Monday, March 23, 2009

How Much Can I Bend Before I Break?

Growing up I was an avid fan of comic books. I no longer read them but I happen to remember one storyline particularly vividly. Over years and years one of my favorite superheroes, Batman, had locked up countless of insane villains in a place called Arkham Asylum. In a concerted effort to do away with Batman once and for all, a guy known as Bane orchestrated the mass breakout of all of the prisoners Batman had put away. The city was now overrun with decades worth of the craziest people, some of which also possessed superpowers. Because the police could not handle the load, Batman had to go after each individual.
Batman spent countless sleepless hours re-apprehending each villain often succumbing to hard falls, bruised bones, and general fatigue from all of the fighting. At the end of it all, Bane finally confronts Batman. On any other day, Batman could easily dispose of Bane despite his super strength. But on that particular encounter, Batman was worn down physically and mentally from days of non-stop fighting. After a small tussle, Bane picks Batman up and easily breaks his back over his knee. The greatest super hero was now crippled and defeated. Broken and left for dead.

That is somewhat how I feel right now. I am constantly fighting the tasks that come before me. I am currently working a full 40-hour week at the job that pays the bills. I am putting roughly 10 to 20 hours each week into my future career as I see clients, plan to teach classes, conduct assessments and read so I can get licensed, most of which is not paid time. I volunteer for CharlotteOne and lead the Ministry team which commits me there every single Tuesday in addition to follow-up throughout the week with people who ask for connections or prayer. Bible study meets every Monday at my house. That is my weekly schedule.
I was just somewhat involuntarily commissioned to lead a new class in mid-April. so I need to learn and prep the new material. I have to start thinking about and raising support for my missions trip in July since some more money is due soon. I still have to get in touch with all of my contacts for references on my licensure application. I need to schedule a new crop of assessments. I foolishly embarked on an aggressive 30 things I want to do before 30 list. I have recorded my grandparents giving an oral history of both sides of our family and need to edit those videos so that they can see their life's works before the opportunity expires.
All of this to say I am wearing down and wondering at what point I will be broken. I would not trade any of it and am not the type to give up on anything and certainly not anything that would let others down. But something is going to have to give soon as I find I no longer have enough hours in the day. I feel like Batman. But unlike him, I know my Bane is coming to snap me in half. I just don't know from where or when.
The good thing about the Batman story is that others were ready to step in for him while he recovered. And he did recover. Batman came back from being broken in half to continue his mission. Part of me desires the break to come so I can get to the recovery and bounce back stronger than ever.


Andy Denton said...


I think a lot of us find us in the hole more often than not. There is an unlimited amount of opportunities that arise in our busy social and professional lives. We simply can't accomplish them all.

It starts with carving out unconditional time for yourself. Do this, and start getting in the habit of saying "no" to things which aren't a priority.

I recently had to do this, and often find myself evaluating what I'm committing myself to.

It's definitely a constant struggle. But, I think the Lord wants us to be renewed with energy and have the ability to keep our heads above water so that we can best serve his kingdom.

Amy Hutchison said...

As one who enjoys and is, in fact, more productive when I have a million and two things on my plate, I can totally relate to this post (like, totally, for sure...)

I think there's another option here... and that's to ask for help. If you don't want to give up the ministry team, see if there's someone who can make a few follow-up calls for you. Are you trying to do marketing yourself to promote your second job so you can move to that? See if there's someone looking for marketing experience willing to help out.

I also agree with the comment of "me" time (was that on twitter?). I recently started taking Pilates. For me, working 6 or 7 days a week where my job required me to constantly be a networker meant finding something... some place where I can walk in, plop down on the map, and not talk to anyone for an hour. Let me tell you, it's glorious.

Above all else, make time for the Lord. I found myself last night sitting in the middle of youth group reading my Bible, b/c I couldn't squeeze it in any other time. I'm not sure that's the way He designed it "OK, cram all of your serving time into one hour... simultaneously."

Heads up pumpkin. :-)