Last week I was given the task of coming up with a ‘creative presentation’ that would describe the status of the 5 aspects in my life, being Spiritual, Mental (or intellectual), Physical, Relational, and Financial. I decided to write a poem:
Once upon a time when things were pretty stark,
Money tight, purpose slight, time moving slow.
Then one day, catastrophe brought upon me many change,
Things got worse, this is probably the hardest verse, as I was feeling pretty low.
Learning to start in a brand new way, learning to chase my dreams,
Building good habits, breaking the bad, working together in teams.
A new relationship to learn new things, turn selfish into giving,
And God on my side, made me a happy bride, a brand new way of living.
Now challenges new, there’s a lot not a few, but discipline’s helping me,
I’m counting my blessings and chasing my passions, since finally I know what to be.
This poem illustrates my journey from several years back until today. Our beautifully designed life guarantees many changes and many challenges as I go from failure to victory and victory to failure, yet at least I’m on the right journey now. There’s a big difference from travelling down a difficult path to darkness, to nothingness, and travelling down a difficult path towards our colorful goals. I didn’t focus on that before, but I know I must focus on it now. Playing a game of football is fun as well as tests our stamina, skills, and our ability to work well in a team, yet there has to be a goal to aim for or the game would never have a finale and we would never have a shot at that win!
So after learning to choose my path and aim for that goal, it’s important I’m 100% sure of what I want. Once I step onto that path it’s a commitment to doing whatever it takes to win those obstacles along the way regardless of how hard they are, which is why humbling myself through any commitment is so important despite not being an easy thing to do. It’s like marriage, once we enter it, it’s a commitment to ride that rollercoaster together with someone else for the rest of our lives no matter how scary it gets. It’s a commitment to give whatever we’ve got for the rest of our lives regardless of our ‘feelings’. Being kind when we are angry is hard, loving when we are prideful is hard, sharing knowledge and time without any return is hard. I guess the human mind is wired to fight when we are fought at, to stop loving when we are not loved, to share knowledge and time when it benefits us in some way, yet only the opposite reaps a successful life. So taking a look at these 5 aspects of life has been a real eye opener and a great refresher of what’s important and how to achieve the best results. And it’s certainly not with my mind alone.
There are so many things in life that we want, so many dreams, ambitious ventures, yet none of this is possible without good health. At the end of the day we are NOT our bodies, not our body, not our mind, not our achievements even, we are simply a soul living in our bodies as that’s the only thing we bring with us when we pass away, yet God has ‘temporarily’ blessed us with this life and the bodies we have to live it, and the only way we keep on living is with a healthy body. Enough said!
- Consistently go to the gym and stick the the schedule and make sure I challenge myself each time I’m there with something new.
- Eat mostly healthy food. I like the 70% healthy 30% treats kind of ‘lifestyle’ eating.
- Get better sleep by eliminating things that keep me awake such as thinking too much, drinking too much caffeine, eating too much sugar, drinking too much too close to bedtime (night time toilet trips are horrible!), using bright lights before sleeping, going to sleep without peace in my heart.
- Take the vitamins my body needs to keep healthy if I am lacking the right amount from food, and also have more protein in order to build the muscles I want.
- Remove stress from my life by creating stronger boundaries. As I heard Joyce Myers once say, “If you don’t want the neighbours dog pooping in your garden, build a fence.”
Over the past few years I’ve realized the only way to become a better me, is to keep learning something new every single day. We have so much space in those brains of ours and we probably only ever used a minuscule percentage of that space in our lifetime. The amount of limitations we give ourselves due to laziness, fear, lack of motivation etc., is a sure recipe to never reach our dreams. Essentially, the more we learn, the more we are able to help others with our new found wisdom as well as bettering our lives in many ways (through better choices mostly), so why would we put limits on that?
- Reading more, including books I don’t necessarily enjoy just so I can learn new things and work on my weak spots. This takes a huge amount of discipline for me and is a work in progress. Like everything I suppose.
- Attending more training sessions of various subjects and studying new things.
- Meeting more with successful people I admire and learning from their own personal failures and victories.
This is a tough one to master for a free spirited, creative person like me with a slight scatter brain tendency. This takes careful planning and lots of numbers which is not my biggest gift, plus thinking more about the future which, honestly speaking, can make me slightly ‘nervous’ to think about. There’s so many ‘what if’s’ in the future, but one thing for sure is that no matter where I am, what I’m doing (unless I get adopted by a troop of monkeys), I will need money to survive. To eat, to live, to retire (luxuries aside), and to pass onto my kids. Honestly the focus on finance has the effect of emptying out all useful information from my brain every time I try to think of it, but the more I force myself to try the more I can focus a little more each time. Sometimes our weak area takes longer to master, yet the fact that we start the journey and don’t give up is important. Fail, get back up, fail, get back up.
- Set aside money to tithe.
- Set aside a selected amount of savings and stick to it.
- Budget more which means sacrificing certain things that I want.
- Make investments just like the Parable of Talents in the bible teaches us, we can only make more money through investments not through burying it, and we will only ever be trusted with any amount of money according to our abilities to take care of it.
- Sit down with someone who’s good at finances and patient enough to teach a learner like me.
- Pray about my weaknesses and ask for ultimate strength.
This is an important one for me as my Strengths Finder confirms that after Empathy, Relator is my second biggest strength. I work much better in teams with people that I trust than I do alone. Even the way my mind travels from one subject to another is because of at least one thing that related to the next topic and reminded me of it. And there I go…
Relationships are obviously important in everyone’s life as every single person has to deal with at least someone each day. Whether it’s our parents, kids, employees, boss, team mates, siblings, friends, doctor, strangers, mentors, postman, bank manager, accountant, cashier, and the list goes on, which just goes to show this is a very important part of our lives and worth giving some attention to.
- Spend a lot more time working on the relationships closest to me. Are the people closest in my life getting the most of my attention and efforts? Remembering that what we spend the most time on is what we value the most.
- Give more time to my friends, and be the one to reach out more often than wait for them to reach out to me.
- Listen more to others with the knowledge that regardless of who anyone is there is ALWAYS something I can learn from them as well as bless them with my time and attention. Time and especially FULL attention can be rare as our minds are often busy with something else..
- Read more about relationships so I can keep learning from others experiences and finding new perspectives.
- Spend WAY more time working on my relationship with God, as that is the MOST important relationship I have.
If I had to rate where I’m at in my life spiritually I would have to admit I can use a lot of improvement. Yes, I read my devotions in the morning and/or at night, but that takes literally minutes. Considering the amount of time in the day and how none of the other 4 aspects of life work without a strong ground, I realize my spiritual life needs a LOT more attention. Since I’m planting seeds every single day, I need to stop planting in thorny grounds, for those seeds are growing beside weeds which will literally suffocate all my efforts in the long run. Even with good soil, I need to make sure there are no thorns, no weeds close by, or my efforts will be in vain. This is reflected in my life through worry, through stress. When my relationship is not right with Him, it affects my life in a huge way and I will never be the example I want to be.
- Discipline myself to set schedules to study the bible. Not slouching around in bed but sitting at the table with a study bible and actually learning from it something new every day.
- Spend more time in thoughtful prayer praying for all the people around me I know very well need prayers, being thankful for my blessings and even for the challenges that are teaching me the best lessons of my life, then sitting back a while and listening for answers, even if they do not come right away.
- Attend weekly bible group and church.
- Have a disciple’s heart, looking for every opportunity to share God’s love (and obviously I need to be an example to be able to do this).
- Consistency!!! This is the most important as my character is developed not by what I do on occasions but what I do consistently, all the time.
- Spend more time with people who share the same values as me, who pick me up when I’m down, who encourage me with ‘no strings attached’ and who lovingly correct me when I need correction instead of watch me make the wrong choices, because they care about me enough to do so.
After going through these 5 aspects it became totally clear to me that not one of them works without a whole heart. Without giving God 100% of my heart. Without going ALL IN with my commitments and sticking to my values throughout the process. Every single one of these aspects ended in spending time with God, with seeking him before making decisions, seeking him for knowledge, seeking him for strength, seeking him for friendship, remembering my body is his temple in order to keep a healthy body.
At the end of the day I can ask myself, am I planting seeds in good soil in every aspect of my life? Am I being consistent with all my efforts?
I know that it takes discipline to ensure I ask myself these questions daily and work on my action plan to achieve them, no matter what the weather. I know I’m not superwoman and will not hit the goal right away, nor in every game. But the important thing is that I start somewhere and surround myself with believers that not only believe in me, but believe in His will of a ‘successful’ life for me once I develop the relationship with Him that I need to achieve it.