Life is Tough
You guys, the demands that life places on each of us are uniquely challenging and, sometimes, it just gets to be too much. Before long, survival mode becomes the normal way of life. But it shouldn’t be that way. You can Live Life Greater and that, most definitely, is my goal for you!
Take a moment and evaluate your life. Do you have balance? Do you have goals you are actively working toward? Are you living the life you’ve always wanted?
Are you where I’ve been for the last year and a half? Have you been feeling like you’re spinning your wheels? Just getting the bare necessities done just so you ca
n keep your head above water? Housework, job stress, family demands, financial pressure, social expectations, and spiritual dryness all feel like too much to get out from under! Are you exhausted all the time, feeling depressed and completely inadequate because you can’t seem to make any headway? Anybody? Can I get a show of hands, please?
Been there, done that, Baby! The good news for you is you can change it! Whew! I can’t put into words how good it feels to get things done! Seriously guys, I’m addicted to productivity and loving it! This is a new place of happy for me and I’m going to walk you through my process of giving up, getting up, and reclaiming my life!
The Choosing the Right Battle Wins the War
Staying on top of things has been a lifelong struggle for me, but ever since the adoption process started, I’ve been watching my life slowly unravel. I’ve been so far behind in basics in life (i.e. cleaning, organizing, finances, paperwork, laundry, grocery shopping, long-term planning, etc.) that I never could seem to get control of things! I was doing whatever was most pressing at the time, hoping that everything else would work itself out eventually, and holding on for dear life! This was my normal.
Even when Zach and I would set aside a day to clean or work on paper organizing and such, I couldn’t seem to make any headway. It felt like once the kids (and all their STUFF) came into the picture, my productivity was cut down about 75%! I was drowning!
Follow These Steps
If you find yourself nodding along with my struggles, I want to encourage you. There is hope! Things can change and it all starts with you. Here are 3 steps I took to help me take my life back:
1- Give up
Nike says “Just do it.” I say, “Just don’t. Just quit.” Just kidding… kinda!
My momma raised me to finish what I started. I am not a quitter. However, sometimes you just gotta quit what’s not working for you! You control your life, don’t let your life control you!
I completely gave up and, despite what everyone around you seems to say, it’s a good thing! Let me explain.
- I quit doing too much.
I had my hand in 500 things. It was overwhelming for me before the kids came along. Trying to maintain the same pace of life while raising two babies was suicide and it was causing some major depression in my life. I started stepping back, saying “no,” and evaluating my time spent. Realizing that you need to take the time to evaluate how you spend your time was a big breakthrough for me! Just stop and think about how you spend your time.
- I quit expecting too much of myself.
In my mind, I need to be perfect at everything. I know! That seems so silly! But it’s the truth! Being a pastor’s wife, a worship leader, a mom to a uniquely formed family, I felt like I needed to “have it all together.” Maintaining the façade was so taxing! Messy house? Do my socks really have to match? Did I put makeup on? Who really cares? I took the pressure off myself and tossed all the preconceived expectations.
- I quit bad habits.
This is a big one. Stop doing the little things that do more harm than good. For example, Zach and I had a habit of sitting down and watching TV for an hour or two after dinner. No harm done, right? WRONG! Two hours five times a week adds up to a lot wasted time! I identified the habits that were not helpful and worked on quitting them. Things like going to bed after midnight, eating too much fast food, and starting my day looking at social media. What a difference those little tiny changes made! Identify bad habits and stop doing them.
2 – Get up
Now channel the giving up momentum into the getting up process. Start with these two small things:
- Simplify, simplify, simplify
Don’t focus on too much at once or you’ll find yourself right back at square one, expecting too much of yourself! Pick one thing (ONE THING!) that is weighing on you and needs the most of your attention beyond the day-to-day necessities. I picked the finances and focused all my extra attention and time (that I was saving not doing things like watching TV) on getting our finances back under control.
- Make a plan
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. -Benjamin Franklin
This is a big part of living life greater. You need to live on purpose, not “just let things happen.” Wake up and start your day with intentionality. Start with a simple plan of how you want your day to go… and then live the day you want to live. Remember to keep it simple, realistic, and flexible. Things rarely go as planned, especially if you have kids, BUT if you have a plan you’ll be able to look back on your day and, instead of feeling like you weren’t able to get anything done, you’ll see what you did accomplish! It’s empowering!
3- Reclaim life
If you can make it to this step, you are going to feel excited at the changes you are feeling and seeing! What’s next? Live a renewing life! What I mean is I want you to set up your life to help you renew your strength and motivation daily.
- Replace the wasted time with constructive time and the bad habits with good ones.
My husband and I replaced the after dinner TV time with hubby/wife talk time while we clean the house together. Quite honestly, WE LOVE IT! I get to reconnect with my husband, put the house back in order, and prepare for the next day all at the same time. I don’t miss the TV at all… not one bit! We will still very occasionally watch a show together but it’s rare because, honestly, we just don’t want to.
- What goes into your mind and heart, directly affects what comes out.
Realize that what you put into your mind and heart, is what you are going to see come out. TV causes you to disengage your mind from life so if that is your primary place of rest, over time, you will find yourself seeking to disconnect and disengage from the problems you are facing. Does that mean TV and similar forms of entertainment are bad? No, not at all but it is bad if you are investing too much time there.
Choose something renewing to put into your mind and heart that will encourage you to engage with life! I started listening to podcasts and audiobooks every day to help me engage in the problems that I was tackling. My initial focus was tackling my finances so I listened to financial podcasts and books. Then I moved onto housekeeping and organizational blogs and books. It made SUCH a difference! I woke up every day with inspiration to change my life and I was equipped with the knowledge and motivation to do so.
One thing leads to another! As motivation and momentum builds, you will begin to see how invigorating it is to be the one telling your time and resources what to do! One project quickly leads to the next! Life feels so good!
So, as I take my life back, I’ll share my stories with you! Here’s where I started:
I hope that helps get the inspiration juices flowing!!! Share with us in the comments section below what is one bad habit you’re going to work on giving up and what’s the one major thing you’re going to tackle first to get in order! We might have some insight for you!