In the last sabbatical post, I listed the following as a prayer request:
- Pray that I would find good personal space. I have recently been struggling to find time to myself. Lots of company, lots of family tasks, lots of meetings and work and ministry. I need to find my own downtime right now. (Seems like a contradiction to the above, I know!)
This struggle has been so, so frustrating in the midst of sabbatical efforts. It’s so antithetical to what a sabbatical should be and to what I stated I was going to be about. One of the tendencies I have as a leader (and a parent and a husband) is to initially blame everything and everybody around me. While I may not give voice to these thoughts, my initial response is that everybody else is contributing to my negative experience.
One of the things I’ve mentioned before is the word for my first year of sabbatical — listening. This shows up in the part of my sabbatical plan that talks about the ICM requirement to pursue professional development during this time.
Another reason this experience has been so frustrating is that much work has been done to lighten my workload. I have a personal assistant who has taken over many of the menial tasks. ICM hired an additional executive last year so that our “project energy” could be shared among a team that would function with more fluidity (shout-out to Sarah Johnson, our Director of Staff Development, who makes my professional life so much better and helps Impact keep moving). We just added a Strategy Coordinator to the team to help me stay on top of all the details that have a tendency to drown me.
And so tell me, with all that help, why I am still suffocating in work?
And before I say what I’m about to say, I want to acknowledge that this whole thing is complex and nuanced. There are so many moving pieces and shared responsibilities. There are further changes that can be made to help out even more.
But there is one glaringly obvious fact that I simply wasn’t willing to acknowledge personally. Part of my problem is that I don’t know how to take responsibility for my own work, my own schedule, and my own commitments. Obviously, if we’ve changed all the other variables and I still find a way to dysfunctionally fill up all the new space, then apparently it’s not everyone else.
So I need to become more and more curious. As Brené Brown said in Rising Strong, I need to reckon, rumble, and find the revolution that helps me grow as an individual and a professional. What is it that keeps getting me backed into these corners? What is this horribly dysfunctional relationship I have with the word “responsibility” and what is the fruit of that? I don’t have answers yet, but I look forward to the idea of listening and learning more.