I told you yesterday about one of the Christmas gifts I received...the gift that keeps on giving. Why? Because it is a devotional which means I get a new gift every day of the year! I also explained about the author's counterintuitive principles. The first two on her list were: Fake It and Scrap Your Priorities. Craziness, right? Let's see....
The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well. ~ Joe Ancis
We always seem to think that everyone else has it all together while we are falling apart. That is just not the case. Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, has issues in their life. It is just how life is. No one escapes with everything all put together all the time. I knew of someone who I perceived had it all together. One day, we found out everything wasn't as it appeared on the outside. The sleek, seemingly put together woman with the perfect life that we saw on the outside, wasn't so put together after all. She was normal just like the rest of us.
People, especially women, wear so many different masks that sometimes we forget who we are and what we're about. We lose ourselves because we fear ridicule. We want to be accepted and to be admired. We feel that we must create someone who is more engaging and attractive than our true self. The solution, according to the author, is to Fake It....fake being yourself and let others see who you really are...be authentic. She states that being a totally authentic person is frightening for the majority of us because we can't hide our hearts behind a fantasy. She goes on to state that the fictional character we create for others to see is plastic and shallow. She believes the best three tips for faking it are the 3 "Rs":
- Reveal - tell others something about yourself that is deprecating but humorous. Other people love to hear that you aren't perfect either and that you can laugh at yourself.
- Respond - listen with your heart and respond with your eyes...make eye contact.
- Relax - get comfortable...let go of all the pretenses.
The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. ~Stephen Covey
I have a daily planner/organizer/second Bible...we all have our own name for it, but it is the calendar that runs our lives. I can't go anywhere without my planner. I feel totally dysfunctional without it and usually suffer severe withdrawal affects if I discover I've left it behind. If you are like me, when you open it, you find that your schedule is so packed you don't even know where to begin. So what do we do, we prioritize what is on the schedule for that particular day and hope that we get it all accomplished. The result...we spread ourselves too thin. We give so little to each task that none of them are completed successfully...they are all half-done. Unless you are a type A personality like me and crawl into bed at 2:00 a.m. because you just had to complete everything to the best of your ability, and satisfaction, on that list. The next day there is usually not enough left of me to go around, but I push on because it is what I feel I must do. I don't know when to "throw in the towel".
The author explains where the analogy "throw in the towel" originated....from boxing. When the coach feels that his fighter has had enough, he throws a towel into the ring to indicate the fight is over...his guy is finished. We all have spouses or friends who can see when we are done, but we can never see it for ourselves. We need someone there to "throw in the towel" for us. What that means is that the priority to win is scrapped to fulfill the priority to live. In order to Live Intentionally, we must learn when to throw in the towel.
The first step, according to the author, is to assess your situation to determine what self-imposed duties are robbing you of joy. Then develop a plan to get to where you want to go, rather than moving from task to task. She states that life is a destination worth planning for. She lists a few of the priorities she scrapped in order to Live Intentionally:
- Dinner - Two nights a week she and her family had take out instead of her rushing home from work trying to get a home-cooked meal put together. She said that while they didn't have an organic vegetable on the table every night, she and her family were able to spend quality time together sitting down to eat...at the table. I love what she said, "Spinach was sacrificed for quality time with the family."
- Laundry - The author taught her kids how to do their own laundry so that Saturdays were spent enjoying time together rather than working. If they didn't wash their laundry, they wore dirty clothes. Guess what...they learned how to wash their clothes and no one turned her in to Child Protective Services!
- Bible Study - She swapped daily Bible study for Christian CDs and books on tape. She spent her commute time with God and gained 30 minutes of extra sleep every day. She said she was sure Jesus still loved her.
I'm just sayin',