A few months ago, I found myself in a little bit of a funk. I was a little sluggish physically, emotionally and spiritually. Much like The Emperor, I needed to get my groove back, so I decided that I would try and focus on what really matters to me. It took me a little while to figure out what exactly this newfound effort would look like, but I ended up landing on five things. These are five things that I try to do every single day now. Somedays I can do all five, sometimes I hit four, occasionally I will only do one or two. Since I've established the routine and mental checklist of hitting these five points, I can say that my life is better, more full and less sluggish than it has ever been.
1. Spend any amount of time with God.
I used to think that in order to be a "good Christian" I had to wake up early every morning and spend hours reading, and understand everything in the Bible. Well it turns out that when I wake up I barely understand how to put one foot in front of the other to make it to the bathroom, much less understand the deep things of God. So, I would end up feeling really guilty about not spending time with God in the morning and often felt like if I missed the "morning shift" then I couldn't do it later. That's just crazy! It all counts and it's all important. Sometimes I wake up and feel awesome and read my Bible first thing. Sometimes I wake up late or wake up with a non-functioning brain and read my Bible while I eat lunch or when I get home, or right before I go to bed or sometimes a combination of them all. I think there is this false idea out there that if you don't read your bible first thing, you know, outside in a dewy field with a leather-bound journal, while birds swirl overhead, you are failing as a Christian. That is crap! Sometimes I get to spend 40 minutes reading and praying and sometimes its just 40 seconds. Either way, I know it matters to God because when anyone spends anytime with me it matters to me! So, spend any amount of time you can with Him every single day.
2. Do one kind thing for someone.
This simple idea has made my already awesome marriage even more awesome. Mostly because the one kind thing I try to do every day is usually for my wife Brooke and it is usually doing the dishes. I turn on one of my favorite albums or podcasts and spend 10-30 minutes washing dishes. It's that easy. I try to listen to a sermon if I can so that I am both spending time with God and doing a kind thing for someone. That's 2 out of 5 things and I haven't even left the kitchen! Boomtown! Awesome sauce! Life is rad! So seriously, just try to do one kind thing a day for someone. I guarantee you will start feeling better about yourself, about that someone and about your relationship with them.
3. Shut of the screen and use my eyeballs to watch a moment.
Have you noticed that at concerts or fireworks, or anything cool for that matter, that most people are watching their 4-inch phone screen instead of just watching what is happening? Now I love taking photos of Brooke, June and all sorts of awesome things, but I find myself taking too many or focusing too much on getting the right photo/video to remember something by instead of just using my eyeballs and brain to remember something. I have especially tried to follow this practice when interacting with my daughter, June. Why am I watching her through a screen instead of just watching her? Why would I want her to see a screen in front of my face instead of being able to see my actual face? At least once a day, when I find myself getting sucked into my phone instead of what is actually happening, I try to remind myself to STEP AWAY FROM THE SCREEN and use my eyeballs.
4. Be all in!
What is the point of doing something if you aren't going to be all in? Whether it's designing t-shirts, taking a photo or playing Madden, I desire to be all in. If I am committing to watching TV on the couch then I am really committing. My shoes are off, my feet are up and a cool, refreshing beverage is within arms reach. If I am cleaning my house then I have sneakers on, good music playing and all the necessary cleaning supplies. If I am typing a blog, like the one I am working on now, I have my notes out, all other internet tabs closed and usually an iced coffee nearby. I think doing anything with an all in mentality will make you appreciate everything more. By going all in on the smaller things - like work, dishes or cleaning - you will start to train yourself to be all in on the big things - like loving your spouse, raising your kids and honoring God.
5. Exercise and eat healthy!
I find that when I feel better about myself physically, I feel better about myself emotionally and spiritually too. When June was about two months old I noticed that my body had developed some "bonus" features around my mid-section. It's frustrating when you don't feel the way you want to physically. (And I know full well that sometimes it's not totally in our control.) But more times than not, I'd say it is. We can choose what food goes in. I find that when I think a little more about those choices I feel better in every way. I also find that when I work out, whether it's a long walk, short run or a random p90x DVD, I look better, feel better, sleep better and live better. I know this body is temporary and I will get a new one when I walk from this life to the next... but, I also know that this body is a gift from a loving Creator and I want to treat it as well as I can, showing my thanks for such a gift.
I hope you didn't just skim through and read whatever is in bold, but actually read why I try to do these five things every day. I think it's a pretty good list and I would recommend that you try it for even just a few days in a row and see how you feel on the other end. I bet it'll be better.