Raise your hand if you are so overwhelmed by everything that is required of you as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee, etc., that you are reacting to everything life throws at you as it comes your way instead of living life with purpose and intention. By the end of the day, you are too tired, worn out, and exhausted to even think about the things that at one time filled you with joy, passion, and a sense of motivation. You have completely given up on or forgotten about your goals and aspirations because you feel too busy to focus on anything besides the most urgent or pressing task set in front of you at this very moment.
Let me tell you a story about a girl who had everything she ever wanted. She was married to a handsome, supportive husband. She had three healthy children. She was a stay-at-home mom. She had a big, beautiful house nestled amongst the trees on 11 acres tucked away in a quiet little pocket of town, merely an hour away from all of the big city amenities that she adored. She loved Jesus. She loved her family. She loved her home. But she was unhappy. How in the world, you might wonder, could a girl who has everything her heart desires be unhappy?
That girl was me. I had everything I had dreamed of, yet my heart was full of discontent. I did not always feel this way, and it did not happen overnight. It was a slow erosion over time, and I finally reached a point where I did not recognize myself. I was unhealthy and unmotivated in every area of my life – mind, body, and soul. I was so overwhelmed by everything life had dished out to me during that season of time that I completely lost my joy – in motherhood, in marriage, and in life.
Maybe this is you right now. You may not be as far down into the depths of depravity that I was, but you definitely feel overwhelmed. You are reacting to life as it comes to you instead of living the life you want. I believe we were all created with a divine purpose and plan for our lives, and when we are living within our purpose we are whole and fulfilled. That is not to say that we will not still find ourselves in seasons of chaos and burdened schedules, but there is a sense of peace that accompanies a life of purpose and intention.
So, that all sounds fine and good, but how do you actually go about living a purposeful life? First, you must dive down deep into the core of your being and identify your priorities. Not the priorities you think you should have, but the things that personally drive your inner passion and fuel your fire. The things that make you tick and bring you an overwhelming sense of joy. Once you dig in and discover what is most important to you, you can begin to adjust your schedule to reflect the things that matter most.
During the first week of the Simplify Your Summer Challenge, we are going to focus on doing just that. First, we will identify our priorities, so we can remind ourselves what brings purpose and meaning to our lives. Then, we will learn how to assign our time in such a way that makes room for those things that fill our hearts with happiness. We will spend a little time each day reflecting and evaluating our lives. Grab your favorite journal or a blank sheet of paper, and let’s get started.
I know you are busy, but if you will devote a few minutes each day to this challenge it will be totally worth it in the end. If anyone understands the importance of time, it’s me, so I want to be respectful of yours. I will keep my prompts short and sweet. Take as little or as much time as you need to really dig in and get to the heart of each lesson.
Day O N E | ENVISION YOUR BEST LIFE
What does the life of your dreams look like? On the flip side, when you look back at the end of your life, what do you want to be known for? Take some time to write freely and reflect on what your best life looks like in regard to time, money, physical health, mental health, family, marriage, friendships, work, home, faith, etc.
Day T W O | IDENTIFY WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN’T
Take a look at your current life and first make a list of what is working. Write down the things you are doing right. If you had no other obligations, how would you most like to spend your time? Then make a list of the things that are not working. What are your biggest distractions? What leaves you feeling frustrated, cranky, and high-strung at the end of the day? What is keeping you from spending time on the things that bring you joy?
Day T H R E E | CHOOSE YOUR TOP FIVE
Now is the time to really dig deep and identify the five most important things in your life. What are your core desires? What are the things that fuel your soul and make you want to get out of bed in the morning? What are the things that will cause you the most regret at the end of your life if you do not take the time to focus on them now? List the top five areas of your life that you would most love to devote your time to, above all else. These are your priorities.
Day F O U R | EVALUATE YOUR SCHEDULE
Take a good, hard look at the things that are taking up your time. If someone from the outside looking in had to list your priorities based on how you spend your time, would they come to the same conclusion that you did? Does your schedule reflect the things that are most important to you?
Day F I V E | LEARN TO SAY NO
Sometimes you have to say no to good things in order to say yes to great things. How you spend your time will vary from season to season. What you say no to now may become something you can say yes to later. Some things will be easy to say no to, such as time wasters and simple distractions, but other things may require a little forethought.
If you have stuffed your schedule full of commitments that take time away from what matters most, list those things out and decide which ones you can cut. Do not feel obligated to continue doing something because it makes someone else happy. There are seasons of life when you must be ruthless in guarding your time. Only you can choose how you spend your time. Spend it wisely.
I would love to hear from you as you work through this week’s challenge. Which steps come easily to you? Which part is a little more difficult? What questions do you have? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! You can also contact me by email or on social media. I would love to help you as you work through this challenge.
To continue on the Simplify Your Summer Challenge, be sure to check back each week. I will post a new segment of the challenge every Monday. If you want to be notified when each post goes live, sign up for e-mail notifications in the sidebar of this site or scroll to the bottom if you are on a mobile device.
If you want to learn more about what we will cover throughout the course of this challenge, START HERE.
Move on to WEEK 2 // Tackle the To-Do List
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