Learning to make time - Ellen's Picks

I’ve got at least 100 hobbies, and a craft room overflowing with supplies. I’m also a wife, mama, daughter, active community member, business owner, and, wouldn’t you know it, my first strength (according to StrengthsFinder) is Responsibility.

Friends, that’s a lot to be responsible for.

This fall, when I launched a brand-new initiative for women of faith who serve as senior leaders across Canada, I knew what book I’d pick for our first group read: The Fringe Hours. Not because I’m perfect at finding time to do the things I love in the midst of the things I must get done, but because I’m learning, and this book both challenged me and encouraged me.

Here’s a little about why I picked the book:

In all my roles, I’ve struggled deeply with all the “should be doing” things. There are a thousand things that, apparently, good leaders do (according to the internet – and there are a thousand articles telling you what you should do). These articles typically make me feel like a complete failure. Those things they’re saying I should do? I actually DON’T WANT TO DO THEM. Seriously.

I’d rather be doing things I love. Real, hands-on, crafty, creative, reading, cooking, encouraging things I love. I work hard, and love my work, but when I have time for me, I want to do things that refresh my soul, not things that push me to strive harder.

The Fringe Hours was the encouragement I needed to not feel guilty about asking my husband for time in my craft room or in the garden (which he is, frankly, happy to give me – he knows I’m easier to live with when my soul is filled). It was also the challenge I needed to help me put down my mobile device and actually pick up a book that feels like a “cheat” (not one I need to read for work or because it is good for me). The little extras that were created to go with this book – the truly beautiful notecards, greeting cards, journals, and postcards – reminded me that I love to send notes. I love being able to send a quick voice message or card, and I love getting them. But the busier I have gotten, the less likely I’ve been to even get an important birthday card out on time (sorry, Dad!). These things may not seem like essentials, but they truly are essential for my heart.

The chapter on guilt may have been the one I needed to read most. Responsible people, it has always seemed to me, make sure everything is taken care of – except themselves. I’ve actually been pretty good about doing things I loved (maybe because I wasn’t married untilI was 31?) but after becoming a wife and mother, I struggled with prioritizing these things. One time, early in our marriage, Dan said one thing that has stuck with me: “I like you better when you’re in Bible study.” I know that what he was saying was “I like you better when you’re happy.” For me, doing Bible study (with homework) is one of those things that gets me meaningfully connected with my girlfriends, gives me a spiritual rhythm that brings peace, and honestly, makes me a happier, more content person. It looks different these days – bi-weekly instead of weekly, but it’s something I need to make space for in my calendar. And most importantly? I know I don’t need to feel guilty about taking these few hours every other week to connect in a way that feeds my soul.

My house may not be perfectly clean (but, because I’ve chosen to accept help, it’s an awful lot cleaner than if I hadn’t!), and my life may not be perfectly curated, but I’m really encouraged to use my time well in a whole new way. In a way that feeds my soul, and not an insatiable desire to get ahead.

I’m so glad that Jessica used her Fringe Hours to write – thank you!

And hey – would you visit some of my friends who are linked-up below? They’re awesome women with something really good to say.

Details on how to link-up can be found on this page.


Ellen's Picks


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