I never want to be the girl who’s too busy.
You know the one I’m talking about. She’d meet you for lunch but she’s too busy. She’d help out or volunteer but well, she’s just too busy. She’d take your call or at least call you back but gosh, she’s just so busy. She’d read books, or workout, or remember your birthday except well, she’s busy. Even when you manage to get on her radar, she’ll probably just cancel because well, something else came up or she’s just so dang tired.
I don’t want to be that girl.
What I recognize the longer I’m in the real world is it’s hard to be available. Jobs are demanding. People are demanding. Family is demanding. And each year we pile on new roles and responsibilities and if we’re not careful we may feel more like we’re treading water than swimming laps.
I refuse to be the girl who survives life.
I want to thrive. I want to enjoy it. I want to actually live in big and small moments.
That sounds good and simple, right? Except, you’re talking to the girl who is currently working in 3 different departments in 4 days of every week. I bounce from women’s ministry to small groups to finances and if my brain’s still working by day four I write for the blog, reach out to newcomers, or occasionally have an original thought.
That probably sounds like a decent amount. But now add that I’m a bible study leader, I write a personal blog (sometimes… ok, rarely), travel, workout, cook, volunteer, keep up a condo, and mentor. Oh wait, and I’m in the process of reading 80 books this year and starting to study for the GRE – but hey, what’s 1.5 books a week and a study guide, right?
I love my life. I love my job. And most of all I love the amazing people that I get to be surrounded by at my job and in my personal life. Seriously, I have to be the most blessed person relationally you know. So that being said I can’t afford to be the girl who’s too busy. I would miss such incredible opportunities.
But as ludicrous as this sounds – I’ve actually already cut back the things I’m willing to part with. The stuff I listed is the stuff that made the cut. So, what does it look like to honor my commitments, do my job with excellence, and still be available for family (first), friends, and coworkers? Well, that’s what I’m working on finding out.
So here’s a few lesson’s I’ve learned by trial and error:
1. You cannot be a best friend to 50 people. This is probably common sense to absolutely everyone but me. I know exactly who my best friends are. But the line gets a little blurrier for me in trying to BE a best friend. Somehow I find myself trying to be that for way more people than I expect a best friendship from. I’m learning, I’m learning.
2. No matter how busy I become or how many people want or need my attention – God gets trump card. I give him this by spending the first part of my day with him. This usually happens at 5:30am which ironically I consider to be an ungodly hour. But I wake up, drag myself downstairs, put on a pot of coffee, and curl up with my Kindle. From time to time he has to use his trump card randomly throughout the day and that’s allowed but no matter how busy or how long the day – it starts with us, on my red velvet couch. Can I just tell you that giving him your time is like tithing? It has a way of multiplying what’s left afterwards.
3. Keep your circle tight. One rookie mistake I made over and over is letting my circle get too big. I’m an includer. I like (almost) everyone. I collect friends. Everywhere I go I find someone and want to adopt them. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s the way I’m wired. The important thing, however, is that while I can like and chat with every fun looking person I bump into at the gym, the grocery store, or while taking out the trash in my bathrobe – they can’t all be my new best friends. Keeping your circle tight lets you actually BE a good friend to the people in it and give them adequate time and attention which is key in relationships, right? Also, this REALLY cuts back on having to manage your privacy. I keep my circle tight and trustworthy. I like to live in the honest box. I also like to know that what I say won’t be used against me to 349238402 other people.
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff. We’ve all heard this. But for me this has been an important lesson in friendship. Some day’s you have to chuck your to do list aside and just be. I was right in the middle of FINALLY filing everything important I’ve been letting pile up all year when I got a text from a friend – movie? I put the filing back in a pile and texted back ‘I’ll leave in 5’. And I did. I went. I had a blast. And the next day, I addressed the pile. I don’t miss out on people for the small stuff anymore. It’s ok to fly by the seat of your pants, in fact, I recommend it from time to time.
5. Keep it close to home. There is no greater opportunity to invest in people than to invite them into your home. I’ve tried to set mine up as the ultimate haven for my friends. They know they can show up unannounced and they will be welcomed and fed. They also know they can use my pool or eat my leftovers or borrow a handbag without me even being home. That’s exactly how I like it. But most of all, I try to make sure I’m consistently inviting people over and showing them some southern hospitality. This also helps with the whole being available thing – Sundays are my day at home. My friend Jess comes over every single Sunday and hangs out with me there. Sometimes that includes having to pause the apple TV for me so I can vacuum ‘real quick’ or switch the laundry – but we get to just hangout together all day.
Ok, 5 is enough for now. I don’t need you all knowing how many lessons I’ve had to learn in one day. This is a great jumping off point. Keep the main things the main things. Give the right things trump cards. And throw your schedule to the wind to just enjoy people from time to time.