Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.
but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 15:22 (NIV)
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)
Before the end of last year, I pledged to be better; more intentional; more consistent, by creating a list and making myself accountable. I also pledged to put it out there, to declare it to the Universe, just I case anyone was listening. As I mentioned at my last check in, in some areas I’ve made consistent progress, but as always, Lord knows I have work to do.
As I said originally, this commitment is so much larger than just doing things better. I want to stretch towards my God-granted potential. It’s time. I understand the Prayer of Jabez differently, and cannot afford to spend time wasting in my comfort zone. He numbers our days, but we are not privy to the number. It is, therefore, our obligation to live the best of our lives every day.
1-Always a roast chicken in the fridge-RETIRED
I have retired the first item on my list. It’s become a consistent habit, and I am proud.
1- Always pause before speaking, breathe more, talk less, and consciously stop interrupting.
Two, three, and four have become one, under the heading of listening better. Just this week, I had a conversation with my beautiful, wise, and wonderful first born. She was expressing some frustration with being understood, and I remembered the words of Steven Covey,
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Image borrowed from here,
which you should read,
image by D Sharon Pruit
It was good advice for her, and it’s great advice for me. Learning to be a better listener is not just practical; there is also a spiritual component. If I am listening to the One, I must be still, silent, surrendered, and humbled. So, let’s make that number 2.
2- Remember to be still, silent, surrendered, and humble.
The last time I checked my list, I only dealt with the first 4. Looking at the balance, I need to refocus; I’ve got work to do.
3-Keep my living room clean (this needs WORK)
Granny would have a piece of me if she walked into my house right now. I’ve allowed the kids to drop and run, and we’re all guilty. When someone stops in unexpectedly, I immediately feel tense, and embarrassed. It’s not a good feeling, and it doesn’t take much to get it in right. Having a clean entryway shapes first impressions, and mine need work. I am at ease when there is order, and I am out of order. I commit to making this a priority.
4-Meditate, with my body at rest, at least 30 minutes daily.
I have not made the kind of time for myself, for my spirit, that benefits me or my family. I am still not good at slowing down, but have reaped the benefits of rest. I want more. I still pray and meditate while walking the dog each morning, but that’s moving meditation. I need still meditation because that is good for all of me, mind, body, spirit, and I’m going to get about it.
5-Actively practice the presence of God (more, more, MORE)
I’ve grown here, but I can never grow enough. Lord, let me evolve to the place where I am not thinking about but actively engaging in Your Presence. Consistently. Once, I called it hiding, and promised that you’ll still be able to see me. Well, I’ve changed my mind. I’m moving. I’m moving into actively practicing the presence of God. And I’m staying….
6-Organize at least one thing every month (EPIC FAIL)
I just have not made this a priority; I’ve got to do better. No excuses. I do have great advice from Holley Gerth on making changes to my life. Read the book, but remember this, “don’t go big, go smaller…
7- Remember that although life is scary, pray, breathe, and dance anyway; oh and anything that doesn’t defeat you ISN’T scary. (in progress)
Last year taught me surrender. I came away blessedly broken, reminded forever that it’s not possible to do it alone (without God AND without a supportive and loving community). I also came away with a sense of humor, so much strength, and a sense of fierceness that will not be denied. DANCE ANYWAY. Fear absolutely IS NOT the opposite of faith. DANCE ANYWAY. Deuteronomy 9:3 reminds us to “…be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire.” Daddy is ALL THAT, so you just dance. DANCE ANYWAY. We should focus on being faithful, even in our fear. DANCE ANYWAY. Fear is bad when it paralyzes you. It is bad when it threatens to separate you from the Love of God. He loves us even when we are afraid. Fear is powerful when it can motivate you, so, we need to remember to stay close.
7- Run three times a week.
It’s good for me, and I pray will I do it. Good for body and soul, literally. Easy peasy, done.
8- Consciously build community.
Joining the God-Sized Dream Team (which you should go and meet here), taught me the crucial, critical necessity of NOT REMAINING ISOLATED. I am committed to building my community, both where I can see it, and extending my network, under the heading of enlarging my territory.
9- Finish the book.
I’ve been consistently writing, and have about the first third done. I’m simultaneously writing a book proposal, since, having done my research, know that most non-fiction books get picked up, by agents, based upon my research. I can be done by the end of the year, but here’s a stretch goal…can I get an agent before the end of the year?
10-Remember, God is in control, Not you.
Thankfully, every day, this is my prayer. EVERY DAY. I won’t be taking this off my list. And I will be leaving this prayer here, for me, for you, for anyone praying, promising to make change.
Lord, I surrender. I cannot do it all, and when I try, I fail miserably. When I don't immediately fail, I put my capacity before your Grace and get things all mixed up. I don't like it either way. I'm setting aside capacity in search of sweet peace.
That’s my new list; my playbook for balance of the year. It’s out there now. What’s on your list? Are you brave enough to post it? Are you brave enough to share it with me, or with anyone, to keep accountable?
We can only fail if we try to go it alone.
"Dream a dream so big that unless God intervenes it will fail." ―Hudson Taylor