A Time to Reflect

Can you believe 2019 is halfway over? Time seems to move pretty fast these days, so I’m trying to slow down and make room for reflection.

I’ve not made a practice of reflection in the past, but I’ve been listening to Emily P. Freeman’s podcast, “The Next Right Thing”, and she makes the concept of reflection seem almost romantic. I find myself wanting to follow in her footsteps, simply because it sounds so inviting.

Emily talks about having regular times of reflection scheduled in her calendar. One way she makes use of this time is by answering two main questions:

  1. “What was life-draining?”

  2. “What was life-giving?”

The idea centers around being aware enough of ourselves and how we’ve felt in recent months, so that we can better determine our next right thing. This allows us to intentionally live pursuing the things that bring life, while feeling confident in stepping away from the things that leave us feeling empty and dry.

It’s not an exact science. We do live with certain obligations in our lives: cleaning toilets for instance. Instead, this concept is meant to serve as a guide to help us in our decision making by keeping the bigger picture in mind.

I’ve not been intentional about making time for reflection in my life until this year. I’m new at the process, but figured I’d share with you an abbreviated version of my stab at it for the past three months:

Life-Draining

  1. Timeshare presentations. Never, ever again. The dollars we saved were not worth the heaviness I carried after the presentation. I’ll say “no” to a trip before I say “yes” to another presentation.

  2. The smartphone. Why is it, that after the scrolling or the gaming, I rarely come away feeling enriched? I have to figure out how to be better at saying “no” to my phone, so I can say “yes” to things that matter.

  3. Filling my schedule to the brim. I need space, and lots of it. When my life is too full I do not live it fully.

  4. Reading too much. Sometimes I get so lost in the story of a book that I neglect life happening right beside me.

Life-Giving

  1. Jesus. I’m not trying to sound super spiritual here, but I cannot deny the difference it makes when I take time each morning to hand my day over to Jesus.

  2. Spending time with my husband, just the two of us, on our trip to Florida. I have learned, time and time again, that our marriage thrives when we travel together. The travel eliminates distractions and allows us to give each other our complete attention. It is lovely.

  3. Quality time with my daughters. I love watching them skip down the hallway or discover something exciting. They find beauty in caterpillars and joy in the small things. They crave time spent as a family, and I want to be present for it.

  4. Girls’ weekend with a few friends. I cherish uninterrupted conversation about real things with real people who are right in front of me.

  5. Writing. The spilling of words mushed together in my brain helps me to maintain sanity, but this is nothing compared to the thrill of knowing my words have brought healing to someone else.

  6. Filling my husband’s box. Long story short, we made some significant financial decisions in order to fill a long-time dream of my husband. Knowing these efforts are bringing him life, brings more life to me than I could have imagined.

  7. Reading. Yes, This was on the life-draining list. But I’ve also remembered how much I LOVE reading! I simply need to be better about limiting myself and making sure I’m including books that will help me grow to be the best version of myself.

How will this help me in the future? I’ll recognize that saying “yes” to quality time with my people should be a priority. I’ll remember how difficult it is to breathe and think under the weight of obligations, and pause before jumping into a new project. I will live my life intentionally with purpose and direction.

What about you? What are some things about your year that have been life-draining? Life-giving? I’d love to hear about them and how you are using this information to help you move forward with the rest of your year!

If you are interested in learning straight from the source, I recommend Emily’s podcast: “The Next Right Thing”. She has a book by the same title that can be purchased here.

Let’s take a good look at the way we’re living and reorder our lives under God.
— Lamentations 3:40 (The Message)