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Hourglass

New approaches

Need to remember to walk in more freedom of others' stuff. Without reminders, I easily drift back into taking it on in inappropriate ways and living my life as little more than a reaction. Perhaps worse, I'm reacting to things that don't necessarily exist outside my head—my perception of others' stuff. Don't want to be callous or distant, but there really is a difference between:
  • Being in relationship and trying to be liked.
  • Needs and neediness.
  • Helping and fixing.
  • Being faithful and being controlling.
Bottom line is the need to allow others the basic, God-given dignity of making their own choices while recognizing my God-given freedom to not react to every one.

Last night we went for drinks at Smash Wine with Jordan & Whitney. We always have such a great time with them, and being able to spend that time is a direct result of our new year's effort to calendar less (which pretty much boils down to "not at all," but there are always exceptions). The whole thing is counterintuitive and hard to put into words (and I've mentioned it before, kind of), but it's worth a try…

barlow_girl and I both tend to be planners, and thus, schedulers. Ideally, we'd like to schedule around our priorities and values. But when we looked back on the year, particularly our first few months of marriage, we saw a widening gap between our schedule (which was almost always full to overflowing) and those priorities—oddly enough, some of the people closest to us were the ones with whom we were spending the least time. In light of this, we decided our approach to our calendar might be seriously flawed.

The trick, perhaps (or at least the hypothesis we're now testing), is that our priorities, and especially the relationships we value, needed space much more than they needed slots on a calendar. By filling our calendar, we were eliminating that space—when a spontaneous idea or call from a friend would come, we'd already be booked, sometimes a month or more in advance. And many of the people with whom we were trying to get time just couldn't work well with our schedule craziness (not that they should have!).

So now we're intentionally keeping more calendar space clear, not in an effort to withdraw from relationships, but rather to be better equipped to engage them as they realistically unfold. We've only just begun, so the ripples are only now starting to touch some of our relationships (hopefully with more to come), but we're already feeling the benefits. There's also nothing wrong with having some time to breathe—not to make a blanket condemnation of choosing lots of activity, but I don't want us to feel guilty when we have a few days without stuff loaded into our calendar (we've never even had a full week where that was the case!). As with other resources, margin in time is an important part of good stewardship. It's an investment in the way life really works.

Comments

i appreciated this - thank you.
You're welcome—I'm always thankful when something applies beyond just my own life.

thanks for the reminder


Being in relationship and trying to be liked.
Needs and neediness.
Helping and fixing.
Being faithful and being controlling.

if you don't mind, I'd like to email these bullets to myself at my work email

Re: thanks for the reminder

You may want to cc me, because I forget often.
Man, I can so relate to that. Good for you for doing something about it!
We know we're only at the beginning of some baby steps, but it's felt so much better, and our time has been spent much more in line with what and who we value. For example, since Christmas we've been able to spend time with three separate couples from our Community Group with whom we've rarely (if ever) been able to just hang out for a while. It's very encouraging to experience results so soon.