I was excited when a friend told me of his appointment to a local non-profit’s board of directors. It was an organization that he’d volunteered with for a number of years and this seemed like the next step for his involvement.
I shared his enthusiasm until he said, “I don’t know what I’m thinking. I don’t have time to attend more meetings, but it’s such a good organization, I couldn’t say no.”
My response? “Congratulations! What are you going to give up?”
“What do you mean, give up?”
“Well, we each have the same 24 hours each day, and they are completely filled up with various things, many of them good.
“But if you’ve said "yes" to an additional 80 hours this year with this non-profit, something has to go. Are you giving up volunteering at another non-profit? Maybe you won’t be watching as many TV shows? Or you’ll get less sleep? What 80 hours are you giving up to honor your new commitment?”
I have a friend that is getting married in four months, and I’m hopeful that she’s asked herself the same questions. Combining two single lives into a new union doesn’t earn them an additional 24 hours each day. I hope they are making an honest examination of their lives to determine how to spend their time and what to give up. Other friends have been married 3 years and they are constantly exhausted. They didn’t give up anything in their “singleness” and just added more activities as they created their “married life.” They are too tired to enjoy each other, and resent their exhaustion.
When I started a Ph.D. program at TSU in 2006, I continued to work full-time and go to school part-time. I knew there weren’t more hours in the day so I consciously gave up two things: TV shows and cooking dinner. I told my husband that for the next 5 years, I would only cook on Sundays, and the rest of the week was either his responsibility, or we could eat frozen dinners. I also knew that he’d have to watch his favorite TV shows alone while I concentrated on reading and homework.
When you’ve accepted a new responsibility, or are about to make a life-change (like getting married or a new job), are you honest enough to admit that the 24 hours you have tomorrow are the same 24 hours you had yesterday?
The answer can’t be, “I’ll just get less sleep, or I’ll try harder to be more efficient.” Instead, the right answer is, “I’ll do what God asks me to do, and give up the rest.”
Blessings, my friend,