For this round, Mandy asked:
How do you prioritize? How do you balance paying attention to your writing, critiquing for friends, spending time with your family and earning a living?
This is a kind of a funny question for someone who flies by the seat of her pants. (That would be me.)
I know my answer may not be comfortable for some people to read. Not everyone believes in the same things I do.
That's okay. We all have our own journey.
But since Mandy asked. . .
About 13 years ago, I worked as a pharmacy technician. I hated it. The hours were long. The pay sucked. And, to be quite honest, people are cranky when they're sick. (Not to mention the fact that I picked up every little bug that came along.)
To top all of that off, my situation at home wasn't so great. My husband and I were dirt poor and way too immature to care for an infant properly. It always seemed like I was shoveling to fill one hole only to create another.
I was miserable. There were mornings when, on my way to work, I considered dropping my daughter off at daycare and driving away from my life.
It was that bad.
And then one day, I lost it. As my little girl napped, I sat on the floor of my single-wide trailer and broke my long silence with God. In a nutshell, I told Him I couldn't stand the imbalance in my life anymore. Something needed to change. I didn't know what it was, but I knew I couldn't do it alone.
Of course, as God often does when I speak out loud with Him (as noted here and here), He spoke back.
He told me I should only have two priorities in my life: 1.) Him and 2.) Everything else.
I scoffed. "Geez, God. That's a little self-centered, even for someone who is omnipotent."
His only response was: "Trust me."
That's when I started going with the flow of my life instead of trying to swim against the current. I started listening to that voice inside that told me when to write, when to read, when to crit, when to work, when to push it all aside for the sake of family, and most importantly, when to ask for help.
Oddly enough, less than a month after my conversation with God, I received a job offer from a place where I had applied more than five months earlier. It was a temporary position in the library of a Catholic high school. When that job ended in the spring, my boss -- the principal of the school -- gave a glowing recommendation to the daily newspaper where I now work as a business editor.
Don't get me wrong, I still hit snags. There are times when I get impatient with the speed of my life and push God out of the driver's seat. But the nice thing about crashing now is knowing my assurance provider always has me covered.
Check out what the ever-charming Eric had to say before me. Check out what the colossally creative Christine has to say tomorrow.