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Have you ever read or watched something and it’s like the character’s lines were pulled directly from your life? What they are saying or doing is so similar to your life it’s like you consulted on the article, chapter, or scene offering the author or screenwriter creative material grounded in reality, your reality.
Well as I sat in bed reading Margaret Feinberg’s Wonder Struck I was reading the chapter that would make you think that Margaret and I are bff’s and a story from my own life was the basis of this chapter. She shared that what seemed like out of nowhere she found herself tired, continuously running on empty until she looked at her husband one morning and said “I can’t do this anymore.”
He recommended she take a day off and when she shared she would need more than a day he recommended she see a counselor to see what was at the route of the burnout. Sure enough, as Margaret shares her experience with her counselor, the route of her burnout- lack of rest. Not sleep, not vacations, but a lifestyle that did not incorporate the regularity of rest. As Margaret embarks on a lifestyle of rest she shares the benefits of rest stating “rest leaves room for life with intent.” Rest leaves room for a life that is purposeful, deliberate, and considered.
Photo courtesy of Craig McDean/Vogue Italy
I’d spent a week pushing past my tiredness, talking to other colleagues who gave me that look, that look that says “Sweetie, take a break before you break.” I scheduled a break, and I was reading Wonder Struck on this break when the idea of living with intent took up residence in my mind. It had knocked before, sat on my mind’s porch and sipped lemonade, but this time it came with luggage, a moving truck, and was marking the existing furniture of getting by, so it goes, and autopilot, as trash.
I spent several days thinking and rethinking about this idea of living with intent and what that will look like in my own life. Then I was reminded of the words of Dr. Henry Cloud from his book Necessary Endings “Life produces too much life.” While it sounds rather strange, it’s true. Life is constantly producing and at some point we have to make the decision, the mindful choice, of how much of that life we can manage. If not, all of life will consume us and we become lifeless or burned-out.
I thought I’d gotten a handle on not over committing myself and making time for rest, but when I looked at my work calendar, which is separate from my personal planner, I realized I was not leaving room for rest at all. I had meeting after meeting, project after project, client after client. I never scheduled lunch because I ate at my desk as I did research or wrote clinical notes. No wonder my friends and colleagues gave me that look. I was exhausted just looking at my schedule for the next several weeks. “Stop” I told myself aloud. “Just stop.”
I took a deep breath, grabbed a blank sheet of paper and began mapping out what I wanted my life to look like. What would rest in every area of my life look like? What would I purpose to do in times of rest? Remember, rest isn’t just sleeping in, taking a nap, or eating hummus and veggies while watching television. What would I purpose to do in my times of activity? With whom would I share times of unrest? What projects would I accept and which ones would I decline? I needed more than one sheet of paper.
Here’s what I’m thinking. A simply LIVEd life is one that is intentional. It is a life which engages in purpose every single day. It is a life that does not sit by the wishing well throwing in pennies, rather it daily seeks to be and do that which is life giving. It is a life whose yes means yes and no means no, whose outcome is not twice the amount its income, whose relationships are well springs and not desert mirages of oasis.
This week I want to encourage you to LIVE with intent. I want to ask you to take a moment before you read your next favorite blog, go pick up the kids, head to happy hour with your friends, or leave for your date, to make a sincere effort to be intentional with the rest of your day. I want to encourage you to
Photo Courtesy of Vogue Tumblr, Cynthia Smith of Vogue
- Be mindful so that your soul might be full.
- Refrain from texting for the sake of texting. If you need to communicate, call the person.
- Refrain from web-browsing to pass the time and do something with your time.
- If you need a break, choose something that will re energize you, like taking a walk.
- Try saying “Let me get back to you,” when that next invitation to do something social comes your way. And….think it over. If it’s the last “free night” on your calendar for that week, maybe it’s best you decline. But if it’s the only gathering and this is a relationship you want to continue to nourish then intentionally spend time with that person.
What does intentional LIVE-ing look like for you?
Can’t wait to hear! xxoo