In the last 6 months, I’ve had a reoccurring conversation with different people. We all seem to be wondering the same thing: What makes me come alive? What activities draw out joy, pleasure, and fulfillment in my heart? What gives me a boost to be more like me in a way that makes God and me smile together?
Often, we don’t know the answer off the top of our heads. We are caught in the current of to-do lists, job expectations, personal goals, and managing seasonal changes. New moms, college students, and empty-nesters alike have all forgotten what it means to play in their own unique way.
In this season of refocus, I am desperately seeking to know Jesus more intimately, and allow Him to shape my thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes about myself and the world around me. I am convinced He didn’t just die for my sins, but He rose that I might experience joy!
When we build on our identity in Christ with a strong relationship with God, we can use that as a launching pad to be all that God has called us to be. That includes the fun-loving, carefree, at ease versions of ourselves!
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
God has provided abundant, unique blessings that help each of us enjoy life. With a little bit of intentionality, we can rediscover and reinforce these life-givers. Here are 2 steps to start the process:
Step 1: Make a Life-Givers List. This is like a bucket-list for your everyday life. Make a list of the activities, people, food, places, environments and topics that help you come alive, feel encouraged, and reinforce your relationship with God. Here are a few from my list:
- Proximity to the water (lakes, ponds, rivers, etc.)
- Playing piano
- Watching good movies (well written, complex plot, excellent score, no sex scenes, etc.)
- Quiet time with Jesus and coffee
- Projects with my mom
- Cross-cultural ministry
- Reading light-hearted fiction (I’m currently reading A Princess Bride)
- Conversations with my pastor’s wife
- Worshipping with Shane
- Locally owned coffee shops
- Giggling with the twins
- road trips
- White string-lights over a patio
Step 2: Make a Time-wasters list: What activities, people, environments, and topics tend to drain life, leave you feeling numb, or steal your attention from what matters. My list is:
- Unfettered social media scrolling
- Constant snacking after 9pm
- Women who play the comparison game
- Talking about dieting
- Micromanaging my blog
- “Sleeping in” (but not really sleeping)
- Netflix binges
- Driving in town
- Too much screen time
- Messy spaces
- Texting (vs. actual phone calls)
Step 3: Invest your time, money, and to-do-list space on the Life-givers, not the Time-wasters. It won’t be easy. And it wont always work (we have to do our jobs or clean the house even though it might feel draining). Sometimes, we can transform time-wasters into life-givers. I do this by setting a timer for social media, inviting others to join me as I clean, and focusing on enjoying what I eat. With the right mindset, we can reinforce the things God has given to help us enjoy life to the fullest!
So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. Ecc. 8:15
Thank you for giving us life! Help us to enjoy it, not just “get-through-it.” Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we can see renewed joy in our daily schedules. Holy Spirit, remind us when we get bogged down by everyday joy-thieves, that your power is available to us to reinforce the life-abundant you have planned for us.
In the joyful name of Jesus,
Week 4 Challenge:
- Monday: Take inventory of your life givers. Schedule sometime this weekend to enjoy one hour of a specific life-giving activity.
- Tuesday: Make a list of your time-wasters. Pick one to address this week (mine is FACEBOOK!).
- Wednesday: Clean up your social media tools to optimize your use of them (networking, family keep up, etc.)
- Thursday-Saturday: Spend some time enjoy your favorite life-giver with a friend, your family, or just by yourself (is that a novel idea for you?).
What is your favorite Life-Giver?