When we are stuck in a rut, we are being invited to grow and expand. This is my invitation for you to join me in getting out of our ruts.
I’m aware that not everybody is in a rut. But it sure seems like more people appear to reply to the question, “how are you” with answers like I’m tired, or we are just passing each other like ships in the night. I hear a lot of answers that sound more frustrated than at peace, more anxious than encouraged and more desperate than contented.
We all know that this life is not for the faint of heart. From job security to debt pains. From travel ball to aging parents. It seems that with all of the technology available to us – more than ever before, we shouldn’t be this stressed and this anxious. And yet, most of us are. The 80-hour workweek is taking a toll. Finding creative ways to manage blended families, challenging bosses, serving at church, be a loving spouse, provide for the kids. We could continue that list for days. The real question is what can we do about it? Here are four things that I would encourage you to build into your hectic life and get out of your rut.
MARGIN – Take 15 minutes and plan your week with your family (spouses & students) every Sunday night. Build into your calendar MARGIN. What I mean is, build time for your mental, physical and emotional health. Many of us have bought the lie that we can do it all without taking care of us. I’ve been working on a system that manages my calendar by my energy, not my hours. I’m most productive between 7:30a and 2:00p. In those times of energy, creativity and focus, I need to PRAY, MEDITATE, WORKOUT, GET MY INTENSIVE WORK AND STRESS-FILLED WORK DONE. After that, I need to concentrate on the day to day grind, meetings, tasks, and counseling appointments. In every hour, I now build a time to breath. That’s only about 3 minutes, but it includes the continuation on my MORNING MEDITATION. Every 2 hours, I’m trying to walk 10 minutes. Every evening I’m attempting to spend quality time with Jenny, read more, watch less television and spend less time online. MARGIN – Plan for it!
MEDITATION – Call it what you want to, but MEDITATION, for me includes a daily 5 Minute Journal (paper or app), A particular reading of Scripture, a time of prayer, and a time of focused breathing and quietude. It usually lasts about 15-20 minutes, and I find it essential as it places my soul, my emotions, my body and my mind in sync with the Divine.
If you would like to know how and what I do in my time of MEDITATION, shoot me an email and I’d love to share that with you.
PRIORITIZATION – What do you HAVE TO DO to make today a success. As Brian Tracy says in his bestselling book, “Eat that Frog,” prioritize what you have to do so, you can prioritize what you want to do. Tackle the hairiest, ugly, hard task and get them done! Then be sure to prioritize what you want to do. I try to give priority to every day with what I have to do to make today great. When I do that, I often don’t work the plan that somebody else desires for my day. When you have spent time with The Divine and built MARGIN and MEDITATION into your day, this will become so easy for you.
RELATIONSHIP – Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, we all need relationships that matter. Meaningful relationships don’t just happen; they’re cultivated. To start, make a list of existing relationships that would fit in your “closest friends” list, then a list that includes “good and helpful friends,” and then a list of healthy and “growing acquaintances.” If you think that this process seems cold and manipulative, it’s the opposite. My closest, dearest and best friend is Jenny. She gets the best of me. After her, it’s pretty easy to determine what I should do to cultivate meaningful relationships and set appropriate expectations and boundaries. Structure intentional relationship building into your life’s flow. One year from now, you will be so glad that you did.
If you are in a rut, why not give these a try. There is no need to stay in a rut when there is so much more for you in this extraordinary life the Divine has given to you. Your Creator longs for you to reach your potential and loves to cheer for you. Make a conscious effort to build margin, meditation, prioritization and relationships into your daily routine and watch what God does in setting you free from the rut.
Remember, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten!
You Can Do This!