Plans to Be All-Things-To-All People
For the past two years, I diligently worked to create a website to support caregivers. Initially, I planned to have an elaborate website that was all-things-to-all-people, i.e., a caregiver’s dream come true. For months, I learned all sorts of things about website design and other computer necessities. I made lots of mistakes, started over repeatedly, cried in frustration, fussed way too much, and talked to myself a lot. Finally, I stood back in satisfaction, deciding that I had enough to introduce the project to caregivers.
Is All-Things-To-All-People Too Much to Handle?
Though a challenge to my skills, over the two years, I completed a welcome section, orientation to caregiving, caregiving emotional impact, community forums/chat rooms/ blogs, marketplace, a resource center, and a question/answer section where members could contact me for information and assistance on topics of interest or concern to caregiving. The website covered most of the crucial topics I wanted to provide, but I wasn’t sure if that would be enough to ensure all caregivers were covered.
Filled with Self-Doubt
I felt compelled to work on it as often as I could, seeking new information and resources all the time. I spent every spare minute sitting at my computer researching information, all the while feeling like I was letting someone down that needed my help. Then I began to doubt my ability to keep up with the ongoing needs of those who might need the resources I wanted to provide. Would I be able to respond to their requests promptly? What would happen if Lynn became hospitalized or I became sick? Would I have anyone to take over? I quickly discovered that fear could take over my mind and destroy my ministry if I could not guard against self-doubt. To keep moving forward, I have to remind myself to regularly pray for strength and courage.
Caregivers Have Limited Time for Extra-Curricular Activities
I used to feel that I could do almost anything I needed to do. I had a lot of self-confidence at one point in my life – “Give me a problem, and I would find a way to solve it” was my motto. However, that changed after becoming a full-time caregiver and tried balancing work, family, and home. Carrying the weight of being “all-things-to-all-people” came with a price. It often meant making a lot of personal sacrifices in spending long hours single-handedly solving problems. I lost friendships, the respect of people with whom I worked, lack of understanding by many who saw me as distant and unfriendly rather than exhausted with no time to interact.
Struggle with Time Management
As a caregiver, I continue to struggle and have difficulty managing time. I have limited time for project work. Deciding to work late into the night means my husband doesn’t eat dinner or take medication on time, and he goes to bed late. Furthermore, I get less than my usual five hours of sleep. Having experienced the impact of going through the day with only four hours of sleep or less many times in the past, I try to avoid repeating that experience when possible. Therefore, being “all-things-to-all-people doesn’t work well for me for extended periods of time though I’ve been trying to do it for over ten years now.
In looking over my first version of my website, I realized that once again, somewhere along the way, the desires of my heart silenced reality, and I tried to create a website that would be all-things-to-all-people. Upon making that realization, I felt incompetent and wanted to quit. What was I thinking? Most weeks, I could spend no more than 15-20 hours working on the site. The rest of the time, I needed to be a caregiver. Furthermore, building the site was costly. I could not afford to keep up with the ongoing renewals and upgrades. Everything seemed to be pointing toward me letting go and taking down the website; however, God had different ideas.
God Is In Control
I heard a little voice inside telling me, “No. Don’t give up, but don’t take on the world either.” God was not expecting me to be all-things-to-all-people. He was just asking me to do my best. I started over. Instead of providing everything I thought caregivers needed, I focused on what I thought new caregivers needed most. When I first became a caregiver, I needed help knowing how to manage caring for someone in the home because bedroom furniture doesn’t work like hospital equipment. Family caregivers don’t have medical equipment readily available to help them do what they need to do. Therefore, family caregivers need help learning how to safely and efficiently do things in the home that will not hurt them or their family member.
Having acquired that insight, I changed my focus to finding new resources, adapting hospital procedures to work in the home, and writing about reorganizing a home to work for medical needs. I thought about what went wrong when Lynn came home from the hospital and which issues frustrated me the most about dealing with the healthcare systems. From those memories, I pulled together my ideas for my website. I also incorporated feedback from my two daughters, who each have special needs children who regularly deal with the healthcare community. Between the three of us, we have a wealth of knowledge about what works and what doesn’t, what’s needed, and where to get it.
Stepping Out In Faith
I’m still afraid to launch this website. Afraid my caregiver duties will interfere with being able to keep up with the demands of the website. Some weeks Lynn needs me all the time; other weeks, not as much. I know in my heart some caregivers need this information. I also feel that God will help me reach those who need it. However, even though I am afraid, I will step out in faith to launch this website. I will also try to remember that God does not expect me to be all-thing-to-all-people. He only expects me to do my best for him. As long as I’m working for God and doing His will, this is His mission, and He will run interference for me. So, bear with me if I’m slow to get back to you or if you find mistakes. I promise to do my best, and I know God will be faithful.