Show of hands. Every woman who: feels like 2015 flew by without her permission, hasn’t yet accomplished all the goals she set last January and can’t remember where December went- raise a hand.
Oh good, I’m not alone then. What in the world happened to 2015?! What an extraordinarily speedy 12 months! I spent the past two months adjusting to a new role in my job (and the additional ten hours a week that go with it) and I have come to a definite conclusion- if I do not make some very intentional choices now, the next ten years will feel like a movie running in fast forward. A blur of memories and moments that I will only vaguely remember one day. And that dear friends, is not the way I want to spend the next decade. Nor is it the way I believe God wants me to live.
Here are my three decisions to slow down and be present in my own life next year:
Stop multi tasking. In the world of constant technology, social media and smart devices, our ability to engage in multiple processes at the same time is tempting. Talk to mom on the phone while checking an email? Car pool my tween while checking Facebook on my phone? Send a text while out to dinner with my husband? It all seems so innocent and trivial and even efficient- but the collective result is a life of half lived moments. The truth is, you and I can only hold one thought at a time. Which means I can’t really listen to my family, friends or coworkers, while engaging in a separate task. I can hear them, but hearing and listening are two completely different concepts.
Bookend my days with reading and reflection. The way we begin and end a day do a lot to shape our perspective of it. I do not want to experience my life as a series of rushed and exhausted moments- running behind because I hit the snooze button too many times and falling asleep with my iPad in my hand at the end of the day. The days I get up with enough time to read and pray begin at a more controlled pace. I am ready mentally and emotionally for the responsibilities and work ahead. I feel connected to loved ones as I spent time praying for them and thinking about their concerns. When I take time to reflect on the day before sleeping it allows me to evaluate and adjust my decisions moving forward. Also, if I need to apologize to my family for being an emotional basket case, for example, I’m likely to notice as I look back on the day. In real time, emotions often run too high to see my mistakes. But reflecting daily provides an opportunity to catch those moments before they turn into patterned responses.
Prioritize what matters eternally over what doesn’t. People matter eternally. God’s word and the life it brings- also eternal. I’m not saying other things don’t matter at all- but choices have to be made because we only get 24 hours in each day and there are way more than 24 hours worth of things to spend time on. At least 7 of those hours need to be spent sleeping, or there will be way more apologizing for being an emotional basket case! And 8 hours a day are at my job- so in reality I only get 9 hours a day to decide how I spend them. In my life this looks means not cooking big meals as often as I used to so I can spend more time with my daughter, less time Internet surfing so I can spend time in God’s word and writing, less cleaning and organizing the house so I can invest in my friendships and mentoring women, less shopping and running errands so I can keep laundry managed because clean socks and underware may not be eternal, but they’re a close second! Bottom line is I can’t do everything I want to do, but I can keep my choices in line with my values.
So dear friends, Happy 2016 to you! I pray you spend some time reflecting and preparing for a new year and allow God to speak into areas you may need to surrender or adjust in order to live fully present as well!