(If you live in Orlando as I do, it's been summer for the past 3 months...)
I came into summer with a long list of things I wanted to accomplish. The most ambitious was to start (and finish!) my third devotional book. But as I began to juggle everything, I realized that might be a project better suited for the fall. And you know what? I felt a bit disappointed in myself.
Truth Talk: My cerebral palsy is not something that causes me too much stress in daily life. It's not something I actively think about throughout the day. But lately, I've been thinking about the frustration it causes me as a writer/content producer. Projects take me a little bit longer to complete than most people. I might have to devote an entire day to a task that may take another writer a couple of hours to knock out. On most days, I can only focus on getting one "big thing" done for the day. This causes me to feel overwhelmed as the to-do's keep piling up. (It reminds me of that classic episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethel get a job in a chocolate factory. They have to wrap each piece of candy as it rolls through the conveyor belt, but they soon fall behind, and hilarity ensues!)
I don't say this to elicit pity. On the contrary, I think most people can relate to my dilemma. It seems we are all in a state of perpetual "behind-ness."
A few weeks ago, I talked to my counselor about my disappointment with not getting enough done.
"Who is putting pressure on you to get more done?" he asked.
That is a profound question!
Is it God?
No. He doesn't need me to "get stuff done" for him. Yes, he invites me into the work he's doing, but he's not looking over my shoulder seeing how many words I wrote today. Jesus' yoke is easy to bear, and his burden is light.
Is it other people?
Not really. Lately, a few people have been asking me when my next book is coming out. I perceive that as pressure. I think, "Oh man, they want a new book... They must think I'm lazy for not working on one!"
But no one's world is going to stop spinning if it takes me a bit longer to get another book out. After all, I've been waiting for a new Billy Joel album for 28 years, and life is still going on for me...
So, where is this pressure coming from?
It's coming from me! I put pressure on myself to get more done. Somewhere along the way, my worth gets attached to what I do rather than who I am (a loved child of God). My goal becomes the destination rather than the journey to get there. But here's the thing: the journey is made up of ordinary days that we can never get back.
This summer, I want to enjoy the ordinary days. I have some things I want to accomplish. But when fall comes, and I look back over the summer, I don't want to say, "Wow, I got everything checked off my list, but the days were filled with pressure and joylessness!"
If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed right now, I hope you'll take a moment to remember that your worth isn't tied to what you do, either. The person who is putting the most pressure on you may be... you! As we move through summer, let's try to enjoy the journey.
That being said, I wanted to fill you in on some projects I'm working on this summer...
- Changing Email Service Providers: I'm in the middle of transitioning to a different mailing list provider (the company I use to send out these emails). The new one will give me a lot more flexibility. (I hope my current service isn't reading this. That would be awkward...) I'm also writing a 4-part welcome email series for new subscribers to help them get to know me a bit better. It's something I've wanted to do for a while but keep putting on the back burner. Well, it's front burner time!
Just FYI: As a current subscriber, you don't have to do anything to make the move. As long as you stay subscribed, you'll come along for the ride!
- Produce Audiobooks of My Two Books: This is something I'm really excited about. Before writing a third book, I want to have audio versions of the two books already in the Nobody Left Out series. Right now, I'm looking into options, but I hope to have this project completed by the end of summer. I'll keep you updated!
- Producing More Video Content: A few months ago, I started getting more serious about my YouTube channel. I enjoy producing videos, but, like everything else, it's a time-consuming process for me. I add sub-titles to all my videos to make sure everyone understands what I'm saying. I use a program to generate them but still have to go in and manually edit. (You should see some of the hilarious things the program thinks I'm saying!)
Those are just a few projects I'm working on this summer. And in between, I'm still learning all I can about the world of online marketing and self-publishing. I'm reading some books and taking a couple of courses. (If you're ever thinking of self-publishing, let me know. I can point you to some great resources!) It's all good stuff, but I don't want good stuff to become "ultimate" stuff. I want to enjoy the ride.
What about you? What are you working on this summer?
Let me know!