Tag Archives: discipline

Day 29: Powering Through (31 Days of Simple Truths)

Can I tell you how many times I’ve wanted to quit this 31 days of writing challenge? Well, actually I couldn’t tell because I’ve lost count.

Some days I had something I really wanted to say, but other days involved a lot of staring at the blank screen before any words would form. Some days I was fine with writing for me whether anyone read it or not, but other days my brain was saying, “For the love, is anyone out there? Why am I doing this just for me? Don’t we have journals for that?”

31daysOfSimpleTruthsBut this was really important for me, largely because I’ve allowed all the writing I do at work to overshadow the writing I do for me. I haven’t been investing in my own words, and my creative soul pays dearly for that neglect. It even negatively impacts my work because I end up resentful of the time I need to focus there.

More importantly though, I am trying to unravel myself from the sticky trap of perfectionism. I always feel the need to have all my ducks in a row before really tackling any project. Which means I’ve been accomplishing a whole lot of nothing when it comes to many of my personal goals and ambitions, especially the creative ones.

Next month is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, for those unfamiliar); it’s an attempt at utter insanity, I mean, an attempt to write 50,000 words in a single month. There’s no time for overanalyzing yourself or making everything perfect. It’s about getting the words out. And I have a book idea (a few actually), but I’ve allowed everything else under the sun to block me from making it happen. But I need to get it out, if for no other reason than to prove to myself that I can.

A feat like that requires consistently writing in big chunks, but it also requires consistently writing in smaller chunks—adding something every single day. I have no excuses now, because I have spent all of October stripping them away. No excuses, because now I know, tired or not, blank screen or not, burst of brilliant ideas or not, I can find the words, even if it’s only 200 of them at a time. I can write something, regardless of what else the day throws at me.

So if for no other reason, it was worth powering through October and reaching for the truth in each day. And now, I think I’ll try to write that book.

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Filed under 31 Days of Simple Truths, Creativity, Perfectionism, Writing

Choosing Rest

Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As my resolutions are forming in this first month of the year, I am structuring them around 5 things I’ve realized I need to choose on a regular, daily basis.

And by far at the top of the list? Rest.

I have struggled with a lifestyle that includes rest for so long, I can’t remember not struggling with it.  I tend to go at a whirlwind place, pausing for a day periodically for something I’ve been calling rest but really has been more like catch-up-on-all-the-other-things-I’m-behind-on day.  I’m also pretty good about taking days for fun with my munchkins, which offers a certain measure of rest, but at the same time, I’m still pouring out, still parenting.  More often than not, when I actually slow down and stop, it’s because my body has gone as far as it can go, and it finally crashes.

There is nothing healthy about any of this.

In my defense, last year in particular I made some good strides in building what my pastor calls “margin” into my life.  But here is where I failed and here is where I am changing: patterns of rest need to be cultivated as a discipline.  Rest is a matter of choosing, and by default, the deliberate choosing – the act of saying yes to rest results in saying no to other things.  Good things.  Fun things.  Important things. (He rarely shouts, but I can almost hear my dad shouting, “Amen!” here.  I’m pretty sure he’s been trying to tell me this for years.)

Rest can feel selfish.  This is my biggest struggle.  There are so many worthy things bidding for my time (and some times they are worth sacrificing for).  But I am not as effective as I could be at anything if I am not taking care of myself – emotionally, physically, spiritually.  None of us are.  We weren’t wired that way.

We need sleep.  We need refreshing.  Our brains need a break.  Our emotions need a break.  Even our spirits need a break.

This process is a challenge for me.  It is a matter of stripping away everything that can go and starting over to decide what is necessary for this season.  It is a matter of restructuring my daily and weekly schedule to accommodate 8 hours of sleep and regular intervals of relaxation.  It is a matter of discipline to stay caught up with tasks in allotted time frames, so I’m not cutting in to my down time later.  I am even scheduling in time to read (definitely the best change I’ve made so far!  I love books!).

Somewhere along the way, I think I adopted that saying, “I’ll rest when I’m dead”, not even realizing I had done it.  But here’s the thing – you live that way, you most certainly will die that way, much sooner than you were meant to.  And by the time you physically die that way, you will have killed everything else that mattered to you in the process.  This is a sobering realization.

Here is what I am learning: rest is not for the weak because they just don’t have the stamina for everything life is demanding of them. It is not an indicator of failure or inadequacy.

No, rest is for the wise because they understand the world doesn’t need more of their time; it needs more of their energy.  It needs more of their focus and their life and their vitality.  These are things a worn out, unhealthy person simply cannot give.  And perhaps most importantly, rest is for people who understand their own worth, who know they are far more significant than simply the sum of all their tasking.

I have not been able to rest well because I have embraced the idea that I am not valuable if I am not doing.  And you know, that is probably true of some people; they don’t care beyond what I’m contributing to their cause.  These are unhealthy relationships, and they need to go anyway.  This is a new process for me, a new way of seeing life, but I am wholly committed to it.

I choose rest.

And you?  What habits/boundaries/disciplines have you established to protect your rest?  How are you choosing to protect your worth over your to do list?  Where do you need to start?

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