I love lists, and I love projects. Maybe that is partly why I work on writing and crafts and extensive reading and getting three stars on all my Angry Birds levels, as well as doing my full-time job and the other tasks that go with day-to-day living.
Based on some of my most recent reading and life experiences, I have come up with five steps I am trying to make daily habits to help me improve my general mind set and my ability to meet the most important goal of all–living a life that reflects the love of Christ.
So, for better or worse, here’s the latest project I have, my daily checklist.
BETTER LIFE PRINCIPLES:
1. Think on the Word– What you think about is where your mind goes. If you are thinking about a person who is making you mad or about what you should be wearing, then your mind is not taking you to a good place. Being a person with high anxiety, I am in the very bad habit of letting my mind dwell on worries like getting bills paid or deadlines met for work or even things I can’t control like bad weather. If, instead, I put in my mind verses from the Bible that remind me about God’s love for me, about His desire for me to know peace, about His example of caring for others to show our love for Him, then where in my mind will there be room for worry?
To this end, I have begun trying to learn more Bible verses than my standard Lord’s prayer and Psalms 23. I found a great APP, called BibleMinded, that lets me choose verses I want to memorize, and even has a study and test mode to help me with the process.
2. Re-visualize my point system life– I am a perfectionist, which really is just a nicer way to say I am overly judgmental. I tend to want a 10, will settle for an 8 when time demands it, and reflect that I actually accomplished a 6 in hindsight. Recently, it dawned on me that most of the world tends to happily operate at an 8 on most days. It also dawned on me that most people don’t waste time putting a point value on their days. They spend their time more productively just living them.
That’s not me. I don’t think I can break a lifetime worth of analyzing my life both consciously and subconsciously this way. I can, however, re-think my point system. Basically, I think my judgmental 6 is probably the rest of the world’s 8. When I start to really beat myself up, I now ask myself, am I at least at a 6? If I am, I count it a good day, and move on.
3. Look for what is RIGHT instead of what is wrong– Along the same vein on being judgmental, I am working to see the good in things instead of the bad. Think about it. If I am always seeing what is wrong in the situations around me, including my own performance, then what chance do I have to foster a positive attitude? If I look for the good in people and situations, won’t it be easier to love them unconditionally?
Looking for what is right doesn’t mean ignoring what is wrong. You don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. But, how many “wrong” things we think about each day really have anything to do with sinful behavior? Also, by looking for what is right, I am beating myself up much less than I normally do.
4. “It’s not your business”– I am a problem solver. It gives me a deep satisfaction to come up with the solution to a difficult situation, so much so that I will often go looking for problems to find solutions to. But this habit can lead me to stick my nose into places it does not belong. By reminding myself what is and what is not my business, I keep myself from getting frustrated with myself and others. After all, when you try to make your business something that is not, why are you then surprised or angry when the other party doesn’t do what you think they should or seem interested in what you have to offer?
5. Get to vs. Have to– I’ve written about this important change of phrase that can lead to a whole change in attitude before. But, as with so many of life’s truths, it seems I have to keep reminding myself of the change in mindset I need to affect a more peaceful life. When you think about a task as something you get to do instead of thinking of it as something you have to do, do you realize how drastic a change that one word can make? Getting to do something is exciting, important, fun.
So, now I get to move forward in this life by fulfilling the promise in my Five-Step Program. For those of you who don’t like lists and projects, maybe your current program is a goal like starting to attend a new class at your church or knocking on your neighbor’s door to invite them to attend church with you next Sunday. Maybe you are determined to spend fifteen more minutes a day in your Bible study or in prayer.
Whatever you do, know that every day God gives us is one more day we can love more, learn more, and lean wholly on the One whose own life was a shining example of how to live our faith.