Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What diffuses your strength?

A week or so ago we learned that one of two power lines to our house wasn't functioning correctly and was only delivering 30% of its maximum energy to our home. The power box in our yard showed 100% power at the source but the line was faulty and the power was diffusing into the ground.

Interesting, isn't it?

I was sitting in church the day following this discovery and my mind started wandering (sorry, Pastor Tyg) about all the ways that my power, or strength, is diffused. I start every day with full potential but how is that potential diffused? Because if I'm honest, I don't always feel like I function at 100%. Do you?

I started making a list of all the things that diffuse my strength but basically it boils down to one category: DISTRACTION. I'm working so hard right now on a priority statement for my life--a statement of the things that I'm 100% committed to. Anything beyond those few things (and it's really only a few) is non-priority and likely a distraction that is diffusing my strength.

Here are some examples:

iPhone/computer. I could expand on this ad nauseum but I'm not sure I need to because you guys know what a time-suck and distraction our phones and computers are. I do NOT want to be attached to my phone OR my computer and have actually been trying really hard to take one day a week and just stay offline. It's hard--nearly impossible to stay completely offline--but geez Louise, I need a break from the constant state of connectedness.

Drama. How many little situations do we blow totally out of proportion and let consume our time, energy, and thoughts? RUN away from drama and the people who create it. It's a time-suck that diffuses your strength! I'm so not perfect in this area, and have realized that sometimes I'm the one who creates it but I'm trying to be better about realizing it and amending my behavior because any time or attention I give to that stuff takes times and attention away from my priorities!

Runaway thoughts and worry. As with drama, overthinking and worrying about things beyond our control zaps our time and our strength. I love the quote below. Again, I'm not perfect. I worry. I obsess. I overthink and create wild scenarios in my head that aren't even true. My goal is to get to a place that when I find myself consumed by runaway thoughts and worry I will quickly "take my thoughts captive." (2 Corinthians 10:5) I do this, but it's not always quickly; I seem to take the longer, more scenic route before I'm able to reign those thoughts in.
People. It almost feels wrong to say that people are a distraction but sometimes they can be. I'm slowly coming to a place of realizing that I can't be friends with everyone. I WANT to be, but I just can't. For me, I need to invest myself in a few close friends. I know what it feels like to be "over-relationshipped" (is that even a word?) and it's not a place of strength. It's a place where my strength feels diffused because I'm only able to offer a tiny piece of myself and my priorities feel out of whack because I'm making time for other people instead of the people who matter most.

Busy-ness. We all define "busy" differently. For me, busy-ness means extracurricular activities and getting everyone in my family where they need to be while working part-time and keeping a home running smoothly (laundry, meals, housekeeping). ALL those things are good and necessary, and they keep me BUSY but you what? They're all related to my family which is my #1 priority. I think the distraction of busy-ness is more about the extra things I say YES to that take time and attention from my priorities. I used to be the volunteer queen but now I do a lot less of that and choose the things that feel realistic and enjoyable. I dropped out of my Bunco group because I decided I wanted to spend Friday nights with my family. I limit the things I say yes to that require me to be gone in the evenings and we guard our weekends fiercely.

These are just a few examples and I'm certain there are many more. I'm NOT perfect and I don't have all this figured out and my strength still feels diffused in lots of areas but I want to choose well and I want to live a less distracted life so that I can offer my full strength and potential to the things that really matter!


Amy said...

Meredith, this was so good and very timely for me. I've been trying to scale back and simplify and I've made progress in a lot of areas, but I've come to the same realization that distraction is keeping me from making the progress I could be making. And it's all of the areas you mentioned!

I really like your idea of making a priority statement. I'm going to think on that tonight. A couple of weeks ago, a friend was talking about some advice she'd given her adult son. She asked him, "Is this (a part-time job he was spending a lot of time and extra energy doing) moving you closer to your long-term goal?" I realized I could ask myself about the stuff I'm doing every day. Is this activity bringing me closer to who I want to be? What I want to be doing? After a couple of days asking myself that question, I realized I was wasting a lot of time on stuff that served absolutely no real purpose.

This gave me more stuff to apply. Thank you!

adrienne said...

Amen Meredith! And Amy, thank you for relaying the story above about "does this moving me closer to my long term goal?" It's so hard to keep my family of 5 from having busy schedules. Even though we limit kids to one activity/sport a season, they still do youth group as well. That's 3 kids sports x practices/games x youth group = lots of busy!! I have stopped all night time activities for me because I'm usually driving kids around every where, but my husband is an elder and a cadet youth group leader....I try to keep in mind that this is just a busy season and that I'm happy my kids are especially enjoying their youth groups, but it does cut into family time. I am so selfish!! :) Happy hump day!

sara said...

I love this analogy, Meredith. And like the other comments, this was very timely for me. You've got me thinking...I need to figure out what my diffusers are.