My One Little Word for this year is Lean. My goal was to focus on a different direction/aspect of how to lean in order live a healthy life. I kind of skipped April and May because life happened, and I got overwhelmed. Somewhere in the middle of those months, I decided that June would be all about leaning back because it was evident I needed to do so in a desperate way. As my month of focusing on leaning back draws to a close, I’ve put together an alliterated list of five things leaning back means to me. I hope you enjoy, because I’ve enjoyed this month of leaning back (even the awkward and messy parts of it) immensely!
Leaning back means…
Resting – I tend to get caught up in “living” so much that I forget that rest is a crucial part of really living the life I’m meant to live. I wrote about what I’ve recently learned about rest here. By getting tangled up in a busy schedule through April and May, I forgot how to lean at all most of the time. Leaning back has been an imperative step for me in June. It’s been beautiful, wonderful, and the only way I could get to one of my favorite things to do (and the next thing on my list of what leaning back means).
Reflecting – Reflecting when I’m not actually leaning back translates into me over-analyzing and, inevitably, spiraling. The kind of reflecting that happens when I’m leaning back is intentional. It comes from a healthy perspective that brings about self-improvement rather than self-loathing. There’s a big difference, and it’s a necessary one to distinguish. The right kind of reflecting will always lead to the next two things on my list.
Removing – It’s impossible to rest and reflect without getting rid of some unnecessary or unhealthy parts of our lives. We recently purchased a storage shed to clear out some space in our garage. While we moved most of the things taking up prime real estate in our garage into a new building, we also opened up the opportunity to reevaluate what we could live without completely; there were several items that we decided to throw away. Cleaning up the right way can’t happen without throwing out the things that we no longer need. As I’ve leaned back, I’ve been able to see some mindsets, habits, and time wasters that needed to get the boot, and I feel lighter already now that they’re gone.
Restoring – When there’s an empty space in our lives (for example, when we’ve done some reflecting and removal of unnecessary things), I have become a firm believer in embracing the wisdom of Ephesians 4:21-24. It says,
“assuming that you have heard about him [Jesus] and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
The deal-breaking decision after removing something from our lives is how we’re going to refill the hole it leaves behind. No matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise, we will always find some way to refill the spaces we think will stay tidy and empty. That’s why, as a believer, it’s crucial to dig into God’s Word more when we’re in a time of redefining what’s important and what’s not. Removing becomes a pointless act if we aren’t choosing to restore ourselves to God’s intended purpose for our lives. No matter how mundane or crazy it might seem, there’s always evidence that He’s there to redeem us through the process. A fabulously weird example of this happened just tonight as we were having dinner as a family.
Rice Crispy Scrapes – We had one of those days. The kind that leaves everyone feeling like they’ve been on a roller coaster with the seat belt starting to fray out as you’re in the middle of a series of impressive twists. Our kids were feeling it, we as parents were feeling it, and we’d talked, disciplined, hugged, and distributed a couple dozen tissues and maybe a band-aid or two. We sat down to a thrown-together, late dinner just as the tension and heightened emotions began to stabilize a bit.
As I sat down at my seat, I let out a yelp as my elbow met some sharp object on the edge of the table. To my astonishment, the source of my pain was a rice crispy flake that was cemented to the side of the table from Daisy’s breakfast. (I told you it was one of those days.) As I lifted my elbow to examine the damage, blood started running down my arm, and we all started to laugh.
I had been injured by a Rice Crispy.
That little fleck of cereal was just the punctuation mark we all needed to cut through the stress of the day and laugh at the hilarity and ridiculousness of the day’s events. It was a reminder to not take life too seriously, and sometimes, even the things that hurt at first can ultimately make us laugh and remember that we are a family that is there for each other, even for putting bandages on injuries sustained by cereal.
So there you have it, just a glimpse into what my month has looked like. It’s been my favorite one of 2017 so far, and I’m confident it’s because of a renewed focus on what’s important, and without a doubt, a whole lot more sleep.