Monday, May 23, 2016

My Manifesto

So the past few weeks I've really been pondering life...

Big questions, right?

But part of my thinking on purpose has got me thinking about how I live my life.

What's most important to me? And do my actions always reflect my priorities?

In my office, hanging just above my desk, is a free printable Ann Voskamp published at A Holy Experience. She called it her Sanity Manifesto, and even though the printable was published in 2013, I still sometimes look at the words and think about them as I cling to my sanity amongst the mundane.

Because let's face it. Life can get kind of crazy sometimes...
and sometimes it is just plain difficult to put one foot in front of the other.

A manifesto is a written decree, something you believe in... so much that you live it out.

As I look toward this summer, and winding up 2016, I'd like to put pen to paper and have my own manifesto...

something to guide me on the good days and the bad days. Something that can inspire me to keep on going.

I realize this is especially important this summer vacation day where I allowed the bed to coax me into crawling back under the covers and hibernating until 11 AM. The sun is brightly shining in my windows, and I know that I'm missing out.

Here's the thing. We can miss out on life by sleeping it away. We can miss out on life by wishing it away. We can miss out on life because we allow our anxiety or frustrations or depression or fear of WHATEVER cause us to either squeeze our eyes shut to keep it out or look wide into the life of "what-ifs".

Neither way is truly living.

I'm as guilty as the next person. I pout at those around me and pout at God and sometimes I even pout at myself, all while the world keeps spinning and the clock keeps ticking and I lose precious minutes that I'll never get back.


So... here's my Summer Manifesto. It may be my All Year Manifesto, but we'll reevaluate when school comes...

1. Priorities should dictate your day.
There's only one of me, and there's only one of me that can do certain jobs. I first thought of this concept when reading a book by Karen Ehman, but I'm slowly realizing it. I'm the only person that can make sure I've got a right relationship with God. I'm the only person that can make sure I exercise. I'm the only Mom Caleb has, and the only wife Wallace has, no matter how much either of those may want to change that fact. So there's my priorities.  God and family.
2. People should always help you determine your priorities.
This may seem like it contradicts the first statement, but I should always remember that we were made for community. As hard as that is for this introvert, it's the truth. And community means relationship. This summer, may I keep my eyes open and my ears open to opportunities to minister to those around me by seeing their needs. I can be so self-centered.
3. Kindness matters.
In this world, we don't have enough kindness. I've really been wrestling with this so far this year. How can I be more kind? How can I be more intentional? I'd like to say I'm knocking it out of the park, but there are still days that I struggle.
4. Choose happy.
There are always going to be bumps in the road. It's always going to rain on days when I had something planned... but rain doesn't necessarily mean a wash out. You can always find good in something if you keep looking.
5. Aim for peace.
I have always been defensive. Always ready for an argument. But as I've gotten older, I know in my heart of hearts that's not what I was made for. Even though we were told we'd have troubles, we are to strive for peace. Peace within. Peace with those around us.
6. Be balanced.
I know if I don't spend time in God's Word, I become unhinged... so I need to get His Word in me. That should be a priority.
And I know that I need to exercise every day.
That should be a priority.
And I look around my house and know that I need to clean everyday.
I know that it's awfully easy for me on summer break to sleep all day and then sit around reading, but that's not good for anyone. So, I plan to start my day with God and exercise, clean, and then relax... making sure that it's all balanced.
7. Don't get legalistic about this manifesto.
I have a tendency to plan bravely and then follow through timidly. Or not follow through at all. So while I do plan to work this summer to get an organized plan for cleaning my house and time management and NOT sleeping in all day, I realize that some days, I will sleep and not clean house. Some days I'll spend all day in my yoga pants lounging on the couch with a good book, and that's ok. I just have to do enough of both so that something gets done. =)

And make sure that, ultimately, I'm caring for others in the process.

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