family and friends) believe me.
But the truth is that the reason to ensure that this busy-ness doesn’t continue is not so I can go home and veg out in front of the tv or take up 5 new hobbies.
The Reason To Reclaim Margin and Balance
For me, the reason to maintain balance and margin is to give me the space to follow God.
I can’t follow if my time is so backed up that there isn’t room to
…create for Him
…volunteer for Him
…take another path He may be leading.
When I am completely busy I feel like my freedom to choose is diminished significantly.
So what am I doing about it?
Acknowledging the Blessing
Well I will be honest. As much as I know this is a tight space to be in for this season, I do feel blessed. I feel that the business we have received is a gift from God. I feel that it is here for a purpose.
God gave me the vision for my business. I wanted to have a coaching and counseling center since the beginning of my new path. I was just a coaching and counseling center of one for the majority of it so far!
Since I have regained my energy I believe there are a few reasons God has placed me here:
- to allow us the honor of helping more people and businesses.
- to show me how my clients feel when they are overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time or resources to do it. ( the only way to gain true empathy.)
- to see if I am going to fall into the same patterns I did for decades before He saved me. (I don’t consider it a test because I believe He knows I will choose a different path this time.)
Even though it bothers me that people are thinking I am failing at my own advice for margin and balance, I answer to Him and to Him I am ensured it is a season.
A short season.
How I am Dealing with too much Busy-ness
Here is what I am doing differently than maybe I would have in the past.
- Spending at least 30% of my time working “on my business”. If we don’t work “on our business” we will stay in our current situation until we implode. Even though we are crazy busy, even if I have to work more, I will make sure I am spending the time to plan out what we need. Simultaneously, we need to focus on what is most important in the business and look for ways to serve the people God brings to us in a glorifying way.
- Building the team that matches the culture that God has placed on my heart for Crossroads. And believe me, it takes time to find people that are God-loving Jesus freaks, who are genuine down to earth people, who know business like an expert guru in broad areas of expertise. I am sure it is how God felt in 2 Chron 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars. It’s difficult to find people who match the culture as well as have the experience. Oh and I don’t want to forget the philosophy that whenever you add someone to your team you have to make sure it is someone that you, and your team, want to spend 8 hours a day working next to. Right now we have another coach on the way….in June we will be four. Read my prior post on building a team.
- Putting systems in place that will make us more efficient. It is much easier to put the infrastructure in place when you are small. When I was alone, having systems were sometimes inefficient and costly. I didn’t need a system that four people could log onto for $40/month. But now we are on the cusp of that next level, and we need the systems in place so that we don’t become our own glass ceiling. We are currently working on time tracking systems, online quote systems, project management and many more. The most important to me personally is to stay paperless. If not, everyone else will have to suffer with my stacks of paper everywhere. I am a mess!
- Being purposeful about catching up quickly to the needs of the business. This is the more personal of the actions. I was a workaholic before. Seriously. I could have stood up and been the leader at any workaholic anonymous meeting. Not being purposeful means embracing all of the extra work and letting it expand to fill up the space. Getting your purpose from the actual busy-ness, rather than the results of seeing clients achieve their goals. I am not doing that this time. I am focusing on getting our teams and systems in place to ensure our clients are taken care of now, and in the future. I am purposeful about the time spent to make this happen and maintaining constraints around myself to not just expand my work to all of life.
I had a mentor once that said “You can do anything for a set period of time. If you see the light at the end of the tunnel, then you can endure the discomfort for longer than you think.”
Unfortunately, this same quote is what led to my burnout to begin with.
That was my fault though.
I didn’t understand it. I just took the idea as justification to keep killing myself. I never set the time.
I am not doing that this time. I have a time in mind. I believe that before summer’s end things will be different.
The team will be in place.
I will be writing a lot more. (My passion.)
Clients will be reaching their goals.
We will have the space to follow God into the next season.
How about you? Are you too busy right now? How long have you felt this way? Do you see a light at the end of the tunnel? How can we help?
David Rupert says
A marvelous post. I loved that you admitted to being an expert on margin, and yet struggling so much with it.
For me, I am very busy. But I’m busy with the things that create whitespace in my mind and heart. That doesnt mean I do nothing, but they feed the important parts of my soul.
Keep on sister!
These posts can be difficult to write, but I get more from people who share the good and the bad, the opportunities and the struggle. I want to help others so it is only right to ‘fess up!
Chris Patton says
Great post, Sue! I need to heed this as well. Thanks for sharing and being transparent.
Lillian Anice Raby/Flanagan Delapasse says
INSPIRATIONAL, to say the least. Personally, I have been doing this exact same thing for the past 4 years, actually since Hurricanes Katrina/Rita/Gustav/Ike slowing ‘evolving’, if you will, to this place of Peace/Light/Love/Freedom in Christ.
I AM so much more of the person/purpose God planned for me to be….and it is freeing, at peace feeling never felt before in my almost 61 years. Amen. Thank you so very much for being forthcoming and ‘vulnerable’ in your writing this and expressing yourself so openly. God bless you & yours and may blessing flow down upon you like gentle rain to nourish your mind/body/soul. Love & prayers your way, Anice <3
When you were talking about being more efficient, I remember the old days, when we planned to organize stuffs and to streamline the complete process. We used Basecamp for project management and Replicon for time tracking.
Joshua B says
Thanks for the post.
My name is Joshua and I am about to begin my MBA program at California Baptist University in Riverside, CA. The Lord has also called for me to obtain a Diploma in Biblical Studies at The Rock Bible College in San Bernardino. The reason I say this is because I felt at times that the workload would be strenuous and the expectations won’t be meant. But God is so good.
I am reminded as I read through your transparency, that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me”. He is helping you and blessing me to see that their are like-minded believers out here that can have a workload and an INTIMATE relationship with Jesus Christ (see Matt 7:23) at the same time.
Keep it up and get ready for a season of gathering stones and embracing His prosperity (Ecc. 3:5). Stay blessed and remember to Armor Up!