I read a book on our plane ride to the states and back, Leading On Empty, by Wayne Cordeiro. I had been given two copies of this book. It was time to take note. My first impression was the book was about depression and I've never really struggled with depression - or at least wasn't at this time. I did, however, see alarming symptoms of burnout in my life. For those who have followed this spring with our family you will not be surprised.
I was surprised how much I loved the solitude of the last week in April. I had lots of time to think and pray and I didn't have to make any decisions. Renee asked us to consider what we are to arise to or arise from at one of our PWOC retreat sessions. God gave me specific directions. I knew I was to release the expectations of perfection that I continually struggle with and realize He was calling me to arise to faithfulness and fruitfulness.
It became apparent to me that I was in or fast approaching a crash and I needed to heed Wayne's advice to recharge, reflect and restructure the way I was living my life.
Here is ONE takeaway (and there are too many to share) and quote from this book - the 5% principle. "If you and I are going to enjoy healing and rest at our very core, we must discover and discern the top 5 percent of life." P 77. Wayne shares that 85% of what we do, anyone can do. Many of these tasks can be delegated. 10% of what we do someone with training should be able to do. But 5% of what I do, only I can do! I've lived this principle over the years. In fact, Cindy shares that I told her years ago, "I don't do what someone else in my house can do," and that has been a key of household chores in our home for decades..... When I read these words on the page they JUMPED into my heart. This was it.
For very good reasons, my 5% had gotten tangled up with a hundred other urgent tasks until I'd lost sight of it. I can't accomplish all that needs to be done. I won't be held accountable for all the needs around me. I will be held accountable for this 5% - for what I've accomplished of what HE has asked me to accomplish.
I've been evaluating my five percent. What are my 5% activities? What would a life focused on 5% look like? Do I truly elevate this 5% above the other 95% of my activities? The higher I elevate the importance of this 5 percent the easier it is for me to make choices that honor these God-given priorities. Another quote, "I can't hire someone else to take my place in any of these activities because they require that I be there! This 5 percent will determine the validity of the other 95 percent. This is what I had to discover and make the epicenter of my life." p 78.
Yep, recharge (began during my week of solitude), reflect (all vacation and continues), restructure (began in earnest the day after my last blog post).
Many of my 5% activities mirror Wayne's - and so I shamelessly borrow - but I'm tweaking and still reflecting.
- A whole-hearted, extravagant, lavish, passionate, intimate relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
- A vibrant, vital relationship with Michael
- An authentic family that is close to God and close to one another
- mentoring my children
- educating my children
- caring for my family
- as older children move on I must FIGHT for this connection to remain strong, not fatalistically assume we'll grow apart
- teaching and mentoring women
- inviting women to a deeper relationship with Jesus
- someday this may well include more missions/outreach/relief efforts
I discovered I was out of balance. I had quit investing the time needed for intimacy with Jesus, family, spouse, friends, women - due to the incredible ministry pace I was attempting. There are great needs in Japan. I love Japan. I want to meet the needs. I can't meet ALL the needs in Japan. I can only be faithful to what He directs me to do....
I don't believe there was anything wrong with me spending an exorbitant amount of time on relief efforts after the tsunami. I believe it was short term and understandable. I also know that one of my strengths is to initiate plans. I stood in the gap. At the time *I* needed to do it - now others can easily be trained to take over. I can't possibly keep the pace up long term. I was spending 40 - 60 hours a week on relief efforts...while still keeping up with my other outside the home ministry obligations. This time had to come from somewhere else...and it came from family, time to soak in His presence, and time to enjoy friends etc.
It was time to restructure when we got home to Japan. I apologized to the kids for the past couple of months. We affirmed the need and value in what we've done, but realized others can be trained to do what I am doing. No one else will mentor, educate and care for my children and husband as I'm called to do. I began to move into the spot only I can fill in the puzzle.
I met with two men I greatly respect. My spiritual authorities at the chapel. Ch. S, our wing chaplain and Ch G, my husband and deputy Wing Chaplain. I confessed I'm not the wonder woman I desire to be. I acknowledged my limitations. I shared I HAD to focus on family, and I had time to head up/lead women or relief - but couldn't do both. All agreed my 5%, at this time, includes mentoring women. Others can step into the mission/outreach/relief role I was in. We discussed what I've done and how things could be restructured. The chapel is looking for someone to take on that role. I have enjoyed it all....the kids and I will volunteer TOGETHER a sane number of hours...a number which will allow us to continue to make the character and educational progress we seek....as well as fulfill our other ministry obligations.
What does this mean? I made one last trip with kits down to Miyako in the role of organizer. We've delivered 212 kits. I'm still answering questions while the chapel looks for someone to step into the role. I am focusing on making up the lost school time from the past few months. We will school through the summer. I'm saying no to the condemnation which attempts to leap on my back....The door of opportunity for the gospel in Japan will NOT be lost if De'Etta G is not devoting 60 hours a week to Misawa's relief efforts. There ARE other parts of the body in Japan who can meet some of these needs. There ARE others in the Misawa Chapel community that can step into a role to organize efforts. No one else will step into MY God-ordained mommy wife role.
I've had time to relax, work on puzzles, read, mentor my children and encourage my husband in a variety of ways - rather than simply burning out as his helper at the chapel.
Living all of life before the face of God...