Ever have too much time on your hands? Most people would answer with a resounding NO! Usually, I would say NO… are you kidding me? Too much time?
I’m an educator. From mid-August to mid-June I work my tail off. Yes, we get “vacations” like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break, but I don’t really consider those “vacations.” They are time away from the job, usually spent being extremely busy at home doing all of the things you ignore while putting in 10 hours days and weekend time during the school year. Those little breaks are spent trying to catch up on sleep and getting rested so you can attack the next leg of the journey.
Then comes summer. Ahhhh, beloved summer! We long for that last day of school and then the first morning of waking up without the alarm! The anticipation is exhilarating! The first morning… that morning when you can finally sleep in on a week day… NOT! Eyes wide open and brain whirling at o’dark early… just like on a school day. Actually on a school day the alarm would have to rally you out of a deep sleep. But not on the first day of vacation.. or the second… or the third! The internal alarm clock has a brand new battery in it!
Finally, the chance to do all the things you put off during the school year. Closets, cupboards, floors, drawers… the list goes on. Really? This is “vacation!” Who does that on vacation? I’ve come to understand finally, that vacation is that trip you take away from every day life… away from your home… to a place you’ve never been… with people you don’t know… and that costs you a bunch of money. I think I’ve only been on a handful of actual “vacations” in my lifetime.
So back to summer “break.” I know what I “need” to be doing. I know what I “should” be doing. I know what I “don’t want” to be doing. The thing I struggle with is what do I really “want” to be doing? What really feeds my soul? What nurtures my heart? What brings me joy? So begins the task of thinking about “me” and working to get myself ready to tackle another school year in August.
Many struggle have surfaced this summer. I’ve come to realize things about myself that I’m not sure I ever really knew.
The first one is guilt. I feel guilty sending my husband off to work as I sit back down with my cup of coffee and iPad. I feel guilty taking a day to do absolutely nothing of any importance or significance. I feel guilty that I don’t run to the gym and have an amazing workout every morning. Guilt is a heavy burden to carry and I’m working hard to let it go. Feeling guilty to think about only myself is troublesome. It robs me of the joy God intended for me. It’s something I’ve grown up carrying. My mom was the president of the Guilt Club. My job is to take care of others… often leaving myself out of the equation.
The second thing I’ve learned about myself is my ability to over-think. WAY over-think! When I’m busy during the school year, I think about my job and what needs to be done when I get home each day. The topic of ME is rarely in the thinking plan. But now it’s summer. I’ve got day after day home alone to think about what I have not accomplished… what I need to accomplish… what I may never accomplish. I over-think relationships… rehashing things I’ve said and done… wishing I could have a do-over. I over-think my marriage and the conversation we may have had or not had the evening before or the look that he gave or didn’t give. I think about all of my friends that are on amazing vacations and then invite myself to a “pitty party” for one. We can’t afford a vacation… my husband has to work all summer and gets no time off… there are too many things to do around the house to leave for a weekend…whaa whaa whaa. After a while I regret inviting myself to the party!
This summer, in my over-thinking time, God has recently settled himself into my thoughts and quiet time, and begun a work… destination unknown. Together, we are on a journey. He has landed a book in my lap that I’m laughing and crying through called Epic Grace, by my pastor, Kurt Bubna. I’m part of the launch team and have the privilege of reading it before it is released. God knew that once school started I would not have the same “thinking time” as I have now. Funny how He always knows the best timing. So much of my over-thinking time has been spent cataloging my failures and disappointments. I’m learning that nothing I have done or will do can rob me from of gift of grace from my Father…epic grace!
So, today marks a turn in the road for me. I’ve finally figured out that I need to embrace this time that I do have and invest in it wisely. While it may not be time that manifests itself by turning my house into a Sunset Magazine feature home ( I think it might be more like a Horders episode!), it is a time to invest in ME. Yikes, just typing that is hard. The next two weeks will be my “vacation” from over-thinking and people pleasing. It will be a journey to a place that I’ve never been… and maybe include people I don’t know. It won’t cost money, but it will cost my time and personal investment. I’ve spent too many a summers vacationing on the River Denial. While it’s a nice place, my lease is up and I’ve got to find me a new place to live!
So, as the song Too Much Time on My Hands rolls through my head, let “vacation” begin!!!