In my last post I mentioned that in the month of July I held a personal challenge. Today I wanted to tell you exactly what that looked like. I started by making myself a list of daily reminders.
- Pray every day – there were specific things on my prayer list that I wanted to make sure I remembered each day.
- Do only one thing at a time – in today’s fast paced culture we pride ourselves on multitasking. But multitasking is not always a good thing.
- Tell the Lord I love Him – this is something I forget most days. I am quick to ask Him for things, but forget to express my love.
- Praise God – if you have been following my blog, then you know this is something I wrote about extensively as the world faced the pandemic.
- Choose joy – too often I allow little annoyances in life to bring me down. But we have a choice. We can let irritations get to us or we can choose joy.
- No negativity – the Lord has been reminding me a lot lately that general negativity and complaining creates a wall in my relationship with Him.
- Slow down – I had many things on my plate and felt the stress of it all. The pandemic taught me to savor my time and everything else would fall into place.
- Be intentional – this is a little phrase that reminds me to focus on the things in front of me. Too often we go through the motions of life, but we are not always paying attention to what is right before our eyes.
- Be present – similar to “be intentional” and “do only one thing at a time.” Our bodies might be in one place, but our minds can often be a million miles away.
- No expectations – as a child when my birthday rolled around, I was focused on what presents I might get. My father used to remind me that I shouldn’t expect anything. He was right. But it’s not just about birthdays or gifts. It is about every moment of every day. (I wrote more about this on a recent Christians Read blog post.)
- Stay off phone / devices – technology is a blessing and a curse. Devices are a huge distraction in our world today. I imagine the enemy getting a good laugh at all the Christians who have their noses stuck to a phone because the more time we spend on our phones often equals less time working for the kingdom of God. I am sorry if this sounds harsh, but it’s true.
- Check email once a day and not at all on Sundays – checking email got to be such a robotic habit. More often than not, I wasn’t expecting emails, just looking to see if anything new had come in. (I do not have notifications turned on for this on my devices because that would drive me up a wall.)
- Do not get on Facebook except for one Bible study small group which I was a part of – I have a love/hate relationship with social media. It can be a good tool to stay in touch with people. But it can also be a pit of negativity and distraction.
- No blogging / WordPress – Sorry to say I needed to eliminate this for a time because I allowed it to take up much of my time. Focusing on God needed to be my number one priority.
- Words With Friends only on Friday and Saturday – in case you are not familiar, this is a scrabble type game that you can play with your friends. At one time I used to play it daily. But I have been cutting back over the past several months. So this was not a change for me. Just a reminder. It is nice to play a fun game with a friend at times. But for me, I have to limit my time on things like this because it can become too much of a habit. I want my heart tethered to the Lord and that means eliminating distractions.
- Kneel before the Lord – every morning I take a moment to kneel before the Lord and hand my day over to Him.
- Exercise – it is no secret that exercising is good for our physical health and mental health.
- Amazon / General internet searches: only handle necessities. For everything else, make a list for future reference – Often times when I am looking for something on Amazon or searching the internet for something, it feels super important in the moment. I have to get this new product right now. I have to find the answer to this question right now. That is how it feels. But in reality, those things aren’t that important. I have found that if I write them down, later on I won’t care as much and will scratch it off my list.
- Books: limit the number I read at any given time – I am always eager to start a new book, but this means whatever book(s) I was already in the middle of reading fall to the wayside.
I realize this list might seem a bit overwhelming. I am not going to lie. I did not do a great job in all of these areas. Exercise for example. My husband and I might have ridden our bicycles only once in the month of July. But having a list helped me to stay focused on the right things.
Also, some things came into play that were not on the list. For example, the Hallmark channel and the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel held Christmas in July. So, watching Christmas movies almost daily took up a lot of time. But watching these movies with my husband was a nice way for us to spend time together. And this also helped me to just “be” and not “do.”
I also returned to crocheting in July. (More on that in a future post!)
But I must say that one thing which really helped me in July was to have daily check-ins with myself. In my journal, I wrote the following questions each day: How did I do with my July challenge? What did I learn? This truly helped me to stay focused and to keep my distractions limited. If I had a bad day, I could see that right away and this helped me to refocus the following day. Mainly I tried to slow down and eliminate doing too much out of habit. I will be touching more on some of this in the weeks to come, so please be sure to stay tuned!
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. – Psalm 62:5-6
© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas