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.
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?”