Over Christmas, we dropped off my car to have its health checked. After all, my ever-reliable car is going on 18 now. I figure car years are pretty much the same as dog years, which means it’s about my age and feeling it, too. The car was inspected and realigned and it had a transfusion of fluids – whatever it took to keep it running at maximum performance.
I need the same thing. Two times a year (at least), I need an internal check-up. A mid-course evaluation. Since I’ve never strayed far from an academic calendar, to me the natural opportunities are the new year and summer. I like to be as objective as possible about all the things I’m involved in, deciding what to eliminate, what to amp up, what relationships to invest more time in, any new things to pursue.
Mostly, I need to seek the Lord’s mind on all this. Always, my biggest need is for more unhurried time with Him who is the center of my life. My soul craves something more, something deeper, than rushed and stolen moments I can check off my To-Do list. I need long stretches of time, without an end in sight, where I can be still and listen to His voice. I take off my burdens and rest before Him who can carry them, coming away refreshed and invigorated (or at least heading that way) with my perspective realigned.
During my after-work hours, I’ve probably filled my life with a bit too much. OK, I’ll admit it. It has been too much. There’s my husband. Friends. Family. Neighbors. Church friends. My involvement with Cru, always in transition with students graduating and different staff members supervising.
Then there’s my writing life. I constantly struggle to know if I’m doing too much or if I’m not going about it the right way. For now, I decided (with Steve’s strong encouragement!) to sit out a semester from my graduate program, after just two courses. I am realigning my priorities with writing.
Yes, the classes have stretched me with creative writing assignments, writing prompts in class, and stories/plays I’ve read/performed in public. But the textbook readings and research papers? Not helpful. Academic writing is the antithesis of what I’ve learned in the past: avoid long pompous-sounding words if shorter ones will do. (It’s funny to read badly-written sentences in academic books about writing. But I digress.)
Maybe this summer I can take another class. I don’t know. I take it one semester at a time, not holding tightly to my dream of a master’s degree, but keeping my hand open for the Lord to remove it or replace it with something else or leave it empty for a season.
What about you? How do you know what to hold on to and what to let go of? How do you get realigned?