One of the biggest changes my life has seen over the last year and a half is its speed. If I described my life a few years ago I would use words like; busy, chaotic, stressful and hard. See I would run twenty-four seven. I would rarely take a break. I always had something going on, either because of my work, kids stuff or being a wife. This left me feeling a lot of things. It took my life to a place that I never wanted to see. There were some hard days you all. The funny thing is, God will move into your busy mess and he will SHAKE THINGS UP, turn things upside-down and in just a short amount of time your life can be so different–you can’t even believe it.
So why are we so busy? I think a lot it is cultural. That’s just the way most people live these days. But the main reason is because of where our priorities lie. I don’t know at what point in my life someone stressed to me, and then later it was cultivated in my mind that we have “mental priorities”. These are priorities that are present no matter what we are doing or where we are, but they have such an impact on everything we do. I learned that I needed to have my mental priorities in this order: God, husband, my well-being, children, all else. But I also think that we chose it. We can either choose to chase after more, better, faster or we can choose to live a life full of memories, slowing down and enjoying the small stuff.
How do we find more time for these small moments? The first thing I always like to do is take a small amount of time for self-reflection. Where am I at, how am I feeling, do I like what I am doing? Look at the things you are proud of, look at the things in your life you don’t like. What are things you want to do more of? The fact is that we all have the same hours in a day. We can get up early, or we can sleep in…but we all have the same time to fill. After you have identified these things here is what I recommend:
1 / Plan your day. This is something that SEEMS so simple. But for some reason it boggles our minds. It is even hard for me at times. And it is so simple but it does take a little effort. You either need a “family calendar” or a personal calendar to keep track of events and schedules. This is the mother board. If it is not on this calendar…it will be forgotten. Next, you need to either use your calendar on your phone and also set reminders for daily events, or use the calendar on your email. If you do not have a reminder…it will be forgotten. (This is also a plan B. I cannot even tell you how many people only use one form or the other and then they go on a trip and loose the planner and life is wrecked or your email goes haywire and everything is lost.) Before you go to bed every night look at the calendar, and plan the following day. Make a list of five or so things you WANT to get done. I usually put a scripture and an encouraging quote on mine. This goes everywhere with me all day. At this time you then “schedule” your day. Scheduling and planning are not the same thing. Planning is you making the decision for what you will get to do the next day. Scheduling is putting that on paper to make it happen. Some people like to plan their day down to the minute. I am more lax than that because I can be. I did some serious research and I found that when you do this you are 90% more likely to get things done. (I’m kidding. I just made that up. I don’t do research.) This is not a DIY, this is not to stress you out. This is only something that needs to be used to help you! I don’t color code, I don’t do fancy. I literally keep this so simple Sean could do this. All of the things I have listed below…are things you need to SCHEDULE. If you do not schedule them, you will not make time for them.
2 / Start taking fifteen minutes a day for meditation and bible study. This is time to pray, think about what God is trying to say to you through the spirit. This is quiet time. This is time to refuel and renew your spirit and your mind.
3 / Get outside for fifteen minutes a day. Do you have a coffee appointment? Get it to go and take a walk instead. Get up and watch the sun rise. Take a short walk with your family. Find some time in your day to get outside into nature. (I sound like Scott the paleontologist on dinosaur train.)
4 / Take one hour each day to step away from media. Turn off your phone, put away your computer, shut off the TV. Do something that you truly enjoy during this time. Eat dinner with your family, work out, read a book or magazine, paint your nails, work in your garden.
A few years ago I wouldn’t have been able to see small stuff if it hit me right on the side of the head! But as soon as I made a few small changes, tiny small beautiful things started entering my life–everywhere. I felt like I was part of a magic show. I didn’t feel as cranky. I felt like my kids were calmer. We still have our moments–don’t you worry. But just today when we got back from dropping off Sean at school, Lyla came over and just wanted me to hold her. So I stopped what I was doing and I took ten minutes and did nothing but hold my girl. A small moment appeared and I was READY. I seized it! I didn’t let it pass me by. Sometimes I still get off track. Sometimes I get away from my priorities and things slip back into crazy-town mode. And then I REMEMBER how awful it is. And I force myself to jump back on the wagon to safety. I think we all deserve a life that is full of small beautiful moments. Moments that become memories and memories that are stories that last a lifetime.
What are small changes you can make today to tune into the small?