June 16, 2015
Finding Community When All You Want is Margin
Over the past year I have learned a lot about myself when it comes to relationships, commitments, and responsibility to others. As an introvert and homebody, I usually would just rather be home. Yet I know I need to be out and I need to be in relationship with others and I actually really like to (once you get me dressed and out of the house!).
But over the past few years this has been a big struggle for me. I often got burned out after being committed to something and because I did not know how to handle relationships and my need for down time, I just cut people out. I retreated because I did not know what else to do.
This past year my husband and I stayed committed to a few things longer than my normal track record. While the relationships were good, I started getting an itch to move on. But because we were well aware that this was something I struggled with, which also was negatively affecting my husband's relationships, we stuck with it.
It got to a point that life was so overwhelming (a stressful beginning of the year, Brent starting grad school, etc) that we eventually backed out on a few of these commitments. It was a growing experience for me to stay committed to others even when I was struggling. Instead of running away, I gave second chances, allowed myself to be vulnerable, and truly experienced what community living can look like.
Since then I have also cut back the moms group that I run to every other week versus every week and that has been a huge weight off of my shoulders. Having the margin to plan and be a good leader has allowed me to really enjoy the women I am with and have the energy to engage.
When discussing this relationship challenge with my mentor, she would always remind me that I have to be a part of things. I have to get together on a weekly basis even when it is draining because that is where relationships are built.
I am so glad I learned the discipline of commitment (and small talk!). While I am now free from some of those commitments, it has been through time that I have seen which relationships stick through even when we do not see each other as regularly. It has been in being committed when I didn't want to that I finally get to reap the benefit of not being committed to an event and instead am committed to relationships that were built through diligent time.
Because I am less committed, I have the room in my schedule to get together for dinner, respond yes to invites, and have friends to spend time with. But it took work and extra effort on my introverted personality to put in the time to make these relationships happen.
So while I enjoy this season of little commitments, I am reminded it is not forever. As time, life seasons, and people in my life change, I surely will have to recommit again in the future.
As someone who really seeks margin in their life, I had to sacrifice some for the long run. I had to give up the comfortable couch in my own home to go sit on someone else's. I am reminded that sometimes the way we want to live is important to strive after, but sometimes we have to live uncomfortably for awhile to actually get there. I can't have community without putting in the time. And because of it I can now finally have both.