Focus

I have a lot on my plate right now.

  1. I am transitioning out of a church I planted, pastored and have loved being a part of for 13 years. In 3 months (and a few days) I will no longer be the lead pastor of the Ithaca Vineyard.
  2. My family is moving to another country in less than 5 months.
  3. We need to get rid of nearly all of our stuff.
  4. We need to raise an additional $4,000 to $7,000 in monthly support between now and May.
  5. Then of course I have a family. One kid is graduating high school and figuring out what the next part of her life will be looking like. One kid crawls around the apartment picking up everything she can and sticking it in her mouth. The other two are busy with school, friends and activities, but the move, which for them means attending a new school and navigating life in a major city is an ever-present cloud (at times darker than others) that simply hangs out there.
  6. Almost forgot…I have braces, and I’m having surgery on my upper jaw in May. (that might be a clue, to how things are going…I’m getting my upper jaw removed, expanded and replaced, and that is an after thought)

[Elizabeth of course is living in this same reality, and working towards the same end, while carting around an 11 month old with an ever increasing appetite (and not just for the stuff on the floor)…and when I’m stressing out about support raising, she’s the one who talks me back in off the ledge.]

This is, as you might guess, a bit crazy. Those aren’t just really big things…those are very emotional, world altering things.

Now, in order to keep some semblance of sanity, I’ve added a few things to my life…and changed a few others.

  • I’m meeting monthly with a spiritual director.
  • I’m meeting at least monthly with a counselor.
  • I’m meeting via phone 1 or 2 times per month with a missions coach.
  • I’ve been going to the gym 5-6 days a week.  Mostly riding a bike, but doing a bit of weight lifting.
  • I’ve made changes in my diet to eat healthier. (sadly the burger in the picture above doesn’t make the cut:-(

Thankfully, this won’t last. As you might guess, it isn’t really a sustainable life long term.  So what is my point? With all that is going on, I have had a couple of experiences this week where I sat at my desk having a “what am I supposed to do next?” moment. As you might guess, generally in those moments, what you tend to do is, nothing…at least that’s how it seems to work for me.

Let me give you an example. I am not speaking this Sunday at the Ithaca Vineyard (and the message is going to be a good one, so you should definitely join us!) And since message prep generally takes me, 15 hours or so, I often go into weeks like this thinking about all the extra time I’ll have to do all this extra stuff I need to do. Of course instead, I end up having those moments where I realize there are several big things shouting for my attention…and rather than focusing, I end up being a bit scattered.

I love working on my blog. I love social media, and engaging in conversation through Twitter & Facebook. But if you look at my timeline in either of those places, the lack of focus this week, has had an impact. When I’m less focused, I’m less creative. When I’m less focused, I’m more tired (in part because I don’t sleep as well).

Now, each of the 6 thing I listed above, like most things in life have a natural end. And other than the support raising, most of them will end between May and July of this year. In the meantime, I can’t, and wouldn’t want to take any of them off my plate. I want each of them to go well. I want each person involved to come through each of these transitions well.

However, one area I can narrow my focus a bit is here on my blog. Rather than a bit of a catchall, for whatever happens to be running through my brain at the time, I want to be much more purposeful with it.

And next week I’ll share more about what that will look like.