That is the question! We’ve all been there before. You’ve said yes to too many things and realize you can’t do it all without bursting into flames. How do you know when it’s time to push forward and when it’s time to pull back?
Or what about those times when your child has signed up for a class or an activity that sounded like a good idea at the time and has turned into a fate worse than death? What do you do?
I have to admit that I struggle with letting myself “quit” stuff. I don’t want to be a person that others consider unreliable, so that sometimes means that I continue doing things when I really should cut my losses and move on. As a mother, I want my children to learn the consequences of their choices and that they just can’t quit when things get hard; to persevere through difficulties and learn that suffering can have a greater purpose. But I also want them to know themselves well enough to know when they’ve had enough. And I want them to grow into healthy adults that are able to balance family, faith, work, and fun. I don’t want to raise adults who push themselves to the point of insanity just to fulfill an obligation.
Should I stay or should I go?
After 18 years of staying home with my children full-time, I recently began a full-time job in ministry. I love my job. I love my coworkers. I love the perks. (How many bosses tell you to spend time in the chapel or at Mass during your work day?)
However, before I started this job my life was very full with children, volunteer work, writing, speaking, and working part-time. When I started my new job, I didn’t really get rid of any of those things with the exception of the part-time job. So, you might say that I’m…busy. (You thought I was going to say “crazy”, didn’t you? Busy. Crazy. In this case they’re almost interchangeable!)
I’ve recently realized that I need to pull back on a few things to make life sane again. But how do you know what should stay or what should go? Here are some questions I’ve asked myself over the past few months that have helped me discern what stays and what goes:
- How much of my time does this activity take? Note that even things that take small amounts of time can drain a lot of your mental energy.
- How does this activity affect my primary vocation as a wife and mother? Does it bring me closer to my family or pull me away? Does it benefit my family in some way either directly or indirectly by making me a better person and therefore a better wife and mother?
- Is this activity something that is an investment in time, relationship, or education that will be beneficial in the long run if I can just survive the short term? Perhaps it’s attending a retreat that you don’t have time for or taking a class that will help you get a job with more flexibility.
- Years from now, will I regret it if I step away from this activity?
- How do I feel when participating in this activity? Stressed? Annoyed? Joyful? Peaceful?
- Have I prayed about this decision? Have I left myself open to God’s will? Have I really listened to the whisper of His voice?
These are just some of the questions that can guide your decision-making process.
What questions do you ask yourself when trying to discern how to spend your time?
Copyright 2015 Laura B Nelson
Photo credit: Wokandapix, Pixabay, CCO Public Domain