How to Get Your Life in Rhythm
- Monday, May 18, 2009
Release unrealistic expectations. You can increase your peace by letting go of expectations that don’t fit your current rhythms. Rather than trying to live in a different season than the one you’re in – like single people who wish they were married or young people who wish they were older – trust that God has placed you in this particular life stage right now for a good reason and decide to live fully while you’re in it. You’re right where God wants you to be for now, so make the most of it.
Seize opportunities. Enjoy the blessings of your current season by seizing the opportunities God brings your way to learn and grow to the fullest. Live in the present, without pining over a past season gone by or demanding that the next season start before its right time in the future. Don’t resent the challenges of the season you’re going through now. Instead, pray for God to give you His perspective on it so you can notice the abundance of opportunities it presents. For example, if you have to rehabilitate from an injury right now, don’t focus on your physical limitations, but appreciate the extra time you have for personal reflection and activities you may not have had time for before, such as catching up with old friends or taking a class that interests you.
Anticipate what’s next. Whenever you feel stuck in your current life stage, remember that it won’t last forever. There will be an end to changing diapers when your kids grow older. You’ll soon graduate from college and be done with the pressure of constantly taking exams and writing papers. Increase your hope by anticipating the next season in your life. While it’s true that you can’t predict with certainty what will happen in the future, you can anticipate what life stage you’ll likely enter next, and look forward to it. Use the power of anticipation as motivation to complete your current responsibilities well. Do your best for as long as you’re in your current stage, so you can move into the next one with no regrets when the right time comes.
Pace yourself. Instead of trying to manage time, allow your life to flow in harmony with time’s cycles. Pay attention to your biological clock, which tells you when your body needs food and sleep. Don’t force yourself into an arbitrary schedule to try to balance your life; design your schedule around what’s most natural for you. Release yourself from the pressure of all of your responsibilities coming to bear at one time. Figure out the most appropriate times for certain activities – such as paying bills at a convenient time once a month, instead of whenever they happen to show up in your mailbox – and arrange to do those activities at set times without worrying about them at other times. Consider how often you should do various activities – from going on a date with your spouse to doing laundry – and plan to do them at appropriate intervals rather than trying to do too much all at once.
Build life-enhancing rituals. Create healthy routines that are connected to some deeper meaning or significance and practice them regularly. Rituals can help you achieve your mission in every part of your life and renew you in the process. Come up with monthly rituals like visiting your grandparents every month, weekly rituals such as going to church each week, and daily rituals like exercising at a gym every day and eating dinner with your family each night. But stay flexible, always bearing in mind that your days will be different, so you may enjoy your rituals most days but not all days.
Oscillate between work and rest. Just as Jesus oscillated between times of intensity and renewal, so should you. Sometimes it’s best to work hard; sometimes it’s best to rest well. Be sure to give your full attention to whatever season you’re in. When it’s time to work, don’t get distracted by other things. When it’s time to rest, don’t let work projects interfere. When deciding when it’s best to either work or rest, be sure to keep in mind factors in your personality, such as whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert and whether you have the most energy in the morning or the evening. Think through the best flow of an ideal day for you. When would you like to wake up and go to sleep? When would you tackle your most difficult jobs? When would you renew yourself? Then consider the best days of the week to do various tasks, as well as the best times of each month and year for other activities, like scheduling a conference to work or vacation to rest.
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