If only I had listened to my friends…
The first time I heard it was after I was asked to lead a new charity project. It would accomplish a significant amount of good and I was excited about the opportunity. I discussed it with my friend David Perdew with all the enthusiasm I had. But after he heard me, he said it didn’t appear to be moving me closer to my vision. He encouraged me to dig deep before agreeing to take this work on.
At first I was a little irritated, but I tried not to show it. He obviously didn’t understand how much good this work would accomplish. It might even lead to bigger things in the future.
The next time I heard it was from my friend Ron Parkhouse. He was concerned that I might not be prioritizing my time appropriately. Specifically, it appeared I was committing less of my time to family while giving more to work, school and volunteering. This was at a time when I was needed at home more not less.
Again, it irritated me a little to hear it. He didn’t really know how many hours I spent at home each week. He also must not know how important volunteering is to me and to those I help.
I wish I could say that I listened to their warnings and immediately got my life better aligned and prioritized. They were great mentors and friends. It took a lot of courage for them to tell me what they did. Unfortunately, I didn’t heed their warnings right away and continued on the path I was on.
Over time my responsibilities grew, my calendar filled up and overflowed, and then I started missing commitments. First small commitments then larger ones. I was so busy I didn’t notice the stress continually growing larger and larger in me. Eventually I found myself without any enthusiasm for some of the things I used to enjoy and be passionate about. I was burned out.
I remembered the previous discussions I had with David and Ron. Without those discussions I don’t think I would have recognized I was burned out as soon as I did. Those discussions also told me the first things I needed to work on to recover from burnout.
I am happy to say that my enthusiasm is back and my family life is a high priority. It wasn’t easy. It included dropping many of the good things I was doing in order for me to focus on the great things God has in store for me.
Will your best friends, in a loving way, tell you when they see signs you are burning out? If not, you may need some new friends. And the best way to get a great friend is to be one first.
Question: Has a friend held you accountable for what you are doing with your life? Discuss it in the comments by clicking here.