You Be You

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In four months, I will be celebrating my 48th birthday. It’s not one of the “big” birthdays. It’s a normal birthday celebrating 365 days with breath in my lungs. Sometimes the normal birthdays are more difficult than the milestones.

This year, in particular, I am more aware that my life is changing. My daughter will graduate from high school and I will be the mother of two college students. My vocation is changing, too. I’m leading a congregation, considering an additional staff member, and coaching other women in ministry. It reminds me that somewhere along the way I graduated from rookie to experienced. So why do I still feel like a rookie?

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In the midst of decision making, someone recently said to me, “You be you.” It stopped me in mid-thought and made me laugh. You be you.

We try so hard to be anyone else but ourselves. In our 20s and 30s, we’re trying to find ourselves. Sometimes we’re trying to lose ourselves. Other times we’re trying to please everyone but ourselves. But in your 40s? In your 40s you finally realize you cannot run from yourself. Wherever you go, there you are.

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This idea of “you be you” cannot mean the same at 30 as it does at 48. Too many things have happened to tell me it holds a different meaning now. At 48 I want to be me. Maybe because I’ve tried being so many other people and the clothes don’t fit.

Here I stand at the entry point of 2018 and the goal of being me. The real one; the one God intended me to be from the start. This me likes coffee and reading and deep thinking. This me wants to shape my world and occasionally be shaped by it. This me thinks we’re better together and that quiet time is good for the soul. This me wants you to share your innovative ideas and hear a few of mine. This me believes we need each other in community if we are going to be the person God intended us to be.

You be you. Yes. This is what I want to do in the coming year. Be authentic. I’m betting this is going to be harder than it sounds. But it cannot be a difficult as trying to be someone else.

Happy New Year! Wake up from your recliner and you be you!

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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.

 

Dust

“All your life you will sweat to produce food, until your dying day. Then you will return to the ground from which you came. For you were made from dust, and to the dust you will return.” ~ Genesis 3:19

Have you ever had one of those days?  Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?  Nothing going quite right?

Do you work and strive and never seem to get ahead in life?  Hmm.  Ever wonder why?  Once upon a time, we had a really sweet life!  And Adam & Eve mucked it all up.  Seriously!

Sunday, we will take a look at how it all came crashing down around the first Man and Woman.  And, how it still seems hopeless to us here thousands of years later.  Do you think you can relate?  I know I can.

But more than that, I want to know…is there anything we can do about it?  Can we turn this ship around?  Can we somehow make amends with God?  What if we bake Him a cake?  I know chocolate always works for me.

I know some of you think you already know the answer.  But I bet there is a thing or two that might surprise you.  So drag yourself out of the right side of the bed and join us Sunday at 11am.

I’ll make coffee…and bring chocolate!