To Be More Present
I do not do well when I feel overloaded.
Whenever I feel like too much is being asked of me and I do not have time to fit in all the things I personally need, like my job, my responsibilities, my relationships and most importantly, my selfcare- I deteriorate.
As an introvert it does not take much for me to feel overwhelmed or over stimulated.
I need my recharge time and I need at least 8 hours of sleep, and I protect these self care aids fiercely.
I know that the boundaries I have put in place around these areas are not always fully understood or accepted but I know myself enough to know that if I do not take time and make these a priority, all other things in my life will not be successful.
I would be setting myself up for failure.
In my heart, I always want to give fully to the moments I am in and the people I am with.
I want to give 100% to my work, my relationships and to my responsibilities; and in order for me to do that- I have to say no to other things.
I have had to say no to certain things so that when I say yes, I can give fully and I can be more present.
Instilling boundaries into our lives is the best thing we can do for ourselves.
Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend in their book, Boundaries, explain boundaries as:
“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows where you end and someone else begins, leading to a sense of ownership. We need to keep things that will nurture us inside our fences and keep things that will harm us outside. We need to keep the good in and the bad out, and that’s what boundaries help us do.”
They go on to explain how the Bible speaks to boundaries;
Galatians 6:2 – “Carry each other’s burdens, and you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Galatians 6:5 – “Each one should carry their own load.”
It is always important when studying the Bible to dig into the context of the original text. Dr Townsend and Dr. Cloud explain that,
“…the original Greek words for ‘burden’ and ‘load’ give important insight into these two verses. Burden means ‘excess burdens,’ boulders that we need help carrying. Load means ‘cargo’ or ‘the burden of daily toil.’ You could liken the idea to a knapsack. A knapsack is possible to carry, and we are expected to carry our own. We are expected to deal with our own feelings, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as the responsibilities that God has given us, even though it takes effort. In addition, we are not to carry the ‘knapsacks’ of others.”
In their book, Boundaries, they explain why it is important to set limits with others and within our own responsibilities:
"First, setting limits and separating ourselves protects love because we are taking a stand against things that destroy love. We are setting limits with others. That means setting limits on our exposure to people who are behaving poorly. We cannot change other people or make them behave right, but we can gain some distance from them.
Second, setting limits in order to establish an internal structure is an important component of boundaries and identity, as well as ownership, responsibility, and self-control."
When we set boundaries with others it helps us to love more fully when we say yes. We are taking care of ourselves so we can give more of ourselves.
Consider this, what if you said no to a few of the less important demands in your life that would free you up to be more fully present to the things you are already committed to?
What if we learned to take inventory of the occasions and responsibilities that mean most to us and prioritized them, so we can be more fully involved in them?
When we take too much on we no longer give 100% to responsibilities and relationships that are most important to us, or to the things we are already committed to.
We spread ourselves too thin- which can easily lead to burnout and compassion fatigue when we are over committed and over scheduled.
What would happen if your time is already planned out for the week and someone wants to add more to your plate? What if you said no?
What are you stealing from when you say yes, when you know you should say no?
What are a few areas that you can take inventory on and pull back or cut out in this season? What can you say no to that will allow you to be fully present to the responsibilities and relationships that have a higher priority?
What areas of your life do you wish you could give a 100% to but right now are only at 50%?
What can you do or say no to, to get you to that 100%?
Where can you start?