I’d love to share with you one very simple and practical tip to have a better day. You might not like this idea at first, so please stick around and read the whole thing! Ready? Here goes!
Here is your official reminder that today doesn’t have to be anything like yesterday.
The world will try to pile shame, fear, pain, sadness, anxiety, onto your shoulders little by little so that you don’t even realize you’re carrying more every day. But now, as you’re reading this, is your chance to take a deep breath & physically drop your shoulders, relax your neck, and close your eyes.
Think of yourself physically dropping the burdens you’ve been carrying like taking bricks out of your backpack and dropping them to the floor. When you’ve dropped the heaviness of yesterday, you now have room to pick up joy and thankfulness for today!
I don’t know about you, but there’ve been times that I’ve become frustrated to the point of wanting to give up on trying to understand God. Even though my faith is the most important thing in my life, sometimes I get upset by my lack of understanding.
Sometimes the Bible confuses me, scares me, or frustrates me. I read certain passages and end my quiet time even more confused than when I started it. It’s those times when I get upset. Other times, things happen in my life that don’t make ANY sense to me. Of course, being human means I don’t have the capability to always understand what God is doing, but when things feel really off, it’s difficult to trust in the big picture. Like when a Bible verse seems to be directly contradicted by the unexpected death of someone who was by all means “upright”, “following the Lord”, and all the other prerequisites of that verse.
I have so many questions that I’m still searching for answers to, but I have ALWAYS come back to this idea: God is never going to give up on me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I don’t know if you need to hear this too, but God is never giving up on you, either. He’s the kind of God who will follow you around to worst places in your mind just to be there in case you decide you want to talk to Him. He waits on you when you’re ignoring Him. He’s patient when you try to disprove every concept in the Bible & find flaw in His word. He’s listening when you yell & curse at Him, and He’s forgiving when you come back after it all.
I understand that God will never give up on me, and I’m learning more and more that He can handle all the bad stuff we bring Him. Right now, I’m in a season of asking lots of questions. I can’t seem to ever get enough answers these days. And in the midst of my questioning today, God is writing answers into the pages of the story of my life- I just need to wait for the next chapters.
Imagine you’re driving a normal speed on the freeway, like 70 or 75 miles per hour. Now imagine your exit comes up & you don’t touch the brakes. Now you’re on the off-ramp, still going 75, flying through neighborhoods & traffic lights & stop signs.
I’m sure you’d never do that.
But are you speeding through life?
There are no speed limits in life, so sometimes we abuse our own limits. We push way past the appropriate speed, ignore the warning signs in our life and blaze through red lights without even realizing the consequences until we get that speeding ticket in the mail. For some of us, that ticket comes in the form of a doctor’s bill after our health deteriorates. Maybe you start forgetting important appointments, lose some of your hair, or you make a huge mistake at work.
Everybody’s different, but nobody escapes the kickback of unmanaged stress from flying through life without taking care of themselves.
Let me start by saying that some situations require us to operate at lightning speed. We have to learn to adapt to that in order to cope with life’s challenges! But it’s all too easy to forget how to slow back down. I know I find myself rushing everywhere- choosing the shortest line at the store, weaving through traffic, and sometimes even cutting conversations short- but for what? And more importantly, at what expense?
The value of time is underrated.
Our society glorifies money and status, but what are either of those without the time to use them?
The thing is, many of us are operating out of a mindset of scarcity. We perceive that we don’t have enough of anything- enough time, enough energy, enough money, etc. So we move at full speed to make up for it. But I believe the problem isn’t really a lack of time, it’s a lack of priorities.
Even if there were 30 hours in a day, I still believe we “wouldn’t have enough time”. Why? Because we are encouraged to over-commit, and we often fail to set boundaries! (Speaking from experience.)
I am NO expert in this. In fact, I am one of the worst people at time-management that I know- and that’s one of the main reasons why I’m writing this!
So here is my reminder to us all- stop sprinting through life. You weren’t made to go that fast!! Whether you are a bored college student with no homework or an overworked mom with 4 kids- you can slow down. You can do it. I don’t care if you have to lock yourself in your room & put on a movie for your kids instead of playing with them like you normally do (call me & I’ll come babysit, my treat!), or if you have to skip class and take a nap, or if you have to spend extra money on a massage (self-care, am I right??). You are still a good mom, you are still a good student, you are still a capable person. Prioritize your time and cut something out in order to spend it more wisely. Take care of yourself by slowing down in the moments between it all.
Your time = your health & well-being.
Let me invite you into my brain for a minute. I know my struggles aren’t totally unique, but I am also keenly aware that there are many people who excel at the things I am terrible at. Hopefully, someone reading this can give me some advice!!
To start, I’ll give you some context. I am introverted (the technical definition of an introvert is someone who “recharges” by being alone, and loses energy by being around others) but I love people. This provides an interesting but frustrating paradox in my life- I want to be around people, but I’m always scared of losing all my energy in order to socialize. I’m not exaggerating when I say I am e x h a u s t e d after social interactions. I hate typing this out because it makes me sound like an old scrooge who hates people. Which isn’t true!! But something has helped me come to terms with this a bit more. I’ve recently learned a lot about myself through a personality test called The Enneagram (take the test here). If you didn’t know, I’m obsessed with personality tests, and this one is my latest obsession. Through this test, I am identified as a Type Five- “The Investigator”. That means I’m the “Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated”.
…..sounds like the life of the party, right? Ha! Getting the test results made me feel like an evil nerd with some secretive plan who locks themselves in their basement all day. For a while, I was like “…… why am I not more fun??” But in actuality, this test made me feel very, very understood. It pointed out certain truths for me that helped me understand why I am the way I am. For one, it made me feel less guilty for having such a hard time being around others. Type Fives have limited energy, and once we run out, it’s not good. When I hit my max capacity for social interaction I find myself fleeing the scene with an urgency similar to when you’re looking for the bathroom after a strong coffee. (Sorry, too much?) It helped me identify that spending time with people is a big sacrifice for me because of how much it takes out of me. Part of why it’s so draining is because I live most of my life in my head. I have crazy stuff going on in there all the time! And when I’m with others, I am required to not only figure out which thoughts to share, but also to actually share them- which is difficult. Isolation is a key quality of my “type”. I can spend an entire day by myself and never get bored!! I can sit alone for hours and be perfectly entertained by my thoughts. It makes the internet even more dangerous too, because I research endless topics and give myself even more to think about (Another characteristic of a Type Five is our obsession with collecting facts and information). When I have to get out of my head, it’s a challenge. Which brings me to my main point.
I am stuck in my head! I have an incredibly difficult time putting ideas into action, and part of this is because of my crippling perfectionism. I’m the person who will write something out on a post-it note and re-write the exact same thing on several more post-it notes until I like my handwriting enough. I literally have multiple drafts of POST-IT NOTES. Hopefully that gives you a good idea of the severity of my situation. On a few of occasions, I’ve succeeded with getting an idea into motion and actually carrying it out. But man, I am slow. For the most part, things take me a long time. I procrastinate because I’m afraid of doing things poorly. And when I do take a crack at something, I often nix it before it even has a chance. Like the video I recorded the other day and then deleted instead of posting. Or the countless blog posts sitting in my documents that I just won’t publish. I have ideas for songs, museums, tv shows, stores, apps, art, books, and LOTS more. I have SO many ideas, but they all feel stuck in my head.
I know this is a mental obstacle for me to overcome, and I recognize that there are ways for me to get out of my comfort zone and accomplish more. I’m not making excuses for myself. I’m just sharing something that I have a feeling more people relate to than I realize. And I have a sneaking suspicion that some of the happiest, most successful people are the ones who got over whatever hurdle that kept them from making their ideas into a reality. I’m still on my way, but I’ll get there! I’m 22 and I don’t pretend to have it all figured out. Most days, I’m hard on myself for all these shortcomings. I’m really good at picking them out! But I also have to say, I’m thankful for the gifts and abilities I’ve been given. I am more than my procrastination, perfectionism, and anxiety. I’m more than my limited amount of energy and tendency to hide out. According to my “type”, I am also insightful and curious. I am “able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills.” I am “independent, innovative, and inventive.” At my best, I am a “visionary pioneer, ahead of my time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.”
I am all these things, and more! Today I am celebrating the small victory it was for me to write this in one sitting and actually publish it the same day. Thanks for reading along!
(All information about The Enneagram and Type Five is cited from www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-5 )
(If you’ve never heard of The Enneagram, I AM URGING YOU to take this test!! It’s been one of the most helpful and insightful tools in learning more about myself as a person. You will not regret looking into it! There’s a whole world of information about it, too- books, podcasts, Instagram accounts, and tons more.)