Take a Break from “Doing” and Start “Being”

Our lives are so full. We set them up that way. We love it. The more we can achieve, the better we feel about ourselves. Our houses should be their cleanest. Our kids should be involved in activities (we don’t want them to be seen as lazy). And what about building a career? You should have high ambitions and drive hard every day to take steps forward to be the Best_____ (fill in the blank). If you are not seen as trying to climb the ladder then you are not trying hard enough. We kill ourselves to impress those around us by how much we accomplish. For some powerful reason, we are still trying to make someone proud of us; our parents, our friends, our spouses, our children.

Achievement is innate in all of us. From the time we are born, we are trying to gain our parents’ approval. When we enter school, it is our teachers and fellow classmates that we want to impress. Competition is real; on the playground, during those exams, trying to get into college. Life tends to train us to continually look for a way to gain an edge on those around us. Work harder. Do more. Stand out.

Staying busy, having more on your checklist than you can ever accomplish in one day, is empowering, right? Is that what makes you who you are? Is that what defines you; what you “do?” Your day-in and day-out rat race, running yourself ragged, is that what defines you? Perhaps. If so, then you don’t stand out at all. Anyone can make a list of the things that you do each day and do them. This doesn’t make you unique. This doesn’t truly define what lies deep within you; your “youness.”

Consider looking at your life through this lens; bear with me. If you died today, what would people say about you? Yep, we’re going there. What would people say about you in the neighborhood, at work, at your funeral? I’ll tell you what they would say about me before I changed my focus. If I had died a year ago, people would have said, “Wow, so sad to hear about Heather. She worked her butt off. She worked so hard every day from 7 am to almost 7 pm. And I think she was kind of nice.” I was so defined by the things I was “doing.” I thought that the more things I achieved, the more purposes I served, the more important and viable I would become. The result of all of this “achieving” would lead to more happiness, right? Wrong. Very, very wrong.

I was only impacting processes, not people. Not the way I wanted to have an impact. There was more in me than what I could “do.” There was more that defined me than what I could accomplish by being busy. And to be honest with you, I wasn’t happy, not truly happy. I was feeling spent. No matter how much I achieved, I still felt unsatisfied with my progress and empty inside.

I don’t want to be remembered by how busy I am. I want to be remembered for deeper reasons. I want my legacy to be centered around how deeply I cared for people, by how much I made them smile, by the fun crazy adventures that I journeyed through. I want to genuinely make a meaningful impact on people around me. I want to nurture my relationships, including my relationship with myself.

I decided to stop “Doing” so many things and started “Being” more.

Being more still

Being more thoughtful and unrushed

Being more aware of everything around me

Being more aware of my surroundings at this moment

Being more aware of the energy and needs of those around me

Being more aware of myself and my personal goals and desires

Soon I realized things I hadn’t before. I began to connect more deeply with those most important to me. I noticed more clearly the deep needs of those around me, and I took a long moment to sit with them (for more than one minute) and talk with them more about themselves. I took a break from my craziness to just breathe, look out the window, go for a walk, give myself time to contemplate who I really am and what I truly want for my life.

It was a challenge. The call of responsibility is strong. Society tells you that if you aren’t “Doing” than you are lazy. I tell you whole-heartedly, this is a myth. You deserve to take time to be still. You deserve to take time to think and be creative. Let your mind wander. It can’t wander if you are constantly tasking it with activity. Creativity, self-awareness, hearing the voice of your true calling can only occur if you stop engaging your mind in tasks. Give your mind and yourself some space to stretch. It is only then that you truly achieve what life has set for you. Hear that? What Life” has set for you. Not the world. The world is like a rushing river.  It will pull you along its own agenda unless you take control of your time and find the purpose that God has specifically designed for you. Do you feel like you are being carried along by the world? Do you feel like you want more control over where you are going? Do you feel that you aren’t where you think you need to be? Perhaps you are not yet living your special, unique purpose. God is constantly reminding you of your true calling. You can’t hear his purpose for you unless you get away from the drone of “Doing” and set yourself to more “Being.”

Of course, life will continue to have responsibilities you need to accomplish, but I challenge you to find a small smidgen of time every day to devote to stillness, to breathing in the moment, to relaxing your mind. Give yourself permission to just “Be;” you deserve it. During these special moments, don’t have expectations for yourself, no rules or boxes to stay in. What you find will be inspiring. You just might decide to nourish that hidden passion. Paint more, buy a kayak, start a Mom’s group, hit the gym and get those biceps you’ve always dreamed of, and spend more time with those who mean the most to you.

 

Wow, the memories you will make, and the joy you will find in your life. Your daily tasks will suddenly seem lighter because your cup will be full. Even though you will be taking valuable time away from your “Doing,” you will actually feel more accomplished. You will feel more fulfilled in your life, and thus every step will be lighter for you. Your days will have purpose; a purpose that is in line with your own personal journey and desires.

My hope for you: Give yourself time to experience your uniqueness. Give yourself permission to relax, to let your mind wander, to just “BE.” Creative and amazing things will happen. You just might find more happiness, more fulfillment in your life. And those around you will celebrate as you find your true passion. You can’t live your passion without a smile on your face, and a smile brightens so many of those around you. What will your legacy be?

You Are Enough!

We all strive to be our best. We try to eat right.  We try to be active. We try to take time for ourselves. All while also trying to be our best for those we serve; our work teams, our boyfriend/girlfriend, our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends, our pets. It can be overwhelming. We can often put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We set expectations that are almost impossible to achieve.  We can begin to believe that we will never be able to earn our “halo.”

Listen to me: You don’t earn your halo.  You have always had one, and believe it or not, it is still there; bright and shiny.  You are perfect just as you are, just as God created you.  You are enough!  Let me say that again.  You are enough!!  Within you is all of the “specialness” that is YOU.  The world has been waiting for you to come along and share yourself with us.  And everything that you are IS ENOUGH! You were “fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful” (Psalm 139:14).

You may say to me, “but I don’t necessarily like who I am right now; I know I can be better.”  Awesome!!  You have goals; you want to be better than yesterday.  You may not be able to achieve all that you want at this moment, but you are trying, and that is what is most important.  The great news is that today is a new day, and with each day we get to try again.  And be honest with yourself; each day is full of successes.  Did you wake up today?  Did you smile at someone today? Did you pack your kids lunch? Did you let someone in front of you in traffic? Did you take the stairs today? How far did you walk from the car to the office?  Are there veggies in your lunch today? Do you have a bottle of water with you right now?  Look at that; you are doing great!  You should celebrate and take a few extra minutes to sit quietly and be thankful for all that you are and all that you were able to achieve today.  You ROCK! Tomorrow you are going to start there and achieve a little bit more.  You got this!

I implore you to start today with a deep breath and a smile; don’t just jump out of bed and hit the ground running.  Center yourself first.  Even a sprinter before a race, will breathe deeply, stretch a little, and mentally visualize running and winning the race.  You deserve the same as you start your journey today.  You are so very strong.  You are brilliantly smart in all things “you.”  No one completes all the wonderful things that you will today like you will.  Actually no one could be a better you, than “you.”  That is your stabilizing constant success; being you.

Life may seem like it is more than you can handle or want to handle.  It may seem overwhelming.  Most of us have more on our plate than we will be able to complete today.  Society seems to place great worth on how much you can achieve.  Society encourages us to believe that achieving more will make those around us happier with us or more accepted.  The bigger tragedy is that we may even internalize this concept over the years, and now believe within ourselves that we must achieve more in order to be proud of ourselves. I mean, look around you at all that everyone else is achieving; you don’t want to fall behind.  STOP IT!

You have lots of responsibilities today and guess what?  You will likely knock most of them out of the park.  Really, you will.  Think of all the things you will accomplish.  You are driven and motivated.  You will not let something slide.  You will do all you can to follow through on your commitments.  You may not be able to accomplish everything, but what you do, you will do to your best at the moment.  And like a small stone in a pond, your actions will slowly start to affect the world around you. The world needs you.  You have a purpose.  We all do.  Most of us are still trying to figure out what it is.  I believe that ultimately our purpose is to share ourselves with the world, our true selves.  Purpose is revealed in even the smallest act you make.  Maybe you don’t complete that project today.  Maybe you don’t finish that manuscript.  Maybe you lose that account that you have been working so hard to get.  But in the journey lies your purpose.

Don’t forget to reward yourself for the small things.  Merely waking up today, showing up today, being “you,” is exactly what the world needed.  And let me say for all of those that you touch today, THANK YOU!  We all appreciate what you do today.  We may not show it.  In fact, sometimes we are struggling in our own path and find it hard to show gratitude to others, but you know what?  Just you walking with us at that moment, helps us, even if we can’t find the energy to show you.

So take that breath, smile, stretch, visualize you running the race of today, and pat yourself on the back.  You will be able to walk your path today like only you can do.  You will rock this!