Thursday, December 06, 2007

Switching Gears

Psalm 13:2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts...

The Holy Spirit is forever teaching me, even when I wonder what there is left to learn. Notice, I am not claiming that I've mastered all the lessons. I've just learned that there are a lot of things that I need to work on.

I have finally put one of those lessons into action. I'll call it the lesson of "Switching Gears." I've mentioned before that God doesn't seem to tolerate leaving me in one place for very long. I'm always settling in and then being drawn into some kind of change; generally against my will. One of the greatest joys of Christianity is being able to look back over time and see the evidence that God's will imposed on man's life always brings blessing. So I guess I could say that growing old gives even more opportunity to be deeply settled in faith, we've so much more to look back over and understand the goodness of Jesus.

Switching Gears. It can be done on a large scale. For me it has meant returning to work after years of homemaking, quitting my job to return to school, starting a new career, accepting a new position. All things I did not really want to do. These were not desires of my heart so much as gentle nudges (hard shoves at times) by the Holy Spirit. Laying down my own agendas isn't easy. In smaller measures Switching Gears has meant simply drawing definitive lines between different areas of my life. This too, is not always easy.

I realized the need for this a while ago. I heard myself having boringly similar conversations with the Mr., daboyz, my mom and my sister. These were conversations about my job. Not interesting ones about specific things I had learned or venting about difficult situations. I was repeating myself with the litany of daily updates which quickly became monotonous even to me. I wondered why my husband's eyes didn't glaze over when I launched into the latest rerun of yesterday's update. That was when I learned to Switch Gears on a smaller scale. I work from 6:30 to 3:00 Monday through Friday. At 3:00 , I am done being a nurse. I Switch Gears.

Unless there is something different today than yesterday, I will just say, "nothing new..." or "same old stuff..." when I'm asked about work. It's over. I did my eight hours. I'm leaving it at the hospital. I have decided that my career is not invited into my home. It would be a sad commentary on my home life if my job was more interesting than my family or church or friends.

Of course, when I arrive at work the morning, I Switch Gears again. Unless there's something pressing, my family does not call me at work. I owe my employer those hours of attention to my work if I am going to cash that paycheck they issue to me. I respect the patients I serve, the hospital that employs me and my co-workers and so I do not give them divided attention while I juggle cell phone calls and family drama. I do not recall ever having a friend call me at work. In fact, I do not even pass out my work number except to immediate family. I am not the wife, mom or daughter at work. I am the nurse. I must Switch Gears in the morning.

There is a great benefit to the lesson of Switching Gears. It takes a great load off of my mind. I give myself a big break when I decide to leave the cares of the hospital at the hospital. I don't lay awake at night and think about my job like I once did. It'll be there in the morning, believe me. I do not check my work e mail at home. I do not call the unit to see what's going on. I do not socialize with co-workers regularly. It is not that my job is unimportant, it is just held within boundaries. I'm much less stressed now that I've learned to divide my life into manageable portions. I'm also a better nurse and co-worker if I'm not preoccupied with trying to remote manage my private life from work. We all know people who are only half invested in their jobs as we work side by side with them. There is a word for those folks and the word is self-absorbed. It is not a respect-winning way to live. On the other hand, my family would resent me if I spent my at-home time babbling about work and forever trying to find out what's happening there.

If you're a little overwhelmed or perhaps have noticed people's eyes glazing over when you're talking to them, consider the lesson of Switching Gears. Maybe you need to leave some part of your life (even if it's your past!) in its proper place and be in the moment.

When you're stuck in a rut, it helps to Switch Gears.


Louise said...

You show great wisdom in learning this lesson so early in life. So many have never learned to switch gears and thus carry loads they're not meant to carry 24/7.

You'll switch gears once again when you retire and in this phase of life you learn there is no such thing as retirement for most women. Most men seem to do better than women in retirement, but for we of the fairer sex, there will always be something to do.

(Until we get so stinkin' old we simply can't remember what it was we were supposed to do that is!)

Amrita said...

I need to learn how to do this. Can 't run away from the ruts of my life, even tho I want to.

Thanks for visiting my blog Sara.May God 's peace surround you and your family

Margie said...

do you mind not pointing out all my flaws... lol

what a great post!

KayMac said...

i will be carefully watching for the "glaze" and seize the moment for the switch!

MSU gal said...

One day I hope to be able to
switch gears like that!
These days i find myself
switchin' to glide.