Tales Corner – Know Your Limits
I had prepared my mind on playing truancy and skipping classes this month. The reason was that I needed to gain experience in teaching and also get the little cash the summer holiday teaching will fetch for me.
After a long search, I took up a teaching job at a lesson center where I teach the English language to the junior classes. I go three times a week. That is, missing three-morning lectures every week.
From the lesson center, I go to class. After classes, I go to the University radio station where I volunteer. I have other engagements too, meetings, events amongst others.
Most days I leave my house by 8:00 am in the morning and came back by 8:00 pm at night or even later. It is a lot of stress but I’m holding on pretty good. Always, I come back tired but I have to either read, prepare for a quiz or do any other things that come up before allowing my back to caress my bed.
Last week, a friend called me. She graduated last year from the same institution that I am. According to her, a couple needed a lesson teacher for their child. They wanted an Arts teacher particularly. She asked if I was interested in the offer. I said yes. She gave the ‘middleman’ my contact and told me that he will call me.
That same day, I got a call. It was late evening while I was still editing news stories that the sound of my ring tone blasted loudly. The contact was not saved I knew it must be the guy that is looking for a lesson Teacher on behalf of a couple.
I had earlier called my friend telling her about the job and asked if she was interested. She replied in the affirmative. I had given it a thought and concluded it was something I could not do.
When the guy called, I picked up my phone and took the call. After the formalities and exchange of pleasantries, we got into the business of the day. He told me about the offer and how much the pay is.
I promised to get back to him and ended the call. I called my friend and told her about it. She said the pay is small. Immediately I finished speaking with her, I called the guy back and told him I won’t be able to take the job. After talking to him for minutes, he convinced me to take the job offer.
I was still talking to him when my friend called. When I dropped the call and got back to her, she said that after due consideration the offer was not too bad. I was confused because I had already accepted the offer. I told her so and promised to find something else for her.
Hold on, do not misunderstand me. I knew I have a lot on my plate already, that was why I called my friend in the first instance. Seeing that she rejected the offer, the guy convinced me to take the teaching job. He, however, did not know that I never intended to take the job. He did not know that the inquiries were someone else.
That night, I could not sleep. I struggled hard to fix the two lessons on one day and still be able to go to classes and for my other activities. It just wasn’t working. I knew I have reached my limits. I cannot add another workload to the one I was already battling with. Early the next morning I sent the guy a text and sent one to my friend too.
I was supposed to meet the guy that day and promised to come with my friend who will replace me. Everything went as expected and she replaced me to teach the child.
I hope I did not bore you with long details. I just need to ask you a simple question. Do you know when you have reached your limits? Do you stop when you have reached your limits? OK.
That’s two questions. Two important questions I must say. Most times we take up a whole lot of baggage that we can actually carry. We engage in so many things without really achieving much on either of them, despite all the stress we put ourselves through.
Sister Chioma is a nurse who works at Holy Trinity hospital. She is a chorister, a lay reader, and altar decorators. Most times she lives her house in the morning and comes back late evening. Most of the days, she goes to her choir practices and other activities from work. Chioma relies on junks as cooking requires the necessary time which she does not have.
Clement is a secretary at an establishment. He does his secretarial works. He also loves writing and creates content for social media. Clement also wants to learn how to design banners and fliers. He wants to learn digital marketing and how to help people improve their websites. He wakes up early and sleeps late. He calls himself a hustler while he virtually falls sick at least twice a month.
The above two depicts what I mean when I say we don’t know our limits. Stress is not a sign that you are working hard. As Africans that we are, who have faith more than Abraham, we engage in so many activities even though we know clearly that we have reached our limits. You don’t have to stretch yourself excessively beyond your limits.
Drop that scripture verse of Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do everything by Christ who strengthens me’. We obviously misunderstand it. Paul was talking about adapting to whatever little resources he had. He was not expecting God to make him work beyond his physical capacities as a human. God created you, he knows you have limits.
Even Jesus himself knows his limit. He always went with his disciples to a quiet place whenever he needed a break. Of course, as Christians, we are called to make sacrifices but not to workaholism. Utilize your Sunday and rest. Recharge and get ready for the next week. Create time for yourself. It’s for you! Know your limits and then stick to it.
Don’t be a Jack of all trade, master of none.