There have been many times when I was “giving away my time” (although I wasn’t calling it that then), that I was moody and resentful.
I would be doing something I thought I “should” be doing, yet showing up completely opposite of how I wanted, especially to the people that mattered most to me.
Back in 2008, while prepping dinner for a family in need, I was yelling at my then, very young children to get out of the kitchen and to stop getting in my way. I rushed them out of the kitchen and sat them in front of the TV so I could finish preparing a meal for this family.
Once the meal was ready to be delivered, I impatiently instructed my daughters to hurry up and get in the car.
I snapped at my 6-year-old for carrying the dessert haphazardly, frustrated that the perfect design I placed the cookies in was now ruined.
I reprimanded my 4-year-old for twisting the bread bag so tightly that it squished the rolls.
The entire car ride I shouted at my 3-year-old, “don’t you go to sleep,” because it was 5 pm, and the home we were taking the meal too was 15 minutes away. She didn’t have her nap, and I wasn’t going to let her fall asleep in the car and be up all night.
It wasn’t until much later that night, when these beautiful babies were finally asleep, that I realized I was turning into a monster, and that’s not how I wanted to show up for my kids, or myself. I wasn’t setting the example of service that I wanted to set for them.
I was giving away my time and resenting and yelling at everyone for it, but the person responsible, me!
It was that night that I decided that when I gave of my time, I would WHEN I could do it happily, without guilt, and without sacrificing relationships.
It was so painful when service opportunities were announced in church/community, asking for my time, and I just sat there. I was judging myself for not giving of my time, and I was assuming everyone else was judging me too.
But they weren’t! I bet no one even noticed if I signed up or not.
I have learned, for me, service is meaningful when I can do it with a willing heart and with a peaceful attitude because it’s what I want to be doing with my time, not what I “should be” doing. I get to say yes to service when I want to say yes, and I get to say NO when I don’t think it will help me keep the balance and character that I strive for in my life.
We get to choose how we spend our time and how we feel when we spend that time. When we spend our days working on our priorities, not our “shoulds”… not operating out of fear, or comparison, but out of love and respect for yourself and those around us, we get to show up the way we want to show up spending our time in the best way for us.
To protect what you value most, stop giving away your time.
If you’re not protecting your time, who is?