Thrive, Not Overdrive: Living Life Within Meaningful Margin

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If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a moment today to evaluate your life.  We live in an enormously busy world, and those who just go with the flow of our world will get sucked into the undercurrent, and come out feeling really run-down or unproductive on a regular basis. If, however, you recognize that your life is busy, but create a healthy balance for yourself, you will find each day becomes more precious and meaningful.  SImply put, you will begin to thrive.

The Bible, especially the Proverbs, offers many great tips for thriving simply, and I want to share a few with you today, so you can intentionally live to your greatest potential.

1. STRIVE TO GET PROPER REST AT NIGHT.  The Bible offers simple tips for both trusting God and creating allowances for sleep, and also recognizing that too much sleep is wasteful.

Proverbs 20:13, “Do not love sleep, or you will become poor; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food.”

Psalm 127:2 “It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.”

2. UNPLUG.  Turn off technology for at least an hour a day or for 15 minute segments during the day, such as at lunchtime, dinnertime, or during your commute.  Some find that unplugging a couple of hours before bed also gives them their best sleep.  Jesus definitely took time away from others as we see in Mark 1:35, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”  I’m quite sure He wasn’t texting during those times.

3. EAT TO THRIVE.  Your days will be more power-packed if you don’t eat a large meal or sugary items before bed (or ever).  Also, eating the four to six protein and vegetable rich mini-meals we are endlessly hearing about will also contribute to our days being more energy-packed. Proverbs 25:27a says, “It is not good to eat much honey…” and in verse 16, “If you find honey, eat just enough—too much of it, and you will vomit.”  This verse does not exclude yummy snacks from our life, but moderation is key for thriving, and if you have a sweet tooth, so is knowing what time of day your body can handle a treat.  For example many people find eating sugar in the morning will cause them to tire out later, whereas others enjoy a mid-morning snack, and nothing after seven.  Learn your body’s unique blueprint for thriving and learn to say “no” when you know it will just hurt you, ultimately.

4. MAKE A DIVINE APPOINTMENT EACH DAY.  Find time to meet with God each day and to hear from Him.  Songs, reading the Bible and Christian inspirational books, journaling, listening to edifying audio tracks, and just quietly waiting for a word from Him are great ways to do this.  Ask God what your gifts are, and take time to seek out His will, to turn from sin, and to commit to serving from within your giftedness (the area where you find most joy in serving, even though serving in any area, serving can be tiring and requires unselfishness).

5. SCHEDULE WITH INTENTION, NOT GUILT.  Don’t put anything on your calendar that does not have a specific purpose.  For most people who thrive, about ten hours of the of the waking day is spent working and or/preparing for work (or taking care of children/family, which can last even twelve hours, with time-outs only during naps or quiet times), about three more hours is spent on necessary chores, calls, eating and food preparation, cleaning, and errands.   The other three hours are spent getting self-care emotionally, physically, and spiritually, which is absolutely vital considering the workload.  If you are invited to do something, see how well it fits into this rubric and say no if you think its outside of your bounds, or that you can’t do your job or your self-care well..

6. LOVE WELL.  On the non-work days or during our own pleasure hours a day, we often take some of this self-care time for specifically helping others, and this is a call of Christ, not to forget others, since the Bible calls us to love others.  “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Matthew 22:37-28.  Somehow, God gives to us through the sweet paradox of giving to others, but don’t forget His call to love yourself too, and come away from others, as Jesus did above.  If someone you don’t feel called to minister to, wants to spend time with you, bring it to prayer, and if you don’t feel a strong conviction from God, don’t commit.  Save your precious time for what He has certainly called you towards.

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