Friday, November 13, 2009

Seeking a Simpler and Healthier Lifestyle

The secret of contentment is the realization that life is a gift, not a right.

I long for a simple life. Drama doesn't appeal to me and complications just seem to eat up time and energy that could be better spent.  I've been praying and focusing lately on how to simplify my life without wimping out on the adventures and commitments to which God has called me. I doubt that any of my thoughts are original, but they're my thoughts nevertheless.

  • Start and End Each Day with God - my best effort to start and end each day wisely! It's the "in between" that can snag me! :)
  • Think First - I'm sure all of you already do this, but if I don't actively note this, I will speak and act unwisely. Specifically, right now I think about my tone and my motivations.
  • Take a Minute - I tend to jump and I can be rather impulsive. Pausing for a full minute to think it through can change your life drastically! Mostly, I am finding that this prevents me from working hard rather than smart and from having to regret time wasted.
  • Embrace God's Design - I think that is one of the most challenging aspects of having so much information about other people at my fingertips. I look at other women and think that I'll never be that kind of mother, writer, etc. Guess what? I am right...I won't. That's not who God designed me to be. Embracing who God wants me to be means growing through my weaknesses (for in these, He makes me stronger!) and accentuating my gifts by using them for His glory.
  • Just Because I Can Doesn't Mean I Should - this is huge for me. Someone has a need, I have an ability, voila! I get in a lot of trouble because I forget that many people can do what I can do and it's not my responsibility to fix everything for everyone! I think I have a serious desire to please others and that can cause me to overextend myself, with my family usually sacrificing.
  • Prioritize - God, family, church, etc. - prioritizing helps me avoid reacting rather than responding when a complication arises. Realizing that I will either have tomorrow to work on what wasn't done today or I'll be in heaven, helps me sleep better. For many years, I stressed over what couldn't be finished. I would wonder if I chose wisely. I was constantly seeking closure. I  have come to realize that closure isn't a reality...there's always something new so I address what I can and leave the rest for tomorrow.
  • Balance, balance, balance - probably my greatest issue because I tend to be obsessive when I get excited about something. Learning to balance the different areas of my life and giving my time for to those things I have prioritized as higher is a lesson which has taken me most of my life to learn. I've learned that my relationships (particularly my marriage and my children), my health, my "free" time, my work and my spiritual growth all need to be balanced so I don't feel stretched in one area and neglected in another. This is an ongoing process for me, but for the first time in my life, I don't feel guilty for watching a movie with my husband or taking a walk just to take a walk! I am also able to focus during my quiet time with God rather than mentally processing my to do list!
  • Put Margins into Place, even with those we dearly love - some people just drain you because they don't have margins or boundaries. They dive into relationships and expect you to do the same. That's just not usually possible for me and believe me I've tried! However, I am learning how much I can give and still maintain a healthy lifestyle. I have found that when I put margins in place, practice self control and don't get involved beyond my emotional and physical capabilities, I am a better friend. Many thanks to my business partner and friend, Dana Wilson, for explaining this to me a long time ago, even though it has taken me years to implement it!
  • Love Mean People - my daughter, Ally, recently reminded me that we are called to love the unloveable. I realized at that moment that I have great love for those I like but I am not that great at loving those people I find offensive. For some people, it's physical appearance or disabilities. I have no problem with a person who is uniquely designed physically, but I have such a problem with mean people! What I have learned is that loving others, even those I don't like, does make life simpler because I am not wasting energy in a negative way. I can love a person in Christ without having to agree with him or even accept his behavior. As I do this, my own love grows internally and I am more able to handle other situations with more graciousness. God uses such love to grow us in Him, making us more valuable for His kingdom. 
I hope you find my lessons in life valuable. Praise God for His patience with this child as I strive to grow in His mercy and grace daily!

In His Holy Name,

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