A new year, a new month, a new week…I relish in new, fresh starts. Yet, somehow I am really good at wasting my new days. In an earlier, though not so recent post; I discussed my Seasons. I talked about how I fluctuate in productivity because of the weight on my heart for those who are lost, captive, or imprisoned. Well the truth is; I am also just really good at putting off anything that is actually fulfilling and satisfying to me. I would venture to say; you can likely relate.
Now, on the surface, you might say to yourself, to your cat sitting next to you, or just straight into the laptop…“I do things for myself! Thank you very much!” But, do you? Really? How high are you reaching? How many to-do lists do you have for your to-do list? What do you spend your time on? Do you really love what you do and do what you love? How many showers go by, with you staring down at your toes…thinking, “Wow, I really would love to paint those…after I scrub away the chipped polish from 4 months ago…?” By the way, the answer is yes. I do have chipped polish on my toes right now. So, so sad. 😦
See, the holidays went by so fast for me! Before I knew it my favorite one had already arrived! I hadn’t even budgeted for the festivities of New Year’s Eve. Plus, I really didn’t communicate to my husband; just how special NYE is for me! Boy, did I miss the train on that one! I couldn’t help but feeling as though I had wasted our first NYE. All due to my lack of planning, lack of communication, and the overall busyness of our first ‘holidays’ together.To be fair, we did get to see fireworks from our living room window, shared a kiss, and then went off to sleepland. Since, this is not an afterthought post of what a perfect NYE could be…I’ll let you know; this is just the backstory. The SpringBoard of where I am today. Since January 1st came and went with me totally unprepared; I decided I would start fresh in February! Great idea, right?! Basically, all of January I was aware of this deep, burning sensation that all I wanted to do was write. That being said, I knew I needed to come up with a plan of how to be organized, motivated, and consistent. So, I started thinking about all the things that were holding me back! Chores mostly, to-do’s that I create as some sort of invisible expectation that I hold over myself to try and be the best wife and (step)mom I can possibly be. I kept thinking; “What is holding me back? Why don’t I get everything done?”, and “How do I plan and manage in just the right way so that my to-do’s and for-me’s all become accomplished?!”
That, is the first and most common mistake we make. When we begin to focus our attention on flaws, failures, and supposed lack; we are essentially staring into a rear-view mirror while attempting to drive forward. Which just will not do. That method does not end well for anyone. I tried mapping out blog posts, that got in the way of my chores. The chores got in the way of my showers and personal care. Personal care woke me up to the need and desire to exercise again. Phew! That’s tiring just to type about! I needed a better plan than just the standard to-do list. A strategy for my list. As the end of January was quickly approaching; I was really feeling the pressure. My own pressure based on a belief that; I must perform 100% of the time at a 100% efficiency rate, while accomplishing 100% of the chores, to-do’s, and for-me’s that arise each morning. That, my friends would be called PERFECTION.
The stark white, pure and simple truth: perfection is not possible. Thankfully, my mind does know this truth; on the intellectual side. The part of my mind that believes this idea, (which will be true for a lot of us) this idea of perfection does not exist on the intellectual side of your brain. The belief comes from your imagination. This is the place that loves to run wild. Where you receive knocks and have the responsibility to either choose to let Truth thoughts in or to let Lies come in, where they will reside in your mind; until eventually dropping into your heart. If you’ve read my earlier posts you may know that once a thought is in your heart; it is from there that the mouth speaks and the will acts.
So what does this mean for you and me trying to get our lists done? Discover if you have beliefs in your imagination such as; ‘I must be perfect,’ ‘I must accomplish everything on my list before I can enjoy myself,’ ‘All the chores, bills, and hard work must be finished before I can rest,’ etc. Adversely, on your intellectual side; you will know that perfection simply is not possible. You know that The List truly never ends. You know (and I believe this one is one of the most important) that if you do not take care of yourself: love yourself, get filled up with rest, peace, energy, self-confidence, motivation etc, then you will burn out and fail at loving and caring for those people, chores, and to-do’s all around you. Yes, here we apply the knowledge we gain from any flight you will ever take: if the mask falls from the ceiling; you must put yours on first.
The good news, is that despite this monumental internal struggle; there is hope. There is an answer. There are even tools you can use to help you reach that answer. Thankfully through trial and error and recent discovery; I have some tips, tools, and truth for you to apply in your own life. As I said; the pressure of my false belief of perfection was really nagging at me. My pattern in the past, has been to shut down at that point. You know, Snickers for lunch, binge watching Netflix, and napping. Oh, the napping. Sweet nothings of napping. Not fulfilling. Not accomplishing. Not even feeling good. I had to snap out of the cycle! I had to choose to fight right for my life.
The first concept of TRUTH we will discuss can be condensed into these short but massive nuggets of gold:
Truth #1- “Out of the mouth; the heart speaks.”
Truth #2- “So as a man (or woman) thinks in his heart, so is he.”
Wow! Let those sink in for a few. Really discover and uncover what these statements say. Your heart, your desires, your needs, your vision, has life. Your heart speaks and thinks. What this means for you; regarding your to-do’s, have-to’s, want-to’s and other LIST items, yes, even including painting your toes…You need to understand, to know, to believe, and to have trust in what you love. Love, is not an emotion. The love I am speaking of comes from a term that actually means “Charity.” Love, or rather charity; always produces action.
Tip #1- Understand what you love. Love yourself. Love your family. Love your to-do’s
When you truly accept and love yourself, those items on your list that are just for you; will get done. Today, I painted my nails. (I wrote this post in several sittings, today I found love and time for me) I still got my son to school on time. I still started the laundry. I still made an unplanned, not-on-my-list drive to my husband’s office. Look, my Brides, when you remember the ‘why’ we do our lists; and you truly have love in mind, action naturally manifests. This does include YOU. I suggest you take some time to analyze the words you speak about yourself. Do you speak words of kindness and gentleness over your life? Do you have understanding and patience for you flaws, failures or unchecked to-do items? Trust me, I was raised doing the dishes. I don’t like doing the dishes, two and sometimes three times a day; but I love my family. I love serving my family meals on clean dishes. So, I love by doing the dishes.
Tip #2- Think about why your heart longs for what it does.
Start to discover the why behind your heart’s thoughts. Take the intellectual out of the equation. Shut off the imagination; and really listen to your heart. What does it think? What is it saying? If the thoughts and words are negative, that’s okay, you have to start somewhere. There is hope and help available. Try though, to tune in and hear the positives. Start to care about your heart.This morning, I could have allowed my intellectual’s usual response, “I don’t have time to paint my nails,” or my imagination’s reply; “It would be selfish to spend time on myself.” My heart desired to do something that made me feel pretty, the love for myself produced an action that honored my heart and I painted my nails.
The toolbox can be used in many ways. You may need to spend some time brainstorming how to apply these tips and truths you have learned today. One application I can offer is this: communicate to yourself. Yes, I am promoting talking to yourself. I do this in different ways; traditional journalling, of course. I also, use the VoiceNotes on my phone. I pop my earbuds in; and I simply share my heart. This allows me to later discover what my heart is saying and thinking in an objective way.
Tool #1- traditional journaling, voice notes, etc. Just pick one and start moving forward. You need to discover where you are at right now. This means, actually looking at your heart, your needs, your dreams, your desires, and your wants. Then find the Why’s.
Tool #2- make your to-do list before you go to bed. Then, in the morning, ask aloud, and wait for the responses and write them down accordingly. A) What is most important on this list to my heart? B) What is time sensitive on this list? C) What is an act of love on this list? Then do those things first! Act on behalf of your heart.
Tool #3- make a plan for what you will do if you do not finish your list. Write this down and review it everyday. Will you start fresh the next day? Will you carry over unfinished tasks? Will you use the same list until they are all completed? You need to discover your strategy for learning and applying grace, understanding and patience for yourself.
This post was started somewhere around the first week of February. Today, is 2/22. I got to my goal. Took me awhile, but I got here. I discovered and established a working calendar for myself. I took a sheet of paper and pen, and I wrote down my heart’s desires. The acts of love my heart so longs to express on a regular basis for those trapped in desert places. Then, I made a week schedule on paper and filled in the times for my acts of love toward my family and my personal care: making lunches, picking up/dropping off at school, cleaning, bills & budgeting, you know; The List chores and tasks. I found that each day, I had time to plug in my heart’s desires to my calendar. So, I penned them into my calendar book.
This is my first week on my Working Love Schedule. So far, I have had unexpected tasks come up, I have worked through my scheduled lunch time, and the laundry has needed to be switched for about two hours. But, I painted my nails! I did my hair. I got dressed today. I have shown acts of love to my husband and to our son. I feel good about my day. It’s not perfect, and I will make mistakes. Sometimes, life will throw me curve balls and the schedule and the list will go awry. Ultimately though, I have found love for myself, discovered my heart’s desires, understood they have been produced by Love, and accepted that love produces action.