This is a question that has been floating around in my mind for several weeks now.
In fact, it is a question I often consider as seasons change and when I find myself feeling stuck, discontent, or sliding into a funk. As my school year draws to a close and the pace of life is returning to the norm, I have given a lot of thought to the question in my post title:
“Does my life reflect my values?”
I’d like to say unequivocally that yes, indeed, my life does reflect my values and in many ways it does. But under careful scrutiny and examination, I find many areas and outcomes lacking.
These are considerations I have been pondering in my thought life, my prayer life, and in my personal journaling. There are a handful of things that I’d tell you matter most in my life, but the ways in which I choose to spend my time haven’t been aligning with those priorities.
For example, I’d tell you that my spiritual life is of foremost importance and yet, I have not practiced regular, disciplined Bible study most of this school year after repeated attempts to get into a rhythm and practice. I’d tell you that my marriage is of foremost importance and yet, Ryan and I haven’t had any date nights and frequently go for periods of time where we don’t connect beyond the immediate-necessary-need-to-know details of our days. I’d tell you that mothering my children, investing in them spiritually, educationally, and lovingly is of foremost importance and yet, the routine of our weeks this past school year has left a lot to be desired; I’ve given away too much of their academic instruction to our co-op and honestly I’ve felt too tired and burdened to lead them intentionally toward Christ in devotional time. I’d tell you my well-being and health is of foremost importance and yet, I have not been faithful to create a space for regular exercise, consistently good eating habits, or rest.
I could go on and on. There haven’t been enough meals around our table; out of tiredness I have found myself wanting to mindlessly shop or mentally glaze over scrolling Facebook in the evenings. I haven’t cultivated my passions for reading or writing much this year either.
I’m not here to beat myself up for a litany of short-comings but I am here to say that I have recognized the discrepancy and I want to do something to realign my time, my values, and therefore my life.
Part of that realignment for me comes from the external accountability of publishing my thoughts and plans on my blog. This is a place where I can keep my ideas organized and can track my habits.
Starting tomorrow, Monday, April 25, I am doing a 120-day experiment. I’ll finish up approximately August 23 or 24…about the time school starts back. I have set up some personal guidelines and boundaries to hold myself accountable. These are the measures I believe will help to get life back on track.
- Finish out (2015-16) teaching and co-op commitments and do not add anything back in for fall until school officially starts. Besides my reduced teaching hours next year, I will not add further obligations on our time.
- Deactivate Facebook account. Remove the temptation entirely to be concerned about who thinks what about Target bathrooms, quick-time recipe videos, viral articles, salacious presidential election news, and FOMO among friends and family. Savor the people in my present company. And if I want to know what’s going on in the world, I’ll watch the news or buy a newspaper.
- Stop mindless spending on stuff. We have all we need for the summer season. Utilize my own closet for four months; wear through my accessories and basics. Continue implementing a few, small wardrobe capsules.
- Stop mindless spending on junk food. Stop the Sonic runs, milkshake and fro-yo trips, eating fast food out of convenience, and fake food at the grocery store. This is affecting our kids health as much as my own. Let’s celebrate around our own table as often as we can.
- Spend time on my porch morning and evening. The pollen is gone and it is clean and ready for use. This is a perfect place for coffee, prayer, Bible reading, listening to podcasts or making a phone call.
- Take care of my own health. Use my Seven app, my Headspace app, and my White Noise app for sleep. Write regularly and post here frequently.
- Enjoy the summer with Ryan and our three awesome kids. This is probably the most important of all of my changes. I want the summer to be full of as much travel as possible, as many days at the pool that we can stand, trips to the library, board games, visits with friends, and rest. I want more fun!
I look forward to updating on this specific experiment throughout the next 120-days. I’m looking forward to restoring balance and order after what has felt like a very full and demanding school year. This summer I’m taking back what’s important and vital to me.
What about you? Do you ever feel like you don’t allocate your time and days according to your priorities? What are you hoping to change up and realign? What are your tips for sticking to this type of change? I’d love to hear from you.