Have you ever felt like you were in a gray fog, unsure where to go? Me too. Often times I feel like I live there, in the space I affectionately call “Ambiguity Land”. Just when I thought I was getting used to the not-knowing part of life, things got worse. Over the past month, I have become more confused, more lost than normal, as if someone took me to the middle of the woods, spun me around 17 times and left me there in unfamiliar territory. The gray haze before me has become even thicker and I’ve been scared to move for fear of bumping into a tree or tripping over a root or rock; I’ve felt stuck.
God, what are you saying to me?
This is my current prayer. I am asking for clarity and peace for my weary mind and heart. I’m asking him to silence the worries and fears I unwittingly allowed to take control in my weariness. The amazing thing is, in spite of the disheveled state of my heart and mind, God is speaking. Even in the chaos and confusion, God can and does speak.
It’s easy to be ruled by the urgent. It’s much harder to take a moment and step back to gain the perspective to see how to actually solve the problem, but that’s what’s necessary. Without perspective, it’s more difficult to be effective. With perspective, with a birds-eye view, you can create a list of priorities. By stepping back and taking a breath, you can see exactly what you need to do and when.
I’m learning that priorities and boundaries go hand in hand. If you don’t have boundaries you don’t have to prioritize. Once you decide to set and follow through with the keeping of your boundaries, you realize just how finite your time and capacity are, causing you to take a long, hard look at all you’re doing. The setting of boundaries allows you to select what is the most important to you and helps you to say “no” to those other things that matter less.
I believe that when you take the time to define your boundaries and assess your priorities, you give yourself the freedom to be the genuine you. When you’re haphazardly going from idea to idea or problem to problem, it’s easy to lose yourself. In the busyness of life, it’s easy to become someone other than the real you.
It’s so easy for me to fall into the pattern of busyness, distracting me from being myself and sending me spiraling out of control. Last week I had to pause and take a look at my life; my car, my living spaces, my workspaces, my appearance, my spending, my time management, my eating, my exercising and my sleep patterns were all out of control. When I allowed my time boundaries to be worn down, all the other areas of my life followed suit.
Now I am slowly, piece by piece, redefining priorities in my life.
My health is a priority so I must excise frequently and consume things that will nourish me.
My creativity is important to me so I will maintain a clean environment, conducive to my creative process.
My relationships are important so I will work less, even if that means taking a cut in pay so that I can be with those I care about.
Because I will work fewer hours, my time there is more valuable, so I must focus on only the most important tasks.
I will need ample sleep and a clear mind so that I can be effective and efficient at both my job and my entrepreneurial endeavors.
At the center of all of this is God: I can’t do this without him. No matter how many positive changes I make, if I don’t daily invite him into my life, it will all be for nothing. If God isn’t the one who is ruling my heart and mind I will still be a worry-laden, fear-infested, cluttered and confused human. In seasons like this one, I have to be even more intentional with my time with him. It’s only in his presence that I can get true peace of mind and heart. When I know he’s with me, I have to worry about nothing. When I invite him into my mess and ask him to bring clarity, he does!
No matter if you’re going through a time of sunshine and clarity or fog and ambiguity, invite God into your thought-process and into your everyday life. Ask him daily “God, what are you speaking?” and pray for the strength and courage to respond appropriately.
To go Deeper: Read Priorities, Blazing the Trail of Vulnerability