The pursuit of less.
I have typed and retyped this line. I started off listing monumental events and pursuits for the last three years, but, honestly, that annoyed me. I do it. The list of busy. We all do it because somehow hearing it makes us feel justified in our crazy town schedule. Deep inside you want someone to rescue you.
I will share this. After a three-year, intense doctorate program and an eventful year–graduation and my oldest daughter’s engagement and wedding– I found myself in a place. I can’t even describe it to you. It’s not a bad or sad place. Just a place.
Once I hit the main street station of this place, and I realized that my train was not coming (no one is going to rescue me), I sat in the lobby of life, and God poured out a message.
When I have questions, I talk to God. I read His Word, and I listen to respected Christian leaders who have been around the block. God uses His people.
I like to call them “light bulb” experiences, or “aha!” moments. When many moments have a similar theme, I realize that God, my counselor, is talking directly to my struggles and hurts.
It would be too much to write in one post. I feel compelled to do so because I’ve personally learned so much. My approach is to layout the journey. It took me the course of a few weeks to listen, read, and reflect. I’m still reflecting. A good podcast is my music station. I listen on the go, or during a reflective moment. So be creative, but do listen. You can click on the highlighted titles for the links to a specific podcast or information.
- Listen to Season 4, Episode 6: Watch Your Mouth, How Small Changes in Your Vocabulary Can Make a Big Impact on Your Life by Michael Hyatt. This will get you out of your funk stage.
- Listen to Season 5, Episode 1: Escape the Overwhelm, How to Regain Momentum When You Feel Paralyzed by Michael Hyatt. This will help you take action and move forward. It’s the “Okay, how?”
- Listen to Season 3, Episode 12, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, an interview with Greg McKeown. Greg is from England and has a great accent, so fun to listen to! 🙂 This will offer a huge paradigm shift in how you approach life, work, and play.
- Go to Greg McKeon’s website and sign up to get chapter one of his book on “Essentialism”–pursing less. I think I signed up to get his blog posts, and then chapter one came to me over email. Decide if you want to buy the book and read as a company, individual, or as a family.
5. Listen to Life With A Messy Mate 3 (August 14, 2015) by Sandra Felton on James Dobson’s family talk website. God prepared me for this “in your face, but kind” podcast after steps 1 – 4. I came home and filled an entire county waste garbage can. I was so inspired, I asked my two girls to bring the huge can and put it on the front step of the house. I filled a bag, dumped, filled a bag, threw it away, ….you get the idea. I must confess that I had to push through to begin, but once I got started the family joined in, and we made it a party! Push through. My youngest actually left my room to go to her room and purge items. We got the fever! What hit me was a comment about how we place huge value on insignificant items because “they belong to me”. Who cares?! Throw it away! When Greg, from England, asked about seeing my closet to see how I approached life, I thought–“Houston! We have a PROBLEM!” “Now you are getting wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy to personal”. I thought about taking a picture of my closet for this post, but I seriously am not brave enough! This morning I have a sentimental hangover, and I’m resisting rummaging through the trash can. I’m not kidding. I need to move on to the next step.
6. Brene’ Brown talks about our need to “numb” either with alcohol, food, gossip, social media, internet, work, etc… She points out in her book The Gifts of Imperfection that when we “numb” ourselves due to painful life experiences, stress, or discomfort, we think we can isolate the negative and forget. Yet, in our pursuit of numbing the negative, we also numb the joy, connecting with others, and experiencing life. I love Brene’ Brown and never knew that she experienced problems with numbing. She confessed a daily pursuit of being authentic, embracing life, and refusing to numb. She goes on to share the importance of leaning into life, not escaping it. After eating a plate of German food at a local amusement park, I sat on a park bench reading this book on my Kindle App while my girls were riding a roller coaster. I just did not think the German potato salad could handle the ride. I prayed on that park bench for God to help me experience life–to be courageous to handle the hard, and to engage. I prayed for time and energy, and freedom of mind to pursue things like exercise, reflection, letting go, naps, and stillness. Awareness, according to Brene’ Brown, is a critical first step. A journey of a thousand miles is that first step, but remember you have a thousand more. Go beyond awareness to action–the next step, and reach out to a trusted person to hold you accountable. Answer these questions together!
- What makes you engage in numbing?
- What do you use to numb?
- How do you personally engage in numbing? (from Brene’ Brown’s Book)
7. Lastly, God wrapped this continuous work up in a beautiful bow! As I listened to a sermon on grace, I was reminded from the teaching of Paul, “Nothing separates us from the love of Jesus.” His grace is sufficient. No matter how messy, disorganized, or scattered I may feel right now, God loves me. His love is sufficient. My imperfections have been covered by His love.
I’ll leave you with this message from Greg’s book:
The Highest Point of Contribution