Five Things I'm Choosing Every Day This Year
And cringe at some of our behaviors in the past.
In terms of how we have been living for the past few years, we could have definitely made some smarter moves when it came to just about every part of our lives, both individually and as a team, married couple, parents, Christians, etc. After taking a good look at my heart and my inner being, it is easy to see that all of our decisions were based out of total fear and anxiety. Fear of "can we make this decision and then afford to deal with the consequences, both monetarily and emotionally" and anxiety of "what if we make this other decision and then regret it in the end. Fear and Anxiety drove every bit of our path for the past few years, with a little bit of self-indulgence and plain and simple ignorance.
We are on the path to a new life, and with that comes decisions based on information, confidence, and an eternal mindset, rather than an immediate impact.
So with all that in mind, these five things I have vowed to choose every day this year. It will not be easy, I'm sure of it, but I know it will change my life tremendously because I have started.
I am choosing LESS of everything this year. Less work, less heartache, less stress, less involvement, less debt, less stuff, and less wants. I want to pare down to the minimum in everything in my life to really make more room for the important stuff like Jesus, my family, and our future.
We purged a ton of stuff when we moved to Spring this year. We took truckloads and truckloads to the dumpster and Goodwill, donated things to friends, boxed up and shipped baby stuff to family who needed it. Anything that we hadn't laid a hand on in a year went away. I still feel as though I am drowning in stuff but we certainly have much less than we did 6 months ago!
I've found ways to streamline my days so that I have more time to get work done, less work to do in that time, and less things to keep me worried about the next day's to do list. This has taken three + years of working on it - it certainly did not come overnight. But through trial and error, experimenting, batch processing, consolidating, and simply saying no, I've finally found a balance between my personal life, work life, and still fulfilling what my passion is, which is helping other small business owners find their sweet spot too.
Inner peace, outer peace, financial peace, peace with my body, peace with my husband - all sorts of peace - I'm after it this year. But yall that does not just happen. That is like people who pray for world peace. Asking for it does not make it happen (uhhh clearly.) Wanting it does not make it happen. Choosing peace every single day doesn't make it happen immediately - but it does make it happen eventually.
Every morning, I wake up put on my imaginary peace cloak (please stay with me!) and start with a few moments in the Word, usually seeking out a verse about God's peace in our lives. Even just those 2-3 minutes focused on that, rather than the impending doom of the upcoming day, helps me feel like I'm in this nice little warm bubble that protects me from things that can damage my peace for the day. You know how Joy from Inside Out always emanates that little bit of golden fuzz around herself? That is how I imagine myself now after some time spent reflecting on peace, with that bit of protection to keep all the sadness, anger, disgust, and fear off of my control board.
PS - if you have not already seen Inside Out, may I highly recommend it. I consider it one of those life-changing movies!!
Lesson One in Financial Peace University: You cannot save money without some level of contentment. This is key in learning how to be financially responsible - it is impossible to save up for anything in life if you constantly feel like you need the next new thing, whether it be a remodel on a home, shiny new gadget, a sparkly bit of jewelry, or that new-fangled robot on wheels they are calling a car these days.
Being content is hard - especially when we are expertly marketed to and told we must have these things in order to be happy. Happiness does not come from stuff - it comes from this place within that God has orchestrated within each of us to be pleased with Him and what He has asked us to manage in this life. When you let other things get inside of that place, like jealousy, envy, and greed, that contentment goes out the window. Those are tough words to swallow but they are the truth.
When your best friends sends you a picture of her brand new car, and you feel like you deserve one too, that is jealousy. You can't put another name on it - that is straight up jealousy.
When you get a bonus and you want to go out and buy several new outfits, rather than tithe out of it and put it towards something responsible, like your emergency fund or into your retirement, that is greed. You're making a decision based on what you think you need in that moment rather than being content with what is already in your closet.
When you borrow money to buy something you think you need but you can't afford it because you've seen other people with it - that is envy. Envious people will never, ever be truly happy.
These three things can destroy your life and can cause you unending trouble. I know this because I have $35,000 in debt left to pay off after a life of being jealous, greedy, and envious.
I want to live intensely this year. Intense into all areas of my life - my spiritual walk, my relationship with my husband and son, my work and passion. I want intensity to be how my days are planned so that I can get my life back where I want it to be. Intense prayer, intense attention on my marriage, intense interaction and parenting with my son, and intense goals and ethics with my work. I want to be exhausted at the end of my days, based on the intensity with which I approached it. I want to look back at 2016 and know that I did not pull back anywhere and that every bit of my life got the best out of me this year.
Yes yes, I know this is a buzz word and trust me when I say I hate using it. I'm even rolling my own eyes at my obnoxiousness! But the truth is that without intention, my life became a willy-nilly mess of floating around with no direction or goals. (Reminder to those $35,000 dollars in debt!!) I've learned to make choices with intention behind them - true intention instead of feel-good intention - and I've learned there is a big difference in the two.
Being intentional is what has helped me write this entire list of things I'm choosing this year because everything stems off of that. I want to be more intentional with my family, which means choosing less of other things. I want to be more intentional with peace, so I'm choosing to focus on that every day rather than the anxiety that takes over when I let it. I want to make decisions that are intentionally based off contentment in what I have rather than feeling like I haven't been provided with everything I need. I want intensity to intentionally drive my day rather than lack-luster.
You see, being intentional is the first step towards really marking off any to-do list, no matter how long it is. When you start choosing to be intentional and keeping that at the forefront of your mind, rather than what feels good at the moment or what sounds like the best idea, that is when you really start living the live you were intended for.
What five things are YOU choosing every day this year?