It seems too easy to bash anybody that is leading anything today. Bash the president, the Congress, the Senate, the School Board, the Mayor, the CEO, the pastor, the Oscar Host…You get the idea.
I stopped writing this BLOG months ago because I was frustrated with everything. I prayed through my frustration. Talked through my frustration. Then worked through my frustration. The short end of this story is that I needed to pray, think and talk my way to being capable of working through my frustration. The following is a recipe for how I transitioned from frustrated human to peace-filled and productive, purposeful human.
I spent some time offline and off social media. I spent more time reading, praying, and rediscovered the power of solitude, investment, and trajectory. You must be thinking, here’s another preacher tale or worse, another self-help guide. NOPE, neither.
Over the past few months, I have discovered a more peace-filled and purposeful life stage. And it didn’t require an Apple Watch, super-planner, conference, book, or retreat. It took solitude, investment, and trajectory. Here, let me explain.
We are a people that seem to stay in constant motion and with continuous noise. We fill our lives with such busyness that there is literally no time to know who we are, where we are going, or what we want to be. As a result, we drift into what the world wants us to be. But I’m not suggesting that you have to attend a silent retreat or isolate yourself. Instead, I recommend that you discover three, five-minute pauses in your day to grab solitude. Then, in that solitude, capture your investment and trajectory. Of course, I am assuming you know that solitude also needs to include quietude. That’s it. There are three five-minute pauses for your day that have an old-fashioned pen and a 3 x 5 index card. Pretty simple, right? Remember – Just three, five-minute breaks to SIT (SOLITUDE, INVESTMENT, TRAJECTORY).
Now that you have sorted out a way to grab three, five-minute pauses in your day, grab your pen and index card and capture your investments in YOU! Start with GRATITUDE. Always start with GRATITUDE. On the top of the index card, write down two things you are grateful for today. Nothing must be cute, super intellectual, or spiritual. Just what are you grateful for. See the illustration below. This is my card from this morning. Invest in yourself by inserting GRATITUDE as an essential part of your morning routine (2 minutes). Harvard Medical School places a significant emphasis on GRATITUDE. The following is an excerpt from the hard medical Journal:
“The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways, gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, being grateful also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”
“In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
Faith and science agree that grateful people are far more likely to be more contented and happier. Why not INVEST in your happiness and contentment?
In your solitude pause number one – insert gratitude s an investment in you, your present and future.
Then determine the trajectory of your day, on the same index card. Capture in bullet form a few (typically 5-6) statements that might describe the person you wish to be today. Again, see my illustration. I tend to focus on the cxharacteristics that I believe God might be nudging me toward improvement.
Once I’ve capture my gratitude and my desired person I want to be today, I like to capture one prayer thought that I am asking the Divine to settle in my life.
When I use the term “capture,” it is an effort of be clearly understood that you have given it thought. That you have prayerfully considered it, and you are writing it down on your investment card. The Journal of Experimental Psychology published research that shows how writing your thoughts down can reduce intrusive thoughts about negative events and improve working memory, even the simple act of writing something down lets your brain know you want to remember it.
These three simple steps can, and will change the trajectory of your life, especially when you engage your Creator with a conversation about all of them.
SOLITUDE + INVESTMENT + TRAJECTORY = GREATER PEACE
GREATER PEACE = MORE CONTENTED LIVES AND HAPPIER, HEALTHIER RELATIONSHIPS
To continue the change in trajectory, flip the card over at the end of each day and capture three thoughts.
1. What went well today?
2. What didn’t go so well today?
3. What am I asking God to do in my life tomorrow?
Write them down – file the day away and sleep like a rock.
Wash, rinse and repeat tomorrow.
SOLITUDE – INVESTMENT – TRAJECTORY – JUST SIT
It’s not fancy. It’s not digitized (unless youwant it to be), and it makes a huge difference. Just SIT in Solitude and accomplish these three pauses in each day. If you chose to consider this a version of journaling, I’m cool with that because, according to mental health professionals, journaling is one of the most recommended tools to have a clearer mind and a happier life. It helps to release mental blockades and be more precise about your thoughts. Additionally, journaling helps to understand your desires, priorities, and worries. Multiple studies prove that writing down your thoughts can lead to an increase in well-being and happiness.
1. Solitue – Gratitude
2. Solitude – Invest in who God desires you to be.
3. Solitude – Reflect on your day and place tomorrow into His hands.
So, NOPE, I refuse to join the masses and whine about everything, every leader, and every inconvenience in this life. I’ve stumbled into a simple, sustainable routine to just SIT in solitude for the purpose of investing in the trajectory of my life. As a result, I am more peace-filled and purposeful than any other time in my life. I desire this for you as well. This allows me to focus on my part of our world and prompts me to serve those I can serve in a sustainable, practical, purposeful way.
Maybe this tiny effort, multiplied over thousands of people might make a big collective difference as we all just SIT.
Go in Peace,