Waiting for when

Having been self-employed for the past twenty years, I’ve enjoyed the advantages that brings. I love managing myself, so getting to plan my diary and to-do lists suits me well. 

However, this does have its downsides. Like many of us who have been working from home during this past year, I have no clear demarcation between work and rest. My commute is stepping into my conservatory office, and there’s no formal contract telling me how much annual leave I’m entitled to, or what my weekly work hours should be. Combine this with my love for hitting deadlines early, and my life-long tendency to try to squeeze ‘one more thing’ into the day, and I can easily slip into unhealthy patterns of work-life balance. 

If I’m not working, I can feel the pull to be preparing a sermon, or planning a Free Range Chicks event, or sorting out the garden while listening to a sermon. This Thursday, when chatting with my family at the dinner table, I shared that I’d already surpassed my weekly word count for my next book. I then went on to muse over the things I could do on the Friday instead of writing… my tax return needs doing, my son has asked if I could proof-read his university dissertation…

When my husband said, ‘or you could have a day off?’ Initially I thought he was joking, until the rest of the family looked at me with incomprehension and said, ‘He means it – why don’t you just take a day off?’

Somewhere, deep down, I have to acknowledge that this is because a day off feels like that might mean I’m ‘lazy’. Like it’s wasting one of the precious days God has given me. The truth is, that even on a day off, I’m still carrying out my foster carer role, cooking dinner, sorting house admin, ticking off the ‘non-work’ to-do list. 

This challenge from my family has been yet another training step in a long journey that God has been taking me on since I developed long-covid just over a year ago. Who are you doing this for, Beth? He asked me, when dragging myself out of bed to get some work done while wracked with a fever. It’s not me! 

I’m getting there – I learnt a long time ago that my worth is not dependent on what I do, but who God says I am. However, I like getting lots done, ticking off my lists, doing work that I enjoy. So, one thing I’ve been practising is doing more of  the other things that I enjoy alongside work, and making sure I don’t feel guilty about it. Back in February, I wrote a poem about it in my journal. I wonder if you have things that you’re waiting to do once you have time – that mysterious extra time, that never seems to materialise unless we make it. 

I’ve been waiting for ‘then’:

THEN I’ll sit and pray through that book

Sort my clothes

See that friend 

Play the piano again

THEN I’ll knead bread, roll pasta,

Walk the distant path

Dance with my husband

THEN I’ll dream, discover

Do all the these other

Things, that are waiting for

WHEN.

THEN, when I’ve the time, energy, space, breath

When everything else is done and dusted…

I’m tired of waiting for THEN.

I’m choosing NOW and AMEN. 

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