All Good Things, But...


Carla Foote tries to determine how to best spend her time and still maintain "soul space."

All day Wednesday and all day Friday loom large with possibilities. I have voluntarily dropped my work responsibilities from a very full-time leadership position to a 20-hour-a-week job. The theory behind this change was to have time and space to focus on my physical, mental and spiritual health, and to focus my work on the very best use of my skills. I also want to be more available to new ways that God might use me in this season. All great thoughts as I have planned this transition for several months.

As of a few weeks ago, I have moved from theory to reality.

Now I need to decide what to do every Wednesday and Friday.

There is no shortage of ways to fill this time. I could certainly make a concerted effort to clean out 15 years of junk from my house (no, I'm not a hoarder, but there are definitely items in the house that are never used). I could paint some rooms that haven't seen a paint brush in more than 10 years. I could give all the surfaces a good cleaning. All good things.

I could pray more, exercise more, and connect in friendships that I have neglected in recent years due to time pressure. All good things.

I could volunteer for any number of good organizations. Or I could take up Spanish classes again. I could read more books or write more articles. All good things.

I have been observing some of my friends who do freelance work, wondering how best to structure my days. But then I recognize the importance of listening to my own calling and desires—which may be different from how others spend their time.

In the end, I've decided I want to implement enough structure—exercise first thing in the morning, take time for prayer every day, work at freelance writing and teaching opportunities at a measured pace—to  feel like I'm investing my time well, and enough flexibility to not feel scattered and overcommitted.

Beyond these time investments, I want to leave room for developing my own rhythm and having soul space. I know the temptation to fill more will be strong, but I am determined to pause and evaluate opportunities, so I can invest myself in the best way. I don't want to move from a too-full work life to a frenzied activity life. Undoubtedly I'll need to revisit my priorities regularly, as I'm unlikely to find the perfect balance; so I'll need grace in this season, just like in all my past seasons of life.

Written by Carla Foote

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