Today’s post is a guest post by Sarah Mae.
Do you ever wish you could pause your life just long enough to catch up with it?
The other day I woke up and thought, “if I could just magically make everyone sleep for a month I could catch up on the cleaning, my to-do lists, and my life.” I want to get everything in order, and then take time for my soul. I need to figure out my life, my next steps, and begin…all why everyone sleeps so their are no distractions or interruptions.
I need a big, fat, PAUSE button on life.
Can anyone relate?
Well, since I can’t have one (boo), I have decided to create my own pauses amid the distractions and normalties of life. I shall do this by choosing to own my life (as Sally Clarkson says), and be active in the life I want to live.
And why not? I’ve only got one shot at this life gig, so I sure as heck don’t want to waste it. I want to live fully alive! I want to figure out how to enjoy my children (because I don’t always). I want to wonder, and be inspired, and open my eyes to the whole world. I want to embrace the mundane and the hard. I want to live true and honest and willing.
So I will.
“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.” -Victor Hugo
Want to join me? Here are a few ways we can choose to live:
Figure Out What Gives You Life, and What Drains It
Living full and open-eyed isn’t about living selfish. Truly living is about figuring out how to thrive even in the mundane; how to live so as to take in and find the pleasure in the hidden, the life in the loss, and the truth in the every of days. One way we can do this is by figuring out what drains our life and what fills it. For example, I could say my kids drain my life, but that would be looking at life through a speckled lens. Instead, I could say that my the days I sit home and avoid my children while my guilt racks up points drains me, but what gives me life is choosing to go on an adventure with them and enter into their worlds and see through their innocent eyes and their full of wonder spirits.
Do you see the difference? It’s perspective.
However, there are truly draining things in life that we should not feel guilty for giving up. Is there something you are doing, volunteering for, or leading that is stealing the joy you have in other areas of your life? What if you dropped one thing you were doing, and in dropping that one thing your body and your mind were freed up, just enough that you could enjoy your family more?
What if you did a hard thing, like serving someone else, but it filled you because you were realized that you gave life another in the serving? But of course you can’t live outside yourself if you’re doing too much for yourself.
Which brings us to the question, what makes you happy? In the deepest part of your being, who do you want to be? What fills you up? What makes you come alive?
Think on these things, and figure out what will fill your soul and what will drain it. Un-muddy your perspective by thinking outside the lens and see what you can come up with.
Evaluate Your Free Time
I have wasted hours of my life on nothing at all. And sometimes that’s okay, but the wasted hours add up to dim, boring, unfruitful life. How un-interesting! This morning I went to Starbucks, and sitting outside was a man smoking a cigarette and reading a book. It was 30 degrees out. I could see his breath in the air. I said, “is this some form of self-torture?” And he replied, “No, it’s actually not that bad.”
I found him completely interesting.
He was living off the grid of normal. He was doing something different, and I liked it. And I thought about the cold wrapping around his head, and the freshness of the chill that perhaps made him feel alive. Or maybe he just wanted to smoke. Either way, it made me want to experience life.
Strange, I know, but it did, and sometimes it’s just those little things. The feel of the cold on your skin, the numb of your fingers, the air in your lungs. It’s all a gift, and I want to feel it.
What are you doing in your free time to feel life? You could read a classic, or go on a walk in the snow, or blast a musical, or watch the flame in a candle, or write or sing or do something out of the ordinary.
Do something, feel something!
Come alive in the hours, in the moments that are offered to you in between the “have-to-do” hours.
“What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” -Anonymous
I just hired a friend to clean my house once a week while I go grocery shopping.
I know many of you don’t have the money to do that, I didn’t for years, but I also never prioritized having someone help me. I never thought that if I cut my cable and not have TV (except for the function of playing movies) that I could afford help. I never thought that if spent $40 less on groceries a week, I could have help. I never thought like that because having help seemed like a luxury (and for many it is). So maybe you absolutely don’t have the money to hire someone to help you with your housework, but perhaps you could barter with someone – they clean your home once a week, and you do whatever it is that you do, for them.
Listen, I understand that many won’t like this suggestion because of the stigma that getting help is either only for the weak or only for the rich. I reject both of those notions. First, so what if you’re weak in the area of cleaning? If you are, accept it and make adjustments the best you can. As far as help being only for the rich? Yes, some people absolutely cannot fit it in their budget (boy do I know how that feels), but some of us want to, but haven’t really thought about ways we could make it happen. I’m saying, just think about it. Could you find other areas to cut spending in order to get some help? Do you have a special skill you could trade in order to have help?
Again, just think about it.
Get Perspective From an Older Woman
Have you ever experienced something that seems so important and intense at night, and then morning comes and the thing doesn’t seem as dyer? This is how I feel about perspective. Perspective is a grand thing, and it generally comes from those who have lived much of life and have gone through the ups and downs of the human experience. They are like the morning, they see things clearly and in the light. I love talking with my mentor because she is able to calm me down and bring things into focus. She asks me great questions that help me think through whatever issue I’ve brought up, and she doesn’t get as worked up about things as I do. I understand that not all older women have a wise perspective, but many do, and it’s worth finding an older women to talk with regularly, as you will gain great perspective on the happenings of life.
Own Your Life
I struggle with discontentment. I long to be in other places, to live another life, to explore and get lost in art and music and deep conversation. At least once every few months I go to a dark place where I feel trapped with my life. I have to be super intentional about coming out of that place, by being careful what music I listen to, to what I think, to how I pray. I have learned that to be content in my life and to enjoy it, I must first accept it. I need to accept exactly where I am, and then choose to own my life right where I’m at. I am responsible for creating beauty and adventure in my life; I am responsible for filling my soul. I want my heart to be captivated by the wonder of the world, but I can’t do that when I’m sitting around sulking about all that I can’t do with my life. I must get up, go out, and live…kids in tow! Sally has taught me that a wise woman owns her life, and I have come to see how very true that is. My longings will never be fulfilled on this earth, because deep down inside, the groanings are for heaven.
Accept your life, own it, fill your soul with beauty and adventure, and lean into the hope that one day, if you know Him, your heart will be filled with the fullness of heaven.
By Sarah Mae, SarahMae.com
Psst… Sarah Mae’s book, Desperate – Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe (Thomas Nelson), was released this week! The book was written for those who have ever whispered, “I just can’t be a mom today.” From the perspective of a mom in the middle of the little years and the perspective of a mom who has raised her children well, you will find encouragement, practical help, Q & A with Sally Clarkson, and videos at the end of each chapter of Sarah Mae and Sally discussing the chapter. Find it wherever books are sold (and check out the amazing gifts and giveaways happening this week!).
“I hold these pages, words of Sarah Mae’s and Sally’s, that are a gift to every mother, that welcome mothers everywhere out of hiding and loneliness and into a fellowship of sisters and mentors, that will make you feel not alone, that will make you feel that there is real God-given hope.” -Ann Voskamp, New York Timesbest-selling author of One Thousand Gifts