Friday, May 27, 2011

Restructuring My Life....Again.

{Please note I've made a conscious choice to live my life authentically before you. If it bothers you to read this from a Pastor's wife, I suggest you not read.  Please know my struggles result from MY choices and no pressure at all from chapel leadership or my husband. I simply think I can be all and do all....I like challenges and accept far too many. ::snort:: We have an amazingly supportive chapel family and they hold no blame for my tendencies to over-commit. My continual quest to embrace excellence and denounce perfectionism is not the fault of my church, my parents, my husband, my upbringing, I think it's my personality.}

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.

  1. A whole-hearted, extravagant, lavish, passionate, intimate relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
  2. A vibrant, vital  relationship with Michael
  3. 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
  4. A physically healthy body and creative soul
  5. Taking time to enjoy family and friends
  6. A God-pleasing ministry (and within that what is my 5%)
    • 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 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. 

Choosing Joy!
©2011 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...


Jennifer said...

This is SO powerful, and something *I* really needed to hear. I've lost focus on my 5% for an embarrassingly long time. I'm going to take steps to correct it! Thank you for posting this!

Linda said...

Great post! I've heard Wayne Cordeira preach via video before. Commenting on other posts which I read all at once: Hope everyone is better soon. The garden looks great as do the veggies at the Farmer's Market.

Kim said...

A very interesting and thought provoking post, De'Etta. Sounds like an important book for me too. Remodelin this house has been 2 months of Mama? Wife? Friend? No time for any of it, and I feel the loss probably more than they do. We are coming to the point where we can live here and work at a more realistic pace...I hope!

The HomeScholar said...

Thank you so much for sharing, De'Etta!

Sarah said...

De'Etta, I really appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts and wisdom. I hadn't heard of the 5% concept before, but I have felt many times over the past few years that I need to carefully choose only the best/most important things to spend my time on, and just because something is a good thing to do does not mean I should be doing it.
I have a new blog and I would love to have you come by and visit. Paula's blog isn't going away, but this one is more focused on homeschooling.

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Thanks all, I'm humbled and a bit relieved that I'm not the only one to deal with these issues.

Sarah - are you Paula? I need to go check your blog and see if it comes clear to me. LOL

Sarah said...

Yes I am :-) When I originally started blogging, I wasn't sure how to balance privacy and sharing, so I made up a pseudonym (the real Paula was the midwife who delivered my 3rd child, and I was feeling incredibly grateful to her!) But when I started a new blog, I really wanted to use my own name and decided Sarah was generic enough to not matter. My other blog is a Large Room.

Romany said...

Sounds like you've come to some good decisions, DeEtta. Reflection is always helpful.

I've taken up blogging again and recently wrote about 'doing things in bursts'. At this point in my life, it's necessary to accept this is the bast way for me to live.

Like you, one of my gifts is vision/initiating ideas which others can continue and develop. That's a pioneering spirit. I don't see anything wrong with that. Someone has to do it! LOL!

Cynthia said...

This has been a year of pulling back for me as well. I'm gearing up for a very busy fall and senior year though doing things for Em's last year of high school. Thankfully, I recognized this time around that I need to cut out many other areas to make her last year my main focus this coming year!

As soon as I read the first part of your blog post, I was going to say wait a minute.. you've known this forever.. you taught me this some 20 years ago (LOL)!

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Dorothy - yes, it's about learning our strengths. Relationships and initiating are big for me....but when I DO start something, and organize it doesn't mean I can necessarily add it to the plate and carry it on as a "forever" project/ministry...where it begins to have long term effect on the investment I can make to my top 5%. It's been a good thing for me to evaluate.

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Thank you, Paula/Sarah. I will visit both blogs and be happy that I now know who you really, really are. LOL

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Cindy - I was going to ask if Em graduated this year or next.

Yes, I KNEW this forever and had implemented it in our home...hadn't evaluated ministry outside the home in the same light.

Though I had in some sense as I'm big on mentoring and training and always try to have a group around who is working me out of my job.....

I think the huge needs brought on by the tsunami caused to forget - and I got really out of kilter quickly. It was fine for a time, but I was so burned out I really couldn't even figure out what was going on. LOL Evidently, Michael (and another dear friend or two) had planned an intervention on vacation but the Holy Spirit took care of it for them.

Donna said...

Thank you for introducing this book to me. God is stirring these same issues in my heart lately.