I thought I had this writing thing down. The real writing. Like at the request of a professional who expected to see it in her inbox.
All through the summer and fall I’ve written and edited by faith. Truly. I trusted that Lord would make a way to get it done in a timely manner. That I could take Sundays completely off. That I could put down my work and engage with my family and friends when I needed to.
But when January and a different request arrived, it was as if I hadn’t learned anything at all! I plunged in, starting with an unrealistic deadline for myself. With that date fixed in my head, I figured I had to work constantly to get there. I started in the morning and worked late into the evening with few breaks. I only took time off to attend my sons’ basketball games.
For ten days I worked. Then, as I lay in bed, jittery, frantic, unable to sleep, I had an epiphany: I wasn’t made to work 24/7. You’d think I’d know that, but I guess I didn’t. Not really. I thought if I used all the hours available to me in a day, I’d finish more quickly. But it doesn’t work like that. Not when you don’t eat right or sleep right or exercise. Not when you have no down time and no interaction with others.
So on the 11th day, I stopped. Not stopped working, but stopped working non-stop. I took regular breaks, ate regular meals, exercised. And in doing so, I accomplished as much or more than when I pushed myself over the limit. And the end result was better work. My husband concurred when I told him my plan. His support helped me give myself “permission” to take breaks.
I really hope this lesson has taken root now. And I hope it is a lesson I needed to because deadlines imposed by others and not myself hover on the horizon. But whatever the case may be, I know that by pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion and frustration, I’ve also pushed to a new level of trust in the Lord. I work hard in the time I have to work but I have to trust Him not only to give me the time to work but the creativity and freshness of mind I need for that time.