Monday, August 15, 2011

Structure, Structure... Where are thou, O Structure?

Photo credit: roganjosh from morguefile.com

Most people who know me know that I embody the "task oriented" personality. I enjoy and find satisfaction in making lists, accomplishing tasks and organizing people, places and things. This is probably why I spent 6 years in the events industry...

Ironically, my current lifestyle completely lacks structure. Each day is different and although we have many tasks to accomplish, the regularity and predictability of our life has completely changed. Knowing my personality, I knew that this season of life would lead to new challenges...and I was right! Nate and I have been learning how to create structure within our days when there is none. We have been wrestling with finding a balance between working diligently and finding time to rest and relax. We have been learning how best to communicate about daily tasks, work together and compromise.

Through practice and the guidance of some valued mentors, we have devised several "strategies" to discover structure and balance in this phase of life...
  • We schedule "work hours" into to our day, so we can be sure we're working diligently and faithfully on ministry, but also not neglecting rest and fun
  • My mind is always mulling over details...but now I write down my ideas and thoughts when I think of them, and share them with Nate when we are "working". This way, I don't bombard Nate with details all the time. 
  • Nate and I share google documents and calendars to keep track of tasks and our schedule.
  • In ministry, there is always more to be done. And life is like that now for us, too. There are always more people to call, more books to read and more german lessons to complete. We are discovering strategies now to create structure and balance that we will surely use on mission field!
  • When we are not traveling, I have decided to make certain things a daily priority, such as prayer, bible study, exercise, reading, and german lessons (with Rosetta Stone). I don't always succeed in accomplishing all of these, but focusing on them helps to keep my actions in line with my priorities.
What do you do to create structure? When do you avoid structure to allow for flexibility?