There are 3 things you need to know now, so you do not hit the wall and crash and burn, or go ape crazy.
What lessons are those?
Well, I call them A.P.E. … They are the 3 things you need to know so you don’t become a crazy ape. Hahaha – ok, but seriously, the acronym A.P.E helps you easily remember 3 points you should keep in mind. These points can help prevent you from hitting the wall.
It’s been a few weeks since I posted, but I hope that many of you took advantage of my Valentine’s Day gift to you. Did you download my newly released e-book for free? Are you enjoying it? If so please remember to leave me a review on Amazon. If you missed it, I will again have my e-book: Milk Eggs Prophecy – A healthy new take on the radically ordinary nature of prophecy available for free download on Easter!
This last week, my husband and I took “vacation” days to attend 2 different conferences. I use quotes around the word “vacation” because, it is not exactly what I would call a vacation. A vacation to me, is where you get away, or even have a staycation where you can sleep in, have no agenda, have no one making demands on your time or your schedule but you… sounds nice doesn’t it?
Kind of like a fantasy? A dream? A wish come true?
Yep, in some ways it is, and very rarely have I had those kind of vacations.
I like to go away on vacation to be not do. Oh, I can do things, like see the sights, or fun activities, but I also need to balance it with times of just doing nothing, sitting, reading a good book, or watching movies.
So why then would we take “vacation” time to go to a conference?
You see we are both bi-vocational. My husband is a software engineer with a computer company he has been at for 18+ years. I run a non-profit organization called Dare 2 Hear. Then we are both Senior Leaders at Restoration Church. So, when I say we took vacation, it means, we had to use up some of my husband’s vacation time he is allotted for the year at his non-ministry job.
I was looking forward to this week of conferences. I was hoping to get some down time to recharge and catch my breath. I had great plans of writing several blog posts in advance and working on a few other writing projects, doing some Bible Journaling. None of those things happened. I was also looking forward to having other people pour into us, to fill us up. That did happen, but I found myself returning home after the week away more tired than I was when I left. Not just physically tired, but mentally drained as well. Not exactly what I would have expected, and yet, not fully surprised either. I was running on empty – had been running on empty for some time, but I will save that story for next week.
During this week of conferences, there was a common theme. Two different conferences put on by very different groups of people and yet God orchestrated it so the messages resoundingly aligned! For my husband and I these messages were exactly what we needed to hear, what God had already begun to talk to us about, and what we have been hearing from people that are close to us.
What was the common theme at these conferences?
First and most importantly, Taking care of you! And if you are married taking care of your marriage relationship. Then, the second take-away was about, Doing T-H-E thing God has called you to do. Doing the thing that no one else can do, because you are uniquely designed to do it. The thing that fills you up, not runs you down.
Oh, boy, were they reading my mail or what? I mean, at times when you look at me, I have so many balls in the air that one would think I was an expert juggler. I am not. However, with two jobs, not to mention being a wife, a mother, and well, just being me, I don’t have enough time in my day for everything. However, I tried and have done a pretty good job of keeping all those different balls in play for the last 3 years.
Just 10 days before we took off for our “vacation” to attend these conferences, I hit the wall. We had just finished a HUGE Women’s event at our church. It was wonderful, a team of people pulled it all together so it wasn’t that I was carrying the load, it was that I was running on empty. The day after our women’s event, I hit a wall. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t process anything. I was so tired, physically and mentally, that I just sat. Shoot, I was probably emotionally drained as well, and I just didn’t recognize it at the time. I sat on the couch, and did nothing for a day and a half. No TV – no magazines, no books, no Bible journaling, nothing, nada, zip. I just sat. I wanted to do other things with my time, but I just could not. At one point during the workday, my husband emerged from his office and asked me a question about what I wanted for lunch and I couldn’t answer – I didn’t know. I simply responded, by shrugging my shoulders and shaking my head. My brain physically hurt to even think, and so I sat. I slept. I did nothing. It felt good, but, I also felt guilty. I had so many things, I needed to get done, and so many other things I wanted to get done, but I did not have the energy to do so. In fact, I wanted more time just doing nothing, but I did not have the luxury of more time. I had responsibilities for church service that needed to get done, I had blog posts to write, emails to return, and teachings to prepare.
Now, I don’t tell you all this to make you feel sorry for me. Nor, do I tell you so you will think I am some Super-Woman or Wonder Woman.
Truth be told, I always wanted to be Wonder Woman when I grew up. She was a princess after all who got to wear a gold crown she wielded like a weapon. She had awesome gold bracelets that deflected bullets and everything else that came her way. I mean, what little girl on up to grown women, didn’t want to own an indestructible magic lasso, that when used on others got them to tell the truth! Come on mom’s can I get an Amen on that one?!!! Wonder Woman fought off the bad guys and always won. She always brought about justice, and even had an invisible plane!!! I mean, she was awesomely cool — and yes, I know, I just dated myself, but oh well. The truth is, I am not Wonder Women, or super women, I am not all that and a bag of chips, I promise. I tell you all of this, so that you can learn from my experiences, and hopefully not make the same mistakes I made.
What does A.P.E. stand for?
Ask – Prioritize – Evaluate – and not in that particular order either, but it was the best order for an acronym that made sense.
Ask for Help – You don’t have to do it all!
- Nope, I promise the world will not end if you let others help you out. In fact, there are others that would love to help you, if you would just ask or give them opportunity.
- Delegate tasks and empower others to help you.
- I put Ask for help as #1, because sometimes we don’t even know how to prioritize or evaluate and we simply need to ASK others to help us figure it out.
Prioritize – Figure out what you should be doing?
- What one – three things is God asking you to do?
- This is different than who you are. You may be a spouse, a parent, a grandparent and you have certain things you need to do to care for those relationships. Relationships should always take precedent over ministry or extracurricular tasks.
- What gifts, talents, or job has God given you to do?
- I can do many things really well, and it has served to get me where I am. However, I tend to let all the other “things” take priority over and come before the very thing I know God has asked me to do.
Evaluate –Let go of things.
- Being busy isn’t always good. This is something I have learned.
- Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean being productive.
- Are you doing something because you have always done it? Or is it something you enjoy doing? Is it a necessity – a non-negotiable task that needs to be done? If not, You may have to let it go.Evaluate –Let go of things.
Next week I will be sharing some of the lessons I am learning on how to NOT run on empty. Won’t you please join me on this journey of discovering what we can do, so we don’t run on empty?
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OOOOOO Girl I am right there with you, it feels like the roller coaster won’t stop. Thanks for the encouragement look forward to more info.
Hope – you are so welcome for the encouragement — praying for you and the roller coaster to slow down.
I love this post Debbie and your acronym A P E. I will be writing a book review for you too. It’s on my to do list. And i’m not going to hit the wall!. God is faithful. . ❤️
Thanks Barbara – for both the review and your comments on the post. I am so glad you won’t hit the wall, its not a fun experience at all. God is so faithful – blessings.
Great advice! I love the acronym 🙂 I have been there, trying to do way too much. I am so thankful that God is so faithful and will lead us when we get overwhelmed in our humanness. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you Bree! I too love how God gently guides and directs us. He is so merciful at reminding me gently even when it isn’t the first time I find myself in the situation. I hope to have you stop by again. Blessings.
A.P.E= Important steps to avoid burnout, thank you! Stopping by as your neighbor on the #RaRaLinkup.
Katie- thanks for stopping by today! And I love how you said APE=Important Steps to avoid burnout – — so like that as a title for this piece. LOL I kept trying to think of a different title and one never came – until I just read your post. I love it. thanks for sharing.
Relationships should take precedence over ministry. I need to remember that one because frankly, our ministry means nothing if we neglect the relationships of those closest to us. Thanks Debbie for not letting me go APE!
Rachel – You are so welcome – we can help each other from not going APE. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. You are so correct, ministry means nothing if we neglect the relationships closest to us. I love the way you phrased it. Blessings
Oh, I’m so glad I discovered your blog and this post! I can so relate and I’m actually going through this right now, without knowing about the acronym! March is my birthday month – I’ll be 58 on the 29th – and I’ve been doing some soul-searching about how to overcome some strongholds in my life so I can be more productive and feel content at the end of the day instead of frustrated. Now I know I’ll just have to implement the “APE” plan! Thanks for sharing!
K. Lee – I am so glad you found my blog and just in time to make your birthday month fabulous! Happy Birthday month to you. I too love to celebrate my birthday not just one day but at least a week and if my family will allow, I try to stretch it the entire month. Enjoy implementing APE – it will definitely help you not go ape.
Love the acronym. I need to do more of this, especially the asking for help. Thanks for sharing on #FridayFrivolity
Audrey – Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I think the asking for help is hard for a lot of people… I know it is the one I struggle with the most.
A helpful acronym. Sorting things out is a challenge for me. I especially appreciated these words: Relationships should always take precedent over ministry or extracurricular tasks
Natalie – I am so glad the acronym helps you out, and thank you for sharing the words that touched you the most today. Blessings to you
Isn’t it crazy how we go on vacations, and need a vacation afterwards for the vacation?! I love the acronym of APE. I have a hard time asking people for help. Thanks for sharing your encouragement and advice with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week 🙂
Kelly – yes! it is crazy and often had said those very words – “I need a vacation from our vacation!” LOL It is hard to ask other for help, but I am finding it helps me to build more authentic relationship with others around me. So glad to have you stop by
Glad you were able to get away and grow. Our family went on a church retreat this week, too. Thanks for sharing your APE strategies at the #LMMLinkup.
Thank you Leslie – I am glad you got to get away for a retreat with your family as well.
Debbie, this is so timely. Lately we’ve been so busy that I’m mentally and physically exhausted. When I sit down to write I can’t even think to write a post, let alone write a post that someone will want to read. The things we’ve had to do needed to be done, had to be done, and I am thankful that my husband had the week off work-vacation-lol! He didn’t think much of it as a vacation either, and there were no umbrellas in our orange juice. LOL
But now that these things are done I am hoping that we will be able to re-organize, re-prioritize and breathe. I need to have a little A-P-E in my life. Thanks for sharing this, it’s exactly what I needed!
Nikki – I am so glad that this post found you at a time when you needed it. I am sorry to hear that you have been physically and mentally exhausted, I often find myself there and it is not so fun. I am glad your husband had time to help you too. Mine often finds himself coming to my rescue, but it is not ideally what he would prefer to do. I so long for the umbrellas in my orange juice too — hopefully it will happen for us both in the near future. So glad I could send a little A-P-E your way.