I love this month's blog prompt because it's required me to come face to face with the fact that I am just not that organized. I mean, it's not like I don't try to be organized. I create to do lists, calendar reminders, write on post it's, download apps, anything - anything - that will help me remember my priorities, and stay focused and present.
In truth, I'm not the best goal setter. I have high expectations and set lofty goals for myself, but become discouraged if (when) I slip up. I'm learning to rely on Jesus more and less on me. It's a practice and I'm a work in progress.
Despite my best efforts, I find myself continually plagued with two common frenemies: Distraction and Overwhelm. Now, Distraction can seem more like a friend, on the surface at least. Distraction beckons me with the shiny stuff of life; the "I wants" that tempt me away from the keyboard because they're just so fun! At the outset, Distraction appears rather harmless, but I have learned this is not the case at all. Recognizing Distraction as the wolf in sheep's clothing has allowed me to see that he actually takes me away from the priorities and goals God has given me rather than drawing me closer to God.
Overwhelm is a trickier beast in that he can sneak up even in moments of uber productivity. Sometimes Overwhelm takes the form of too many "yeses" and takes over in the moment I realize there's no way I can accomplish all the tasks I've committed to in the time allotted. Overwhelm, if not reigned in, can run rampant in my life like a wild horse. Don't let the beauty of the horse fool you; it will trample you if left unattended. Definitely more enemy than friend, I find Overwhelm to be the thorn in my flesh that Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 12.
Therefore, in order to keep me from being conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9 NIV)
I have found the best way to prioritize my writing goals (and any goal!) is to keep going back to God for guidance. The reality is, life can be busy, distracting and overwhelming. When I forget to go to God first, I get unfocused, and have trouble sticking to the routines that will help me reach my goals.
In order to prevent Distraction and Overwhelm from taking over in my life, I practice positive disciplines that I've established through prayerful consideration. I've pleaded for the thorn to be removed. Instead, God gave me these daily practices to apply in my life:
- Serve God first & foremost - every day, every choice begins with prayer
- Worship, Prayer & Devotion - daily
- Physical Movement - daily
- Conscious Eating - eat well, live well - daily
- Write Everyday
- Focused Intention - every task
- Fully Present - in all things, but especially with family and relationships
- Aim Higher
- Pray Continually
- Rejoice & Give Thanks - in all circumstances
Never discount the importance of breathing: