I’ve neglected our relationship.
My heart stings a bit when I think about it. I don’t think you realize how important your are. Your comments, stories, struggles and successes. They matter to me. You’ve become a part of my family, a reaching, intertwining network of roots and vines that lends connection and vitality. The nearness of you gives me strength.
I neglected you. Worse, I did it on purpose.
(awkward silence, as she digs her toe into the carpet)
Since the beginning of October, I’ve written a total of two blog posts. TWO. This one. And this one. That’s it. Instead, I spoke at several engagements. Mothered a posse of children. Wrote a book. Not all that unusual or grandiose. People write books and parent all the time, and most do it without the rest of the world needing to make space for the effort.
But my life was already maxed. Which meant something needed to give way in order to write and think and craft.
My children? Husband? Laundry? Sleep?
Yes, I could’ve cut a few corners with each of the above, carved out an extra few hours here and there to draft a blog post and tackle to-do’s.
I could have. But I didn’t want to.
Instead, I neglected my blog. And my email and monthly newsletter. And the Facebook page I planned to launch. And the ebook I planned to write … and the … and the …
In this world of networking, social connecting and platform building, I ignored what everyone in “The Biz” tells you to do: to generate fresh content, create opportunities for exposure, to be “accessible” and “visible” and maintain consistency above all else. A blog is a promise, like a coffee date with a friend for Monday at 9 a.m. You’re supposed to show up.
Only I didn’t.
So, yes, I feel a twinge of guilt about it all, even wrote about it in last week’s monthly (or, should I say, quarterly?) newsletter.
Then I received this email:
I recently met you at the Platform Conference in Dallas and was thrilled by your kind, approachable nature. Since then, I have been hard at work and also reading your blog. My husband became concerned that I wasn’t taking off time from work to enjoy our family over the holidays, so I leaned into the grace of God and did so. When I read aloud your newsletter on our way home from visiting family, he asked me to thank you as a husband and pastor for setting such a great example for women like me who long to share our message, but also need to find the balance with achieving and family.
Thank you, JacQueline, for the reminder. I’m not the only one locked in a mat-slapping wrestling match between the desire to serve a community and the need to honor ourselves and our families.
There is value in pursuing our callings with passion and excellence. And there certainly is nothing wrong with platform-building or similataneously launching a career and raising a family. It can be done, and done with integrity and honor.
There comes a time when the best thing you can do is to stop moving, get quiet, and say “enough.” For a time. This isn’t laziness or irresponsiblity. It’s wisdom.
Over the next few weeks, you will think back on 2013 and look ahead to 2014. You’ll note the goals you didn’t achieve, start planning how you’ll be better, do more. In the midst of thrill of possibility, you’ll feel a wave of pressure to do it all, be it all.
It’s good to have a plan. And there is value in hard work.
But don’t forget that success begins in your private life before it makes an appearance in your public one.
So spend a few extra minutes at the dinner table laughing and sharing stories. Get a solid eight hours of sleep and read a book for the pleasure of it. And if you feel the stress and strain creeping up your neck, it’s okay to head out for a run instead of writing that blog post. The world won’t stop spinning (and your platform won’t stall) simply because you decided to breathe.
Before you can change a life you have to live one. Live it well.
Do you need to make space in your life for a time? To what do you need to say “enough?”
Good word, Michelle. In fact, that’s my OneWord for 2014–enough. So, I totally get it. As I continue to struggle with my perfectionism, that OneWord says it all for me. Thanks for the reminder.
A perfect word for a new year. Well done, Karen!
Thank you for the candor of your post. All of the ‘shoulds’ & ‘oughts’ of the blogging, on line world seem to drive live at a crazy pace. Thank you for a bit of permission to disengage.
So true. I need constant reminding that life is so much more than all the “doing.” Thanks, Dick.
My friend, this was so grace-filled and loving. I live in that tension of knowing when is enough and when am I making excuses not to do the hard things. When does my family come first and when does it need to be me first? When it’s time to set something aside for a bit, how should that make me feel? How does it make me feel regardless of the “should”? I appreciate your words and your example. You inspire me. 🙂
This is me reaching through your screen and hugging your neck. Love you, Niki girl.
This is a wise comment. I believe as women we are so hard on ourselves, we think that we need to be 100% in all areas of our lives. Is this possible? Is perfection possible? Only through God… And He tells us time and time again, it is ok he likes us with all of our imperfections – but yet, we think we can do better and criticize ourselves when we say “enough” or “no”. This is a great blog post and you are exactly right we need to focus on our inner circle first (@ home) and as we feel balance expand. We need to ask God to guide us. I find this difficult too, for 3 years I have thought about writing a book, I blog once a week and then work in an engaging but demanding job. I have two beautiful boys and a husband that adores me. I get pulled in thinking I need to do more for others, and my list could go on. Just recently I have seen what happens when I overextend (this has happened often to me, but I believe I am more aware the older I get). It is time to take care of me and that is ok 🙂 Thanks for this beautiful lady! Totally going to share this one 😉
Ahhh. In a world that screams, “Do more!” your words are a breath of fresh air! I’m becoming more and more convinced that doing less is actually doing more, because I am focusing on the most important things and giving them my best. I enjoy reading your words, whenever you are able to writ them.
And the world screams pretty darn loud, doesn’t it? So tough trying to fight the current. I agree … I’m convinced less is more as well. Thanks for the kind (and wise) words, Cori.
You are an inspiration to all of us who are trying to balance family, our calling and our own needs. I admire your transparency, authenticity and vulnerability. You give us permission to be “real” and honest with ourselves. This post inspired me to think deeply on what I need to do for myself right now. I have decided to “stop moving, get quiet, and say “enough”. I will take some time to re-focus on my values and get back on track of living in alignment with them. We all talk about time management, but how about energy management? You have reminded me that I do need to start living my life well in order to inspire others to do the same.
Wow. This resonates like my head-inside-of-a-clanging-bell. I too “met” you at the Dallas Platform Conference. And, I too was impressed with you. Your story at the conclusion is one I’ll never forget. I am living out what you just described in this post, and find it hard to reconcile that I just can’t do it all, all the time. Something has to give. Sometimes, you just have to be brave enough to say “enough.”
Praying with you, Andrea, that we will all choose to be brave!
Yes, yes, yes. Thank you, Andria.
Amen! Thank you for these words, Michele!
I am forwarding this to several women I know that struggle with me in this area and long to give God their best, but not slack off anywhere … I have also shared this on our ministry page in hopes that your words of wisdom will sharpen others and they, like me, will sigh in relief. God looks at our hearts, and He is it all, we don’t need to be! Thank you again and again!
I’m so glad you took the time to write that email, JacQueline. 🙂
I can relate. In April I published my book “Leave the Cannoli Take the Weights: Practical Guidance on Eating, Exercise and Empowerment.” To find the time, I thinned out my client load and freed up time in my daily schedule. Doing this caused a reduction in my income and upset several clients. Something had to give.
The good news is that writing a book, or successfully engaging in any major creative project is a transformative act. You have grown. Even hough you were missed, we can now experience the “new and improved” Michele 2.0.
So true, Joe. Any kind of creative endeavor ends up growing us in ways we didn’t anticipate.
Wow. This post came at the best possible time for me. I’ve been writing a blog to encourage others to look at life from a positive perspective (I have a son with special needs) and I’ve been writing since May. I love writing it and I feel I am finally doing what I am passionate about. “Even so…” I am trying to balance a part-time job, my family, my blog, and my desire to write a children’s book and work on my artwork as well. I know I need to slow down and just breathe, and focus on only one thing at a time. What a great reminder for me to read your post today. Thank you so much.
I give you permission to breathe. 🙂 Just do what is before you. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Sometimes we just have to go back to the daily living, rather than the year-at-a-glance living. Today is enough.
I suppose it’s no coincidence that I read this blog on this day as lately, in all my devotional time, I keep getting the same message: rest in the Lord. The context surrounding this message has been to stop working so hard, slow down, listen and trust. Thank you for this post. It’s so refreshing to see a blog post like this, one that both inspires and teaches wisdom versus inspiring me to run faster, work harder, do more and essentially, be perfect. 🙂
I love this! Sometimes I wonder more and more each day if God says enough? Enough about what “the biz” says and listen more to what He says. Just a thought.
I do too, Michelle. Sometimes less IS more. And I believe listening is far more critical than we realize.
Wow, Michele, I so needed to hear this. I found you through a post on Platform University. In the past couple of months, I’ve done almost nothing on my blog, podcast, etc. I’ve just gotten a bit tired from work. God has been slowly getting me to a place where I begin to get some perspective. The best thing I can do is put Him first and really enjoy Him. Thanks for your post. Craig
Hi there, Craig. Nice to “meet” you! Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself (and your career) is to give yourself a break. The work will still be there tomorrow. Enjoying our God is time well spent!