Mind Dump

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For most of my life, I have been an easy-going person; unflappable. I prefer my days to unfold and find schedules to be anxiety-producing. Some would break out in a cold sweat thinking about an unscheduled or unstructured day. Some find solace in routine. I find it in flexibility.

However, after my children were born, I found myself living in a structured, scheduled daily routine. Babies like to eat at regular intervals and prefer sleeping routines that follow suit. And my life changed.

I discovered my mind would race throughout the day overwhelmed by the things I was trying to remember. My to-do list was growing longer and the anxiety was building.

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At night, when I lay my head on the pillow, all I wanted was for my mind to stop…thinking. It felt as if my mind would explode trying to remember it all.

I was already using a calendar and I had a couple of systems in place. But my mind didn’t want me to forget. So it kept reminding me.

It was around this time that a friend introduced me to the book, Getting Things Done, by David Allen. Allen’s system is a great step to productivity. But the concept of “Mind Dump” is the biggest takeaway that most people neglect.

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Allen contends that the reason most of us experience insomnia is the inability to turn off our brains. And our brains don’t want to shut down because there is nowhere to put the information it is trying to remember. If we give our brains a safe place to store the information, then it can trust itself to rest.

The first step in doing this is called a Mind Dump.

Step One: get yourself a blank notebook or journal

Step Two: write everything that comes to your mind

  • ideas you want to explore
  • projects that need to get done
  • appointments you need to keep or schedule
  • errands you need to run
  • people you want to talk to about something specific
  • places you want to go or visit
  • things you want to accomplish
  • stuff you hate about your job, family, life, house, etc.
  • keep writing until you run out of stuff to write
  • put the notebook somewhere you will see it in the morning
  • schedule a time/date on your calendar/phone to review it
  • go to sleep

Step Three: you will need to keep that appointment (of reviewing the list) or your mind will return to reminding you of all the stuff

Step Four: at the appointment, begin to categorize the items on the list.

Step Five: create a “next step” for each category. If your mind knows there is a list you will review and the next step to follow, then it will allow you to rest. Follow through is the key to getting your mind to stop and rest though.

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Since I have implemented the mind dump, I rarely have trouble falling asleep (unless caffeine is involved). On those nights, or even during the day, when I’m feeling anxious, I use the mind dump to clear my anxious thoughts. It’s one of the greatest gifts I have been given! Give it a try and you just might get some rest.

 

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I AM TIRED!

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Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; – (Isaiah 40:30)

 

Tired, tired, tired! Fatigue.

We are a weary, tired people. We suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, and other sleep disorders.

We are tired of working, tired of waiting, tired of doing good.

Young adults are tired. Middle-aged people are tired. Old men & women are tired.

My congregation offers two worship times on Sundays; 11AM & 1PM. The 1PM crowd are mostly senior adults (75+). They say they cannot make it to the 11AM because it is too early to get up. I guess we really are all tired and weary. Even Jesus got tired.

In John’s Gospel, Jesus and His disciples were traveling through Samaria, and Jesus sat down near a well “because He was tired from the journey”. Life is a journey, and we get tired along the way. Some parts of this life journey seem longer and steeper than others, and we find we need to sit down and rest along the way.

We have recently learned of several couples calling it quits along the journey. Marriage is definitely in the “longer and steeper” category of life. And they grew weary. Weary of one another; weary of working, waiting, doing good to one another. It’s not an indictment. It’s just an observation.

Saturday I am officiating a wedding. I will ask them to pledge their vows to one another. And I will do so, standing there, knowing life & marriage gets weary and burdensome. They will have sparkles in their eyes. Their faces will be radiant with love. And they will be certain they can make it through the long, steep journey together.

What do I tell them? How do I prepare them? And will they even listen?

Jesus said to those following Him, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. 

If we are going to make it through this life journey, we need to come to Jesus. It is not a cliche. We need to learn to rest in Him. We must walk with Him, and we must stop and rest along the way. Our life journey cannot simply include an ideology of Jesus. We must know Him. We must walk with Him. We must rest in Him. And we must listen to Him. If we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, we will make it. It is when we take our eyes off of Him, that we begin to sink into the mire of this world.

Make your faith a priority this summer. Make Jesus central in your day, week, season, and life. Agree to make Him the center of your marriage, your family, your priorities. Listen:  those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Keep fighting the good fight of faith!