Last week's post was supposed to be a Making Things Happen recap, but we all know that it didn't turn out that way. :) Today I want to share a few big things I took away from MTH. I worked on my powersheets over the weekend and I'm so thankful for the "3 month refresh". A time to re-evaluate goals and make changes. After MTH, ALL of my goals needed an overhaul. I thought it would be important to talk about what I feel the Lord impressed upon my heart during my time at MTH before I dive into my newly defined goals and monthly April goals! Because I could write an entire book about my experience, I thought I would break it down into a few major lessons.
1. Three words that the Lord continued to put on my heart: faithfulness, discipline, and legacy.
These three words CONTINUALLY came up during my two days with the MTH team. In writing, when I would talk about it, in my thoughts. Almost everything I worked through surrounded one of these words. Without going into a lot of detail of each one (different post for a different day!), I'll share some general ideas for each one.
Faithfulness: This is the word I feel like defines a my purposeful life. Walking in faithfulness with the Lord. Faithfully investing in our family. Faithfully serving our church and others. Choosing to walk, faithfully, in the will of God from the smallest of decisions to the biggest of decisions. For me, this is where a spirit-filled life start. Dying to myself, choosing Jesus daily. That is faithfulness. Yes, there will be days of unfaithfulness. Days I totally mess it up. But, when I am faithless, He is remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). This brings me incredible joy. Any faithfulness I have is a blessing from the Lord. By the work of the spirit and by the work of the spirit ONLY can I walk in faithfulness. My sinful, human flesh will never be faithful on my own. Never. It's by the continual work of Jesus, the continual faithfulness of Jesus, that I can be faithful.
Discipline: There are certain areas of my life where I lack discipline. Mainly, in the way I treat my body (choosing to eat the wrong things and not exercising) and in the way I view finances. I feel like the Lord has opened my eyes recently to the fact that these areas where I lack discipline affect my spiritual life. I think when my self-control in these areas grow, my walk with Him will grow. Chains will be broken.
Legacy: This might be the word that has been most significant to me. Legacy. What do I want to leave to my kids? What do I want to leave to the world? Do I want my kids to see a life that isn't changed by the gospel? Do I want them to see that I pursued materialism? Do I want to be so buried in my phone that I miss opportunities to connect with my community? no no no. I want to leave a legacy of faithfulness. I want my children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren to see that I walked with Jesus daily. I want them to see my flaws. I want them to see how messed up I am apart from Jesus. I want to live a transparent life in front of my family and community. I want to invest in others because SOULS ARE THE ONLY THING THAT LAST FOR ETERNITY. I want to be rich in wisdom from a life lived with the Lord. I want to be humble, quiet, compassionate. I want my daughters and grand daughters to be able to come to me for wisdom on a godly marriage because they saw Jesus in my marriage with Tyler. I want my family to see joy and laughter and fun and adventure. Because this life God gave me is truly a gift. And I don't take it for granted. THIS is what I want to leave to future generations. I don't want to be worried about followers or likes or keeping up with what everyone else has. I want to be rich in another way. I want to be rich in relationships. I want this to be my legacy. As I've really thought about this and become passionate about it, my goals couldn't help but be changed. What I do now matters! My faithfulness to Jesus now matters! What I do today creates the legacy I'll leave. This makes me so much more eternal minded.
2. Living minimally will help me to focus on the important things and not sweat the small stuff.
This one was an eye opener for me. No one specifically talked about minimalism, but as we talked about contentment and distractions I realized that stuff is a huge distraction for me. Seeing junk all over the counters stresses me out. Having things out of place makes me feel anxious. So why not get rid of the stuff, Nicole? I'm tired of having "stuff" for the sake of decor. Please don't misunderstand me, I love a beautifully decorated home. I LOVE JOANNA GAINES for crying out loud. But for me, that doesn't work. For me, lots of decor means lots of opportunities to feel stressed out when something isn't where it needs to be. For me that means more worrying about decor and styling and things looking JUST SO all the time. So I'm saying no to the lie that I have to have ALL THE DECOR for my house to feel like a home. I'm saying no to the lie that having all the stuff is the only way I'll be able to love others in my home. Because at the end of the day people will like to be in our home because of our conversations. Because I look people in the eye. Because we allow real life here. So my quest to live more minimally have begun. This will help me to take my focus off decor and perfection and choose relationships and things that matter.
3. Life will never be simple, but making small decisions can be.
"Life is never simple. Ever. Whether you're a stay-at-home-mom, a college student, a mom to ten, a career woman, a new wife, a woman without children, or a single mother - whoever you are - life. is. never. simple. Let me say it again, life is not simple. Laundry for your family isn't simple. Figuring out how to put food on the table isn't simple. Paying bills and making ends meet isn't simple. Raising children isn't simple. Nurturing marriages and relationships isn't simple. Pursing your calling isn't simple. Figuring out your calling isn't simple. Loving others well isn't simple. In fact, all those things are crazy complicated. Put all those together and, sisters, life is a circus.
Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29)
God makes the choice to hand your burdens and complications and situations and worries over simple. The choice to change your perspective and choose joy is simple. The decision to implement routine and organization in small ways is simple. The choice to choose what matters is simple. Life is so complicated - always - and most of the time, there is little we can do about that. But of the few things we have control over, some of them are simple.
Simplified means making these small choices day after day to give and be your best for yourself, your people and your calling. It means clearing clutter, dismissing distractions, and living with intention. It means choosing joy and showing up and leaning in. Sit with that last one - sometimes the simple thing to do when life is crazy (ahem, this happens to me daily) is to lean in. Putting the dishes down is simple. Just going to bed early to give your body rest when you can is simple. Giving up and letting your house be a wreck for a while is simple. Leaning in is sometimes the simplest thing to do when your life isn't simple. That may not always be easy, but its always worth it." From Emily Ley's blog post titled
Emily talked about this at MTH and then wrote a beautiful blog post about it. Life isn't simple! Can I get an AMEN, y'all?? But there are small decisions that can be simple. Choosing the let go of the mess to play with your kids. Choosing to leave your phone in another room to look at your husband in the eyes when he talks to you. Choosing to spend the first five minutes in prayer and scripture instead of jumping into your to-do list. These are simple decisions that can make a huge impact. This leads me to my next thought...
4. Every "big" things has tiny action steps. I don't have to live overwhelmed. Slowly, day after day, I can do the tiny things that will help me accomplish the big things.
I am a big picture girl. I think about the events we have, the projects that go along with them, due dates, monthly plans, yearly goals, etc. Big picture is my thing. Except not really because I'm constantly stressed out. My days in the office are FILLED with stress. Every single day. I was living overwhelmed and feeling defeated daily. MTH and a simple concept totally changed that for me. Every big goal has tiny steps. Lara gave the example of publishing her magazine, Southern Weddings. It's overwhelming thinking about an entire magazine! The editorials, the ads, the layout, the photos. SO MANY THINGS. But, what's the first step? Open the computer. Open iCal. Plan a meeting with the team to talk about ideas. SIMPLE. Step 1 done. Does it seem small, yes? But it is necessary? YES!!!!!! Every big thing has small steps. Since returning home from MTH I've been focusing on the small steps and it has completely changed my day to day life. I am happier, more confident, and have more creativity. I don't get as frustrated with myself and I am not feeling guilty when I stop for lunch or if I want to sit on the back porch and read for a little while. I focus on the little by little every single day. And guess what? One day that little by little will finish by big tasks and projects. And I'm willing to bet the final projects will be so much better because I worked on them without feeling completely overwhelmed. This is truly changing my life!
I feel like this shows Lara's deep compassion for people. We talked for a few seconds about adoption and she was a sweet encouragement to me. I want to love others well by her example!
5. Everyday doesn't have to be hard.
This was a big one for me. An emotional one for sure. The Lord knows me. He KNOWS me. I don't have to continually remind Him that I'm hurting and that I'm ready for our baby to be home. He knows. My negative, joyless attitude won't make His will come any sooner. Everyday doesn't have to be hard. I can choose joy and laughter and fun and adventure and gratefulness. I can choose to fully be here, in this season, because it has purpose. I can live a purposeful life NOW.
I can't wait to share some of my new updated goals with you as well as my April goals! I am so thankful for what the Lord taught me through the two day at Making Things Happen. Lord, may I never be the same!