Reverse-Engineering


My first year of blogging, I wrote five blog posts a week.

That’s crazy.

And when I read back over them, I realize that about forty percent of them are pretty good.

My second year of blogging, I wrote four posts a week, about twenty-five percent of which are pretty good.

Nowadays, I’m writing one post a week, and I’m lucky if twenty percent of them are decent.

What happened?

Or, better yet, how on earth did I do it before? I currently feel really good, because I’m sleeping seven hours a night and getting about four hours of reading/leisure/alone/quiet time every day. What that really means is that I’m not hanging out with friends much, meeting people for coffee, writing, exercising or doing much of anything beyond work, bible studies and time with Jesus.

If I keep this up, I’m going to get lonely and bored.

I know that.

This is a really nice time to rejuvenate, but I’ll start to fill my schedule back up with things soon, which will be great over the summer break… but what happens in August?

In my first two years of blogging, I frequently cut an hour here and an hour there from my sleep schedule.

But that really sucks.

Seven hours is the perfect amount of sleep.

Six hours is manageable.

Five hours means you’d better make an appointment if you want a spot in my life.

And four hours means you sure as heck better not need anything from me unless your name is Shasta OR you communicate it to me a month in advance with a list of bullet points so I can fulfill all of your expectations.

I can live on four hours of sleep AND I can get everything done every day that I want to get done (well, except sleeping).

Hmmmmm….

This summer, I’m going to blog on a regular basis. I’m going to call people up and meet with them for coffee. I’m going to read books, write books and go to every event my church offers. I’m going to exercise (no training for races or anything, but exercise). AND I’m going to sleep.

But, what do I do when work starts again?

The last chapter of the book Real Marriage is about something called reverse-engineering. You can probably guess what that is by thinking for a second or two. At one point in time, I used to be pretty good at reverse-engineering. Then, I forgot to consider myself made myself believe that it’s selfish to ever consider my own desires and instead, I became what everyone else wanted me to be. The final chapter in Real Marriage gives a ton of questions that make you think about what you want for the future and what you hope to be.

I want to be used… by God, for the body.

And it may seem like I’m stupid for trying to meet others’ needs every time they ask me to, but that behavior stems from an overzealous response to Isaiah 6… Here am I. SEND ME!

I want to be a published author.

Spending two hours writing one blog post AND two hours on the manuscript everyday may seem excessive to you, but all of my research suggests that that’s what it takes to become a published author.

I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman.

I used to get home late, eat dinner, pray, read a book about God (not the Bible),  then journal and turn off the lights around mid-night or a little after… hopefully asleep by 12:30. I’d get up early to read my Bible, then go to work, listen to a sermon during lunch, and attend a church event after work or meet with someone for coffee. I know I had an overzealous desire to be the kind of woman who works hard for others and knows God deeply and passionately. But my thought was, “If I’m going to be overzealous about something, that ought to be it.”

So.. I was reverse-engineering my life in some ways that were extreme, but made sense. I’ve known one too many women who say they love God, but never pick up their Bibles, go into a closet to pray or study their faith, and they certainly never put faith into action by using spiritual gifts to help others.

However, fifteen years from now, I see my life a lot like my summers are now. I sleep, spend time with God and in fellowship, serve, write, read, cook, clean, etc… I do not want to be a teacher forever. I do want to get up in the mornings, cook breakfast, have some peace and quiet, then start a day of industriousness and service.

Being a teacher restricts my ability to be that now, which means that I should probably adjust, right? I should probably work towards getting published, but not expect myself to already be everything I want to be in the future. I haven’t exactly figured out in what ways I need to limit myself now, but I’m grateful that the Driscolls included that chapter in their book because it reminded me not to expect more out of myself than God expects. It reminded me that life is a long race, and I probably shouldn’t sprint the entire thing so much as I should run the first mile in such a way that the last mile will be good.

Writing your life story is a lot like writing a book, eh? There are those people out there who we call pantsers… these are the people who sit down and write a book. I’m not one of those. I’m a plotter. I like to make character webs, outlines, photo albums and soundtracks for my manuscripts. I like to reverse-engineer the story by knowing the end early on and making a plan for my characters to get there. Perhaps God would have me write my own story that way as well. What do you think? What does your life look like in fifteen years?

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