Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Busy-ness...some like it, I don't.

...let me explain.
I dislike busy-ness because I find that when I'm busy I often time become paralyzed. Having so much to do and not knowing where to even start, one might say that I have a difficult time multi-tasking. Yep. I have embraced the fact that I definitely struggle in this area...and you know what? I'm OK with that. (The fact that my husband is KING of multi-tasking doesn't necessarily help me feel OK with how I operate...I guess that's just another area where we complement eachother. :))
The fall is a time when many things start up. People fill up their calendar with lots of different areas of involvement. I am finding myself having a desire to get more involved but then I realized that I will hate myself when I'm in the thick of it all. So, the fact that I am learning more and more about what I can and cannot handle is helping me become a more pleasant wife, mom, and friend. :)
My dear friend, Rachel, sent me this link about busy-ness...if you can find few moments in your busy schedule, I recommend reading it:
In the book, Finding Focus in a Whirlwind World, by Jean Fleming, the author says that she sits down about three or four times each year and re-evaluates her various activities in light of her priorities. She said some seasons of life are full of busy-ness and we just can't help it (sometimes that's just the way life is -- hectic and full), but other times we need to be sensitive to possibly needing to sit quietly and focus on quieter pursuits for a time.
In her book, Fleming compared her life to a tree. The trunk of the tree was her number one priority (which in her case was a strong commitment to God). Out of the trunk grew the main limbs which were the main activities of her life (parenthood, career, etc.). And then from the main limbs would grow all those little branches that had a tendency to grow and multiply quickly. The little branches were the general activities that would crowd in and fill up her day.
Just like a tree grows healthier and more fruitful by regular pruning, Fleming saw her times of re-evaluating her activities as that time of pruning her life to make it more fruitful. She found it more productive to do a few things well, rather than being involved witha myriad of conflicting activities, but not being fully fruitful with any of them.
I learned a valuable object lesson about pruning and fruitfulness in my own front yard. One year, I pruned back a Clematis plant that was overgrowing the front of the house. I cut it back almost to the stump. My husband and neighbors all thought I'd killed the poor plant. And to be honest, sometimes I wondered if maybe I'd been a little over-zealous in my pruning.
But the following Spring when the Clematis bloomed, it was absolutely breath-taking. Every vine had an over-abundance of blossoms. It was simply a mass of flowers -- unlike anything I'd ever seen. Even people walking by on the sidewalk would stop to comment on how full and beautiful my plant was that year.
But I know that if I hadn't pruned the Clematis back to the bare essentials, it would've continued to grow long and gangly, never achieving the level of beauty and fullness that came from focusing all its energy and growth into it's stem and main branches.
While we can't ever free ourselves fully from all of life's demands,we can have hope to discover a sense of balance in our lives. Or we can identify ways to shift between the two extremes --finding a time and place in our lives and hearts for contemplation, and then alternating that with other times of busy-ness and distraction. In the book "Gift from the Sea," Anne Morrow Lindbergh describes this balancing act as "the process of finding a rhythm of life with more creative pauses."
(It's taken from the website: http://thesimplemom.wordpress.com/ )