This journal entry goes back to my teaching days at a junior college, but I find I still have seasons when I struggle to find that perfect balance in my various life roles.
The demands on my time have increased exponentially this winter. I’m trying to wear five to six different hats at once, and each one is a fulltime job: housewife, mom, teacher, editor, office worker, prayer minister. Each job has its joys and challenges. Each by itself is manageable, but put them all together and it’s a recipe for burnout.
Right now I’m struggling to wear my teacher hat. Yesterday’s English class was sheer melodrama. One student cried the whole class because her grandpa was dying. Another left early because her mom was taken to the ER. And a third was irate and belligerent because she failed to follow the instructions for an assignment, created some other work to make up for it, and then didn’t get credit for it. Who needs this kind of grief!?
Why did I agree to take this job in the first place? It has its rewarding moments, but for an introvert like me, teaching drains me, wears me out, and is stressful and time-consuming. Give me a desk job shuffling papers any day! Or wearing my prayer minister hat—now that’s fun and rewarding. So why did God give me this source of revenue? I’m grateful, but it’s not filling my soul. I don’t think I’m suited for this task.
If I could compartmentalize a little more, maybe I could focus better. I want to put each job into a box and let it stay there until its allotted time to think about it. But my mind doesn’t work that way–it’s not wired to multi-task. It’s racing and scattered and unfocused.
And so I mentally go to the hall closet, snatch up my jumble of hats and toss each one into a different room. Now when I’m in one room, that’s all I can focus on. I can’t BE in two rooms at the same time.People/relationships can walk in and out of each room I’m in, and I can stop and interact with them.
The first challenge for me right now is being in one room physically while I’m in another room mentally. I find I want to hurry up with the tasks in this room so that I can get back to the Study or the Library or the Rec Room. The other challenge is deciding which room I need or want to be in and when.
And God? Thankfully He’s in every room of my house. However, I desperately need concentrated, uninterrupted time in the Prayer Room.
Lord, help me to be fully present with each person who enters each room of my house today. And will You be my Guide for which room(s) to work in and when?
How do YOU manage your closetful of hats?
Great visual! I used to be a good multi-tasker. Now, I think I used the busyness to avoid what was going on in my heart. I have learned over time to single-task, much like you being in one room at a time. This slows everything down so I can actually be “present”. I’ve pruned a lot out of my life, opened up space for God to surprise me. It’s a lot more fun and meaningful in the “slow” lane.
I feel like Anna. I don’t multitask well anymore…not that I really feel I was good at it, but you do what you have to do. I like a slower pace, and I am one of those who can be easily distracted by a shiny object. Hence, the reason I could never study in a library because I would be distracted by those coming and going. If I went to the “Happy Corner” to study (yes you heard me), I could block out the activity. Does any of this make sense?
Anyway, I think you do very well wearing all those hats.
The only distraction I had in the library was my future husband pestering me for attention! Ha ha. Usually, I am able to focus very well if I’m only wearing one hat.