Have you ever driven a vehicle that is out of alignment? I used to drive an old 1987 Buick Century, and due to a car accident, it was FOREVER out of alignment. I’m pretty sure that most of the time, the steering wheel was turned to the right when driving straight! It was so difficult to drive this car effectively, and I was oh-so-glad when I got my 1998 Saturn, and that car was in good alignment. It seemed like such a small thing, to drive seemingly crooked, but it took quite a bit of energy to keep that silver beast on the road!
Lately, I’ve been out of alignment. I’ve focused too much of my time and energy on things, events, and quite honestly, people who either suck the life right out of me or should not be at the top of my priority list. It’s something I’ve known for quite a while but chose to either ignore, or I kept myself so busy I simply didn’t have the time to examine my heart and life closely.
I’m done with that way of living… For now, at least. I’m sure I’ll have to “realign” again soon, but I’m drawing a line in the sand. It stops here.
I love how Shauna Niequist put it in her book, Present Over Perfect, “Picture your relationships like concentric circles: the inner circle is your spouse, your children, your very best friends…Aim to disappoint the people at the center as rarely as possible…We disappoint people because we’re limited. We have to accept the idea of our limitations in order to accept the idea that we’ll disappoint people.” What a gut-wrenching reality for me to face.
I took her suggestion of making a concentric circle diagram to realign my priorities. It seemed that those things or people I talked about the most or worried about often were on the outside circle. COME. ON. YOU. CRAZY. PERSON! It’s true. I could hardly believe it! To make matters even worse, those people I put in the core circle, the circle that holds that which is most important, I often put on the backburner. Too often, they got my leftovers. My leftover energy and leftover time was what I offered them, and it was terrible.
A few days ago, I took my three kids to the playground and was amazed at how I felt like a mom again. Watching them play and playing along with them, I realized I wasn’t just a friend, counselor, volunteer, the “do-everything with everyone” girl. I was a mom enjoying the company of her amazing kids, and I was left wanting more. More time to spend and invest in them. More tickles, more “Mommy, watch this,” more crumbly snacks and sugary treats are exactly what needs to be at the top of my priority list.
I certainly don’t plan to swing to the the extreme side of pendulum, forgoing normal service and activities, but I am choosing to wisely live according to the priorities God has given me. May I be faithful to all He has called me to.