“The thief comes only to kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and life to the full" John 10:10 (NIV)
Last year, I realized that my schedule was starting to get the best of me. It felt like it was controlling me, rather than it allowing me to live the life I wanted to live. At times, I felt harried and frazzled and really wanted to blame it all on circumstances.
As a recovering perfectionist, it can still be hard for me to admit when something doesn’t feel right. But I have learned that by the grace of God and paying attention, I can usually get to the bottom of what’s going on. And so I allowed myself to stay curious and wonder about what I could change.
It became clear that it wasn’t a simple fix, but rather a series of adjustments that would keep in line with my goals, my family’s needs and my desires to continue as a professional in my field.
And so I began to chew on some options. I took some risks and said no to things I care about, but caused me to feel overwhelmed.
And then little by little, I began to see progress in what my schedule and the layout of my practical life looked like.
Only recently have I begun to see the fruit of changes I made. Initially, the adjustments looked a lot like faith, as I had to cling to the hope of what I wanted to see but wasn’t yet evident in front of my eyes.
My own struggle and story got me thinking about the way we often stay stuck in our patterns of life.
I think sometimes we’re afraid.
Sometimes we’re numb.
Sometimes we don’t even know it can be any different. We don’t even realize that we GET to choose so much of our life. What a gift.
So, if you’re ready to break out of that pattern, here are just a few things to consider for when you’re ready to start living:
1. Get Your Priorities Straight: This will be surprising, but you don’t have unlimited capabilities (me either!). God has given us limits, and that's a good thing, because it point us to him. When we think we can be all things to all people, we either try to be a part of everything or we want to completely check out (because we burn out). It’s easy to go through cycles like this. It creates a frustrating progression where we either feel uninvolved or overwhelmed. So what’s the alternative? One key that allows us to enact strategies like setting boundaries requires us to know our priorities.
What matters to you? How are you causing that to be a priority in your life? If people looked at your life, how would they know it’s a priority?
2. Stay Curious: If something is continually causing you stress and anxiety, begin to wonder about it. Could it change? Do you need it?
We can quickly get lulled to sleep by routine and by life. We stop asking if new ideas are possible and begin believing that nothing will ever change. But when we are willing to wonder, to ask the question if it’s a possibility for circumstances to change, we then have a place to start. So what are you wondering about?
3. Take a risk: Once we’ve begun asking questions, many folks stop there.
Oh, that’s my next step, well that’s nice. Can you pass the salt?
It’s an entirely different thing to act upon our curiosity and our priorities. This is where we must call on our courage, resources, and faith to bolster us as we do hard things. But if you are already willing to do the work of building awareness of priorities and curiosity, I can bet that it will be worth it for you to risk allowing your life to be different.
How about you? What allows you to live life well?