A Gentle Invitation to Reset
It is that time of year again when a reset is often considered. Maybe you are like me in that you reevaluate all the parts of who you are with the intention of celebrating and amending your every days. Recently, I thought of the joy of this renewing season. It seemed appropriate to consider it as a time of sweet intentions. For those who find lists, organization, day planners, schedules and routines some form of bondage, perhaps a semantic change would appeal with a gentler nudge. Clearly, the positive result is the goal of reseting. Contemplation is a needed step for proper decision making. Three times a year the calendar seems to adjust. The first of the year, the beginning of summer and the start of fall all offer this delightful invitation to reboot.
Let me share how I come to making sweet intentions.
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. She has asked for a planner for her birthday every year since. This makes me smile. She sees the excitement of laying out your dreams, sorting goals with priorities, and creating an order of phone calls or actions. Deciding what you want and need will offer a goal post for actuating everyday activities. More is accomplished when you take time to plan.
Invest in a page in your planner or journal that allows you to dream and plan.
Let me illustrate the categories that you would need to consider for your planner.
- Do I need to go to the doctor for any concerns or check ups?
- Do I need to work on health maintenance?
- Am I current on yearly medical tests? blood work? heart? (If neces- sary, colonoscopy? mammogram? PSA?)
- Do I need to schedule a dentist appointment? Teeth cleaning?
- Orthodontist? Structural work?
- Do I need to schedule a vision test? Update my glasses? Contacts?
- Do I need to schedule massages?
- Other wellness appointments?
- Do I need to see a specialist?
- If it applies, go over your medications. Make sure you have the correct dosage. Are you achieving the results you need?
- Do I need to seek counseling? How is my mental health?
- Am I sleeping well? Am I giving myself enough time to rest?
- What do I need to work on to keep myself healthy? Diet changes?
- Weight loss?
A curious patient is a healthy patient. Your health is of great importance. Focusing on current needs on a regular basis can propel you to take care of maintenance and neglected concerns. If you are the type of person to google health concerns, ask the doctors you see if there is a site that they can recommend for trustworthy information while you are waiting for your appointment. If you make that a standard question, you may locate several quality sources for data.
One question I often ask is, “How many patients have you treated with this problem?” Experience is a critical feature that secures the most competent solution. Another question might be “What would you do if this was your issue?” or “What would you do if this was your wife’s medical concern?” or “Can I treat this another way? Can I treat this nutritionally?” Be sure to develop a written list of concerns when anticipating a doctor’s appointment. Sometimes when you are in an appointment, you forget a critical concern. A list prevents this lapse. Be honest with your health issues. Be proactive and not reactive. Making significant changes in lifestyle takes, first of all, mental strength. Most of this requires planning and preparation. Frankly, staying healthy and moving toward a better place with my health requires mental resolve. For me, I imagine the place that I will be in if I don’t make needed changes.
Many doctors will respond to any issues that prompted the visit, but some will not discuss preventative ideas unless asked. Many patients just want a prescription, not a conversation about how to prevent the problem.
If you have an ongoing issue, ask if there is anything you can do to completely heal it. What is the best way to maintain a healthy lifestyle if it is a permanent problem? Since I have had eleven pregnancies, I struggle with swollen legs when I travel and even just driving around town transporting kids on a long day. This is an continuing problem. Since I love to travel and am frequently taking my children to speech and debate competitions, this needs to be addressed. So, I continue to search for a solution. In hope of new information, I often include this concern in a routine doctor’s appointment. I certainly do not want to have mobility issues because my veins in my legs could be fixed, but I failed to ask the right person. (Update: I found yoga. Keeping my feet active with my toes up and spread out when I stand, or drive or just do the dishes has completely eliminated severe foot pain. A podiatrist diagnosed me with an extreme case of planter fasciitis with the recommendation of surgery. Granted, he would not consider wellness options such as yoga. I am thoroughly healed.)
As believers in Christ Jesus, we rest assured that God created us in the glorious image of Himself. I believe that since God dwells within us, we are called to honor the body as His temple. Our bodies are worthy of care. It is through our bodies that we engage in all that God intends for us in this world. Engage in wholeness. The healthier our bodies are, the more intensely we detect the goodness of the world around us.
Pursuing a pattern of work and rest respects our humanity. Honoring the Sabbath in some form is simple obedience to God’s order of nature. Recognizing the limits of our humanness is a must. Rest invites relaxation, refreshment and replenishment. I am finite. I must live within the boundaries of my human potential. My body is made for rest.
Be empowered with working knowledge of your medical needs.
Pursue healthy choices so that you live your best life.
Some of the questions that I pose to myself when evaluating my spiritual life:
- Am I reading my Bible daily and studying intensely in one area?
- Am I participating in a community of believers studying the Bible?
- Am I praying? Intentionally?
- Am I growing in my prayer life?
- Am I serving?
- Am I practicing hospitality?
- Am I giving to my local church?
- Am I giving to missions?
- Am I serving in my Christian community and outside of my church?
- Am I ministering to my family spiritually? Extended family?
- Am I investing time in discipling someone else? A group?
- Am I memorizing scripture?
- Am I trusting Christ to live His life through me?
- Am I resting in His peace?
Since God gave me children, I take my responsibility to train them spiritually very seriously. As I consider what I need to learn, I also evaluate whether I am teaching them what is essential for them to study. My personal spiritual journey began when I was just a young girl. My parents independently determined that they wanted to invest their lives in sharing the love of Jesus with unreached people groups. So, when they met in college they found each other and decided to team up. My early years were spent on a remote island in the West Indies called St. Lucia. Each morning my mother would rise and turn on the gas stove to boil the sizable pots of water which were waiting. All water used for drinking and any cooking had to be boiled. Then she would slip off into the nearby patio and spend thirty minutes to an hour with God. Many times she would not know that I had followed her. I would listen quietly nearby as she would pray out loud. Just watching her daily apply the scripture to her life and knowing how intensely she conversed with God was ingrained in my soul. Her example inspired me to embrace a life of loving God.
All of us are more convinced by actions than words. I ask myself, “Am I living in a way that persuades others, in particular my family, to grasp the truths and blessing of life lived to love God? What do my children see in me that draws them to a lifestyle of consistent, daily growing in spiritual disciplines?” When I refer to spiritual disciplines, I mean reading the Bible daily, studying deeply on a regular basis, praying, sharing with others, hospitality and doing service outside my home. If the word “disciplines” offends you, think of a friendlier word such as “intentions.” Sweet intentions.
Ask yourself who you are. What roles do you play?
I am a woman.
I am a wife.
I am a mother.
I am a mother-in-law. I am a sister-in-law.
I am a daughter.
I am a sister.
I am an aunt.
I am a teacher.
I am a friend.
I am a neighbor.
I am a group leader.
I am a caregiver.
I am a mentor.
I am a grandmother.
I am a boss.
I am a leader.
List the roles you play. Ask yourself if are forgetting your responsibilities or influence in any of these places.
If you need to, take your planner and think through the opportunities that you have to make an impact on those in your path. Evaluate. Plan. Do. List the people that you need or want to spend meaningful time with regularly. Let this be a prompt for intentional time together.
Physical, spiritual and relational health are just three areas where a reevaluation is valuable. Let this time of consideration leads you to recall the progress that you are making and the goals that you have met.
Even the Bible supports the idea of intentional living. “Wise people think before they act; fools don’t–and even brag about their foolishness” (Proverbs 13:16 NLT).” Choose wisdom that comes from intentionality. Don’t risk the route of foolishness by randomly approaching your future.
Speak gratitude for the increasing blessings.
Pray for guidance and insight.
Dream with sweet intentions!
Join me for a conversation on this topic with Tim on Embrace Your Everyday podcast.
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