Something I've become acutely aware of during this season of my life and ministry is my need to prioritize & get the most out of my time. It's a journey, to be sure, but I'm getting better at it. Something I've gotten in the habit of is preparing checklists, to-do lists for each day. Four actions appear on my list every day:
1. Say thanks to someone.
I'm so bad at this one. There are a lot of people and things I am thankful for, but feeling thankful isn't enough--you actually have to say thanks for it to make any real difference. Verbally, in person is great, but if you think of someone or something you're thankful for and they're not standing right in front of you, don't assume you'll remember to do it later. Sit down at a table and write a thank you note. It doesn’t have to be a literary masterpiece--just a simple note of thanks. A small thing that may just be the encouragement someone else desperately needs right now.
2. Give something to someone.
You have a friend, neighbor, co-worker or organization who need something you have. Maybe it’s a tangible item. Maybe it’s your time. Maybe it’s a connection to someone else. But you have it and it would mean a lot to someone else. Letting go of stuff is one of the most freeing things you can do.
Ganna and I pretty regularly take bags of clothing to Goodwill--not only does it free up some precious space in the 1300 square foot house that our family of 8 people and one dog call home, but it helps someone else.
I've also seen times when the church had a need and received a financial gift from an unexpected source, and what an encouragement and faith building moment it was for all involved.
If you have more than you need, consider giving something away.
3. Be honest about something.
Living a double life is exhausting.
There’s something going on in your life, heart or world that needs to come into the light. It might be a secret or it might be a fear, but if you can be honest about it, you will be healthier and happier.
Honesty does something for the soul. And relationships where you can be totally open are life-giving.
4. Work on something that matters.
We all have to do work stuff that doesn’t fulfill us. It’s just the way it is.
But find as much time in your schedule to work on something that really matters. Whatever it is that brings you fulfillment, make room for it. If it seems too big, too daunting, that's ok-- just do something small today. Push it forward, even if it’s just a few inches.