Sunday, August 08, 2004

The gluttonous time-eating church and other insidious monsters...

I'm cold, tired, and miserable... At least I'm not sick. =) I'm cold because I just biked home in the rain, tired because I went to a 21st last night, and miserable because I am hopelessly overcommitted. That's why I haven't been posting for a few days. "No one can serve two masters," and yet here's me - trying to serve outragously heaps... Each week, I'm committed as follows:
  • In the music team at church (3 hours Thursday, plus an average of 6 hours Sun)
  • My Wed night cell group (3 hours), and writing Bible studies for them (6 hours)
  • Monday night cell group (3 hours)
  • Tuesday night NAVS group (4 hours)
  • Gym (3 hours)
  • Church leader's small group (3 hours every 6 weeks)
  • Crazy random church events that I keep on getting roped into.
  • My two thesis supervisors to do my presentation (about 16 hours total including prep) and write a paper (heaps of hours)
  • Lecturer of MATH171 for tutoring 7.5 hours a week.
  • Lecturer of ENME211 for tutoring CAD 3 hours a week, and marking about 20 hours of assignments (must do before 23 Aug, giving me two weeks)
  • Lecturer of ENCH263 for marking 40 exam papers - probably take about 30 hours total (must do before 23 Aug, giving me two weeks)
  • God - trying to do 20-30 hours a week of recording music - needless to say this is not currently not happening at all
  • God - trying to do the whole morning quiet time/prayer/bible reading thing, also not currently happening much
  • Youth music team - heaps of hours
  • Cajz - trying to get album made and released (this is also taking plenty of time)
  • Friends - I think I have to make time for friendship in here...
No wonder I feel overcommitted... I am! Service committments total committments total well in excess of 26 hours. Already my weekly committments total an average of well over 38.5 hours - not including the thesis presentations, paper, marking, music, music team, or cajz. Adding in them - I would hate to think how many hours of work a week I'm actually trying to do. Adding in the marking and presentation preperation alone brings it up to 72 hours. Given that I need 9 hours sleep a night, that gives me 33 hours remaining in the week. I estimate about 12 of them are spent travelling to and from places, 15 on food, and 11 on everyday things that just need doing like washing and dishes and brushing my teeth and stuff. Combined with an average of about 10 hours a week or so for social activity. That gives me a total of -15 free hours in the week. It's no wonder can't seem to get it all done...

*sigh* I can't do it all... I'm not doing even close to all that - it's just not possible. When I've finished the marking, presentation, and paper perhaps things will settle down a little. But I've been holding out for the music thing for sooooo long - we're talking 2 years of planning to do this... and now I have the chance and my time is being hungrily eaten by all these other nice things. Is it good to spend 2 years building up to a project and then not getting a chance to do it because you had your time too spread over other things?

Church is eating up my time like an insidious lizard with a large gluttonous mouth, and I am starved.

Don't get me wrong, I want to do all that I'm involved in... for different reasons. But I can't help but think I need less responsibility. But what do I do? I guess youth music team is probably the first to go - they just assume I'm able to play whenever they want at 5 hours notice anyway, cursed cell phone technology. Wed night cell group is probably the next, as much as I love teaching them and learning myself, and possibly NAVS. I might just flag the thesis paper - it seems unrequired at this state. I might also be able to palm off some marking - that would be nice, but I need the cash because I'm trying to be self-sufficient this year. The Cajz thing remains on the back-burner as always, regrettably along with spending time with God and the Bible.

Ideally, this is how I'd break down my week:
  • 35 hours music
  • 10.5 hours tutoring - no marking
  • 1 hour each day with God and the Bible (7 hours)
  • Monday night cell (3 hours)
  • Tuesday NAVS (4 hours)
  • Church music team (6 hours)
Bringing it up to 65.5 hours of committed time, but only 16.5 hours service committment. Perhaps I can handle that.

Perhaps I shall have to not be so overcommitted, as it is driving me literally mad. Perhaps I shall have to strike down the time-gluttonous church lizard and give my stupid marking the old heave-ho... go back to being broke, go back on my committment - that sounds so wrong - it's not a committment unless you're committed to it... *sigh again*

I wouldn't have trouble if my music committment was for someone ELSE... that would be easy to defend spending the time when it's for someone else. But I am my own master with recording music, and others don't see any responsibility there - "no, you don't need to commit yourself to your own work - only someone else's," they think... "Sure, God might be saying 'do music', but I better to what the church wants first... and if there's no time left well that's too bad."

It happened to my sister... she ended up feeling like she was no longer serving the church, but chained to it. It's happened to a few other people I know in music teams and ministry. Surely it shouldn't be like that?


That's another hour gone, =) I best get to work.


Fraser Dron said...

Dude! I knew you were busy, but I had no idea! (You probably know me as "Mr. Lazy"). Honestly, mate, you need to take a break from church music! Never thought I'd tell someone that! But get out while you still can...... The thing about volunteer stuff, especially for a church, it seems, is that you can quickly become indispensable (and more so with the more responsibility you're given); and once you become embedded in the system, as it were, people tend to forget about you. You're probably doing great stuff in the music teams, NAVs, your Wednesday cell group and the rest - work that impacts people positively and really helps - but what's the point of doing all these good things if it's not what God's told you to be doing? What's the point if it burns you out? What's the point if it reinforces people's natural inclination to take people like you for granted?

So, take the advice of someone who really doesn't know what you're going through, but who's seen others in similar situations: Pull off the leeches; throw off the burden of other peoples' expectations and focus on what you know is important: time with God, work, fulfilling your calling, and doing the things you're committed to doing, rather than the things others assume you're committed to doing. I'll pray that God'll sort it out :)

Andrew said...

You left out "Blogging: 5 hours" in your list.

Sometimes I feel the same Reubz, but dropping commitments doesn't necessarily help... I got annoyed last year at my level of commitments and cut half of them, but I've just found that I'm a natural time-waster and will find creative ways of wasting the time I would have otherwise spent in productive stuff.

That said, you look to have too much on your plate, giving stuff the cut looks like a good idea.

Kelly said...

Do you really need 3 cell groups? You should really give up the other 2 and just come to Navs. hehe.

Far out matey, this is your life happening right now, so if it's not what you think it should be then it's probably a good idea to start pruning rather than waiting for it to change sometime in the future.
Good luck, be brave.

The Knowledge Sensor said...

Satisfaction in life is never guarenteed no matter how much we wish to put into life.

It appears as if in trying to help all those around you, you are neglecting to see that without time for yourself, you will rapidly have no ability to give time to others.

Life is about balance. Too much church can be like too little. Wearing on the soul.

You need to consider what God wants you to do with the time he has given you in light of the talents you have.

What activities which you do best fufill the gifts he has given you and so bring the most fulfillment of himself through you to those around you?

To remain over committed is to remain trapped, and so remain less able live for God that he would want to have for you.

Balance is a base for a living a Christ fullfiled life.