(Written in 2019 and republished in 2022.)
Choosing your BEST LIFE so you can create the “hum” in your home means living your personal best which fuels you to transfer your finest to the work in your home.
“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12 (NLT)
Choosing your best life means evaluating all parts of yourself on a regular basis so that you can make necessary changes and improvements. Like the verse above, desire to grow so you will use the briefness of this life wisely. This year I am working on my pilot license, so I am learning to trust the instruments in front of me. Early in this process a fledgling pilot flies only in clear skies where all things can be identified visually. After earning a private pilot’s license, a pilot then embarks with courage to earn the instrument rating needed to fly a plane in poor visibility. When competent in this area, a pilot learns to completely trust the instruments in front of him or her to determine where the plane is located and how to keep the wings parallel with the ground.
Life is similar to this concept. In order to know where I am located in life, I need to pause and look at the instruments that indicate where the horizon is actually located. Once I am readjusted and definite about my position, I can proceed. In the same way, clarity in functioning to our best frees us to live daily with decisions that meet our overall goals. When we fail to center ourselves, we risk wandering aimlessly. When we break down, it is often from fatigue or overload. Sadly, we often give up when we are completely depleted. It is important to restore and replenish ourselves to be able to take care of others well. Just like in an airplane, we must secure our oxygen masks before assisting others with theirs.
When you find yourself depleted, pause and spend time evaluating all areas of your life. Do you have margin? Do you have space in your days for relaxation? Do you have clarity concerning when to say no to an opportunity? If you find yourself drained, pause and re- evaluate. Limit overstimulation. Consider the source of your exhaustion. Identify people and situations that suck the energy out of you. Make changes. Question whether your interactions with others are life giving or life taking.
Exhaustion also sets in when we are too accessible. Choose what is best. Agree to do what you can do well. Build in times of replenishment. Establish a workable way to say “no.” When I am asked to do something, I consider if it fits in the goals that I have resolved that best represent my overall mission. If I determine to decline, I respond somewhat like this: “Thank you for demonstrating confidence in me to do this job. However, I feel that this responsibility is worthy of a job done well. I am not in a position to give it my very best. Therefore I must decline the opportunity to say yes. Thank you for honoring me with an invitation to help.” The concept is that you say no, but thank them for asking. The result is the same as just simply saying “no,” it just sounds friendlier and shows more civility.
Life is somewhat like this idea. If a person always moves forward without pausing to redirect or secure his or her movement, the destination is most uncertain. With your spiritual self as well as your physical and mental self, I recommend looking at the Word of God to be sure that you are on the very best path. Proverbs 3:5,6 (ESV) states that we are to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Pour over the scriptures for wisdom and direction. As you create a written list of the areas where you would like to hear God, ask Him to speak wisdom to you. Dwell on these concerns for days. Sit quietly and ask God to reveal his very best for you in this season of life and in this area. Ask Him to “create a clean heart” in you. When I am most desperate for God to speak to me, I sit quietly in a peaceful spot, preferably outside, and ask Him to whisper to me. Listen. He reveals a secret when he instructs us to “be still and know that I am God.” This indicates that if it is noisy in my sphere, I will not be able to hear. This is key to being a mature woman of God who is blessed and living the best life that God planned for me.
Ask what God wants you to do with your time which is actually the time he has given you. In Ecclesiastes 5:5 (NLT) we are reminded that, “It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.” Don’t promise what you will not do or what you cannot do. Commit to completing your work with excellence or don’t agree to pledge your time or word. Practically, evaluate all that you are already committed to when considering something new. If your time, skills and willingness fit well, consider responding positively to the request. Resist the urge to agree based on your desire to make the person asking feel warmly toward you. Be thoughtful about your response in conjunction with availability.
Undoubtedly, you have met people who seem vibrant and energized to complete the day ahead. While life offers a number of surprises such as nights that do not allow for sleep and problems that need solving, a healthy attitude to approach each day is important for healthy living. I propose looking deeply at who you are as a whole person. Give God each day. Remember, we can make plans, but God directs our days. Life is predictably unpredictable. Suddenly a kid gets sick or dinner burns or you have an ingredient missing in the meal you planned. Medical emergencies, disappointments, traffic delays, physical limitations and urgent needs that were not on your intentions for the day. On days like this and all days, God knows what is on the schedule. He is never surprised.
Some ask how they can find more time. In John 9:4 (NLT) we are reminded that, “We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.” Our life is not infinite. Every day is full of choices of what to do and how to use our time. Urgency to act is implied. Determining our assigned tasks by God leads to living a fulfilled life.
So often the focus of our days is trapped in the urgency that propels us to respond to a list of demands. I suggest regularly stepping aside into a quiet contemplative place to consider your whole purpose and responsibility. Are you living your best life? This is not a question that asks if your life is perfect. It does not ask if your days are trouble free. It does not ask if you are free from needing to grow.
To live with focus is to live intentionally.
Whether you are a single person, a spouse or a parent, set aside time regularly to evaluate all the parts of yourself. Take a systematic look at all the parts of your life. I suggest evaluating these parts as each season changes or with each transition in life. Examine your situation each spring, summer and fall. Begin with some of these ideas:
Intentional Planning Ahead
I use a tab in the back of my day planner. Since I can add additional tabs, I flip back to early thoughts to encourage myself and thank God for my blessings. Another location for planning might be a journal. If you are a parent, you might contemplate a notebook with a tab for each child in your home. As each season approaches, look at the last page of thoughts. Celebrate progress. Move unmet objectives forward. Dream new desires.
My middle child did not love “planning sessions” as I aimed to guide her in dreaming her own dreams and methodically working out the details to see them actualized. In high school I would buy a box of ginger snaps if we needed to sort out some details with the planners. Although she loved the bribery, she hated planning. Her first year at college had her scrambling to organize her time on her own. Needless to say, she has asked for a planner for her birthday every year since. This makes me smile. She now sees the excitement of laying out your dreams, sorting goals with priorities, and creating an order of phone calls or actions. More is accomplished when you take time to plan.
Ask God for guidance concerning your physical health, spiritual health, relational health, mental and emotional health. If you are interested in an in-depth conversation about living your best life, check out my book in Hum of the Home. So much can be accomplished when you strive to live your very best life. Evaluate all the parts of your life. Take action where change is needed. Plan to start new healthy habits. Dream big.
Embrace simplicity. Embrace order. Embrace living.
Books with more details on this subject:
Hum of the Home: Routines and Rhythms of Homemaking
Nurturing My Nest: Intentional Homebuilding and Custom Built Education
More blogs with inspiration:
20 Social Skills to Improve Your Sociability
Anatomy of an Affair: How Affairs, Attractions and Additions Develop
Songs for Life: Music for Spiritual Formation in Children
Join me for more in a conversation with Tim on Embrace Your Everyday podcast.
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