Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What I don't do.

 I mentioned a few weeks ago that I have an unintentional tradition of re-reading this book every Fall. I've slowly been working my way through it this month and found myself going over a particular chapter more than once. Shauna talks about the tug between wanting to do everything better and really paring down to do only those things you really desire. It reminds me of something that was thrown around a lot during my undergrad days- the idea of things being good, better, or best. You can fill your days and life with tons of good things or just a few best things. I love that. I love the thought of having a life not full of busyness and seeming like I have every little thing together {I don't}, but instead focused on doing a handful of things that are life giving to me and to those around me. Here's what Shauna says...
"And this is what Denise told me: she said it’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about."
  Shauna goes on to talk about creating a list. A list of things she does and things she doesn't do. Sometimes lists help clear things up and make them a little simpler. So, I decided to make my own list. And, just like Shauna, it was lots easier to come up with the things I do do than the things I don't do. But after sitting on my list for a couple weeks and adding to it slowly, I like what I've come up with. I like the freedom of putting my finger on things I don't do and committing to keep it that way. I don't have to do everything, not for myself and not for anyone else. I may not be the best housekeeper or have the best style {or any style, if we're being honest} or be able to fake it with surface friendships. Some people are rockstars in those areas. But I'm not and that's ok. I am good at listening to friends {and even strangers, really} and using food to love on others. 

Things I do:
//I love Jesus. I try really hard to make time every day for Bible study and worship and prayer. Prayer is harder for me, because I lose focus. But I'm working at making it a discipline every day. 

//I invest in my marriage. I try to remember it is the most important relationship in my life {second to Jesus}. Family and friends are of course important, but at the end of the day Justin in my person. Dating him and communicating with him and finding ways to love him are things I am always working on and trying to get better with.

//Care for Caleb. This seems obvious, I know. But in every sense of the phrase, Caleb is my full time job right now. I'm trying to take that seriously every day and to love him well. He deserves my best, every day.

//Cultivating community. This has become a passion for me. It is really, really important for me to reach out to the people in my community- in lots of different ways. Gathering around food with friends. Sending gift baskets {can gift baskets be a love language?} to celebrate new life and homes and milestones. Group texts for encouragement. Handwritten letters in the mail. Praying really specifically for my people. Stopping to really listen. 

//Advocating. This always looks different, depending on what season of life I find myself in. When I'm working full time, this means standing up for social issues in professional avenues. Or, like right now, just in not being afraid to have challenging conversations with my husband and friends about social issues and injustices {poverty, mental health, oppressed people groups}. I never want to stop challenging myself and others to look at the world differently- and to stand up for people who don't always have a voice. 

//Deep conversations and relationships. I'm an introvert and these are really important to me. I don't have a lot of social energy, so I have to use it wisely. That sounds silly, I know.

//Food. I do food. I think I always have and probably learned this from my mom and latched on quickly. Over the past few years, probably since getting married, baking and cooking have become ways of communicating for me. Food for new parents. Food for Bible study. Food for birthdays. Food for tailgates. Food for my husband after a really long day at work. It has become one of the main ways I care for others. 

Things I don't do:
//Work full-time, at least for now. I waffle back and forth on my feelings on this one. Mostly because I always feel the need to rationalize it to myself and to others. But today, right now, I'm choosing to just be free. I don't work full time right now. For reasons and and through means that work for my family and don't always need to be explained to others.

//Fashion or style or makeup. It's just not in me to be up on the latest styles or to get into shopping. The older I get, the more I come to terms with this. I will just always be simple and plain and probably a little behind the times on any trends. 

//Run marathons. Or have a crazy focus on my fitness. I do love running and exercise, but more for mental health reasons than anything. I want to love fitness, I really do. But I honestly sacrifice the time I could be working out for the things I am choosing to do instead.

//Invest a lot online. Full disclosure? I'd love this blog to be awesome. But I just don't have the umph to network or pay a buttload to go to that super trendy blog conference. I just don't. So instead this little blog will stay small and simple.

//Make our bed. I would love to have a perfectly put together house. But I don't. I remember always thinking about this when I was little. My mom would always have us pick up the house before people come over {something I totally get now that I'm an adult}, but as a kid I thought it was crazy! We live in this house! People know that and won't be surprised when they come over and see that! So, I'm making a better effort to live out that simple kid thought. Also, I'm just too lazy to make my bed when I know I'm going to un-make it in 12 hours. 

//Invest in many surface things. Maybe I should be better at this, and I know my husband sometimes wishes I was. But I'm kind of terrible at faking it in surface situations. If I know the relationship or situation can never be life giving or deep or we just don't have the time to get to those points {big groups}, it is really really hard for me to invest. I credit this to the social worker in me- I can't do surface! I have to get deeper and find out the whole story or the root of what is going on. And if I can't, it's just hard for me to be comfortable. Some people are so good at this, though, and one day maybe it will move to my 'things I do' list!

//Big groups, often. I can do these in small doses, but I need lots of margin. Big groups overwhelm me, probably because they are surface-y in nature {see above}. This means I forego parties, sporting events, and lots of other things most of the time. 

//Keep up on the news. I so want to be policy-savvy and up to date on current events. I have a few news sources emailed to me daily, but I've probably only ever opened those emails twice. 

  These lists motivate me. To stop worry about the things I don't do and to get really good at the things I do. To not worry about having to explain myself all the time, like on social media. You know, to always follow up a caption with 'but what you don't see is that my sink is full of dishes and I flaked on that big group outing because it seemed overwhelming' so that no one things I'm faking it or only showing my best parts. {side note: I like what Heather says about that here..."But not everyone can or should share their mess on social media. It's our role as viewers to remember everyone has a story"} And this list reminded me that no one is perfect. Sure, lots of people do lots of things really well. But we all have things we do and things we don't do. Whether you've ever sat down to make your own tangible list or not, you inevitably make sacrifices to focus on the things that really, truly matter to you. The things that make you tick and get you through hard days and make the easy days that much sweeter. 

I really want to know! Have you ever made your own list? What are some things you do and things you don't do? 


Unknown said...

I don't comment all the time, but your on my daily list of blogs to read! I love this little blog of yours and all the wisdom and life you share Katie!

Anonymous said...

When I was reading Bittersweet in August, that was a chapter I continually went back to also. I was in the process of making a list and then September began, life got crazy, and it slipped through the cracks. Thanks for reminding me that is something I should continue working on! And thank you for sharing your list.