I realized today that my life is about to get pretty crazy. Not that its not crazy enough already with all of the things I attempt to do every week/month with two jobs and all of my volunteer stuff and my two kids and riding my bike (or at least thinking of riding it). I actually start classes with Fuller Seminary in about a week on top of all of it, and today I was looking at class descriptions in preparation for registering for classes on Tuesday. I’ve been racking my brain, trying to figure out what I can cut out in order to give myself more time, but there’s nothing. Except for one thing that takes about 20 minutes each week of my full, undivided attention, which I successfully delegated today.
20 minutes. That’s the best I could do. So, I’ve freed up 20 minutes to accomplish the approximately 24 hours per week of study that is estimated per quarter at Fuller. That’s more than one hour’s worth of work each minute. I can totally do that.
The problem I have is that I am too relational. I can’t fathom taking a break from my non-essential times that I spend over a meal and a good book with three guys that I find to be incredibly inspiring and frustrating and antagonizing and, ultimately, good at sharpening me. I tell myself that this is just reading a book (another book, now that Seminary is starting) and having one meal every other week. I can totally keep doing that. It’s too important to step away from for the next three years. In three years, I won’t be a part of that group, I fear, and I don’t want to lose that connection, because for me it is essential. Honestly, if I quit absolutely every “extra” thing that I do each week/month that doesn’t pertain to one of my two jobs, I would be able to free up less than 24 hours in a month. Way less. And I need four times that much time to reach 24 hours in a week.
So I’m not going to try, except for that 20 minute task I just delegated this morning. I’m going to continue to be as engaged in my extracurriculars as I always have been. I’m going to keep working two jobs, keep being around my kids as much as possible, and do everything in my power to maintain a healthy marital relationship with my wife.
But, I’m not naive. There’s no way for everything to remain the same and for me to also add up to 24 hours worth of extra work every week for the next three years. My son will be going into first grade by the time I finish (he’s not even three yet), and my daughter will be starting Pre-school (currently 19 months old). That’s nuts. There’s no way that I can keep things going exactly as they are right now and finish this degree on time.
So, if everything that I am currently doing is that important, as are my relationships with my family and working to support them, then I have to get more disciplined with every minute of my day. I might need to wake up quite early, or stay up quite late just to get my reading and writing for school finished so as to not interfere with the rest of my daily activities. I might have to say no to spontaneous hang outs at times (which have dwindled significantly since having kids anyway) or to playing a video game to just “pass the time”. I won’t be handing time out to anyone, especially not to NBA Live 2004 on Playstation 2. And, there might be times I have to say no to my book club, my leadership team meeting(s), my friends, or, at last resort, a family event. I’m not Superman. I believe that I am, but I’m not.
There’s a three-week stretch coming up in November that I will be in three different states each weekend. For the first time ever, I’ve had to pause and think whether I will have final exams on any of those weeks. I don’t do well enough at math to figure it out. But I hope not.
I’m committed to this path I’ve chosen for one reason: I want to pastor a church soon. If that is not a possibility where I am currently, then that will likely look like starting a new church in a location that needs some new life, new words, new way of thinking about/being a Christian. This has been on my mind (in front or back) for the last 7 years, and now I’m doing something about it. And nothing, not even reality, can stop me.