Life

Daily Lists and Implementing Truth

Daily List Template

 

I can’t remember if I talked about being enough here on the blog or over at Bedlam Magazine in one of my articles, but I’m sure I’ve touched on it several times in both places. Since I’ve become a wife and a mom, which didn’t replace the other roles I play but just added to them, I’ve struggled deep and hard over believing that I am enough. I’ve struggled for so long to equate how much I get done with how worthy I am of love. My pastor said something in his sermon on Sunday that reminded me of old Megan; he mentioned how he noticed a correlation between abuse counseling and needing to volunteer/serve for every event or opportunity. I don’t doubt that correlation at all (not that it’s true 100% of the time), but it sure was for me. As I thought back on how much I used to try to accomplish so that people would just accept me, I cringed with sadness. You know how you have to sometimes mourn your old self sometimes? It’s not like we change, and all of those things just disappear from our bones and memories. I think that’s a good thing though, because they can serve as caution signs to what we are capable of falling back into and remind us of the grace we’ve been afforded.

I know my capacity for slowly setting my wrists back into those shackles, because I still do it from time to time. Thankfully, it makes me stress out so quickly that I am able to recognize it faster; nonetheless, it still happens. I think the thing that finally struck me hard enough to start practically implementing the truth that I am enough because I was created and am loved by God, was an image I woke up to on Facebook last September from Jon Acuff. The image said, “It will be a great day when you accomplish nothing and still believe you’re worth something.” I don’t know why, but it was that image that started the idea that I need this truth to be in front of my eyes, every day. I need to be reminded EVERY SINGLE DAY that I AM ENOUGH.

I started with my lists. You know, the lists you make all day and all week, reminding you of what you need to get done? The ones that tend to overwhelm you more than help you? I mean, maybe they work for you. And I know they are important for people with brains like mine that just aren’t capable of remembering stuff unless it’s written down. But just writing it down in list form wasn’t working for me. They were sufficient when I was able to cross stuff out. But, on the days where I found myself exhausted or overwhelmed for whatever reason, I’d glance over at my list with the daunting tasks that hadn’t been slashed with ink and feel like a completely failure. Which would then cause me to stop making lists, which led to forgetting to do things, and… you get the point. Hardy helpings of self sabotage.

I knew I didn’t want to eliminate making lists completely, but I wanted to change the way I did them. I wanted them to show me what I’d already accomplished, how I felt and what I had left to do. I wanted them to reflect this newfound belief that I’m enough, regardless of what I did or didn’t do while still practically helping me get through the day on task. So on a Tuesday (which is basically my Monday) I sat down at noon with a notepad from TJMAXX that had three sections on it, and first wrote down everything I had done so far. I then would write a sentence or two underneath about how I felt, and then usually wrote with it, “But I’m still enough.” The example below doesn’t have that part on there (which is dumb of me), but you get the point. I then would write down the rest of the stuff I wanted to accomplish that day, and then in the long section of the notepad, I’d write out what I wanted to do over the next week.

Daily List

 

I did this for a while, and started noticing change. Like, A BIG change. I started to believe that I was enough in the everyday, ordinary life ways. It felt good to acknowledge what I’d already finished by lunch, and how I felt about the day so far. Some days, I felt really good, and somedays (like the day above), I didn’t feel so great. BUT, allowing myself to write it down and accept it actually helped me get over it easier and finish the rest of my list. From what I’ve discovered, it seems as though the practice of getting whatever is in your head and heart OUT of your head and heart and in front of you, frees you up enough from staying there. You can then choose to move forward, even if the yuck feeling doesn’t go away, because you’re no longer bound to it inside. And even, if by the end of the day, all you’ve done is get out of bed… you’re still enough, and you’re still alive.

A few months ago, I decided to design my own official list templates that were made specific for this new practice of mine. I wanted it to be simple, nice to look at and have lots of space. I also didn’t want to leave possibility for me to stop writing “I Am Enough”, so I implemented it into the design. I only make lists on weekdays, so I print out 5 of the “What I’ve Accomplished So Far/ What I’d Like to Finish Today” sheets, and 1 of the “This Week’s Stuff” sheets every week. You guys- this really works for me. I never thought I’d see this day, but I have and it is splendid.

Homemade Daily/Weekly List Template

I’d love to share these templates with you, completely free of charge! Below are the pdf files that you are more than welcome to download and use.

Daily List

This Week’s Stuff

If you’re into a more formal template for lists and planning but also want an outlet for the rest of your brain activity, I would STRONGLY recommend my friend Corie’s Purposeful Planner™. It’s a gorgeous planner with so much more than just spots to write your tasks. It’s got quotes, a section to dump your thoughts, what you want to make for dinner, a place to tally how much water you’ve had to drink, etc. It’s beautifully designed and made from the heart of an incredible person who has a desire to help other’s lives become more simple and meaningful. Definitely check it out! This is what it looks like below.

Purposeful Planner™

She’s got a few designs to pick from, along with the option of a daily planner or a monthly weekly planner.

So, what practical ways do you remind yourself of the truth on a daily basis?

Abe’s Life: Scrubbing Floors and Saving For A Pet Turtle

Money Box

Something I’ve had the pleasure of discovering recently is that Abe REALLY likes to clean. And before you think I’m bragging, let me clarify: Abe likes chores that make him feel important and utilized, but he HATES cleaning up after his own self. This kid has literally rolled from my room to his, having a melt down over me asking him to clean his room. But when I ask him if he’d like to help me clean the bathroom, or if he wants to learn how to do laundry, you’d think I asked him if he’d like to go live in Disney World. The kid’s excitement over cleaning the toilet is super weird and not one I can relate to, but I’m totes gonna capitalize on this passion of his for as long as possible.

I wish I would have captured him cleaning the floor of the bathroom last week in his underwear via photo, because it was so absurd and hilarious. He was holding himself up by both feet and one arm, like an soldier in boot camp holding up a one handed push up, while scrubbing the floor with a rag using his other hand. He actually asked me to leave the bathroom so that he could make sure every spot of the floor was scrubbed, and told me he call me when it was dry. You guys- THAT FLOOR SPARKLED. I don’t get it.

Completely separate from his passion for cleaning, though, is his growing desire for more and more stuff. I’ve observed that the more stuff this kid acquires, the more stressed out he gets over who’s touching or using what, and the more control he feels he needs to have over all of his things. The little dude’s gotten stingy with his junk, and it stresses him out so bad. Sounds like most of America.

Not only does this make me reflect on my own heart and the things I want and hold dear, but it’s also got me wondering how to help him realize that more stuff does not equal happiness. I think that just comes with many conversations (you know, where your treasure is is where your heart lies also) and leading by example.

I’ve also noticed that he doesn’t understand the value of anything, because he’s never had to provide the means to obtain the stuff he has. He seriously thinks that if he breaks our flat screen tv, we can just hop in the car and drive to the store he doesn’t like (Wal-Mart) and buy a new one. HA.

So, Daniel and I have realized that it’s time for a good ol’ fashioned lesson in teaching monetary value and how to work for what you want. Hopefully, in doing so, we don’t create an arrogant little b-hole who thinks that he’s better than others because he works hard and buys his stuff. PARENTING IS HARD.

We’ll figure out the balance.

So, back to the cleaning. Since he enjoys chore-ing so much, we’ve set up a chart of weekly chores he can do along with his daily task of feeding Titan. If he completes these tasks each week, he’ll receive an allowance. We will then teach him how to save for the things he wants. And beyond saving, we want him to learn how to research what he wants to buy so that he can find the best product for the best price. I’m hoping that in doing this, it will rub off on us and maybe Daniel and I can get our act together when it comes to saving (we suck at it- can’t even lie).

I wanted Abe to have a specific place for him to save his money, a little bank if you will. So we picked up a wooden treasure box from Michaels, with a 40% off coupon (because I just cannot pay full price for anything at Michaels). I told him he could paint it however he’d like, and it would be his alone to store the allowance we give him and save for the pet turtle and roller blades he wants to buy (he is just the most 90’s child sometimes).

Money Box

That little fuzzy thing on his arm makes me laugh. He loves a tiny creature.

Money Box

This was actually really sweet, to watch him quietly paint his new bank… and yes, that is a gigantic jar of pastel colored gum balls, courtesy of my mother.

Money Box

P.S. that’s dried chocolate all over his face. He sucked down a tube of M&M minis while I drudged through Wal-Mart for toilet paper and mouth wash. Yes, sometimes I bribe my kid with candy so that we can make it through a store.

Abe's Money Box

When he was done, I asked him if he wanted to paint his name on the front, which of course he did. I know it looks like a disaster to everyone else, but it’s the cutest thing in the world to me.

So, we’ll let you know how this works out. There’s a bunch of different ways to teach your kids the things you want them to learn, but I think the one thing we have to remember is that regardless of the method (i.e. chores and allowances), lots of conversations are a good thing and necessary. I’m sure we’ll mess it up and we’ll probably have to back track and re-teach some things as we discover flaws, but I’m glad we can all three figure these things out together.

And, I bet you can guess what he’s going to name his pet turtle when he finally gets one (hint: he likes pizza, he wears a purple mask and he’s the smart one of the bunch)

Because He Lives

Pink Flowers

“But greater still the calm assurance, that child can face uncertain days because He lives…”

A couple of weeks ago, I was leading worship through song during a typical Sunday morning service at my church, Church on the Way. Nothing really out of the ordinary happened that morning, but I do remember feeling a little less sure of myself during all of rehearsal and through most of the beginning of the service. I have mornings like that- where I just don’t have the confidence, and there’s usually no reason I can nail down other than regular human insecurity. I’ve grown to appreciate these mornings, because those are the days I’m reminded of where my source of gifting, confidence and overall hope comes from. And because that source is God, I’m humbly assured that it is more than ok if I get up there just as I am and sing, even if I can’t bring myself to feel great by the time that 5 minute timer goes off. It’s ultimately not about about how I feel, even though feelings are certainly allowed to be involved. I don’t have to try to set them aside to be someone else for twenty minutes though, and I don’t have to over indulge in my feelings and project that onto everyone else; I’ve been guilty of both. But I can find rest, somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, that God is worthy of the worship that flows His way out of the truths I sing, no matter how good or bad they come out, and that we are to sing those truths as the body of Christ.

The last song in the set for that morning was “Because He Lives.” You know the one… “because he lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives, all fear is gone…” I don’t ever remember singing the full song growing up, but the chorus from it was often used at the end of the sermon, the benediction if you will, as we were all instructed to hold hands across the aisle and sing together. It was set to the tempo and time of an irish drinking song, and as children we’d sway our arms back and forth, as if holding an invisible pint of beer.

I re-discovered the song sometime at the beginning of last year, and found the verses to be very useful and captivating, and brought it into our pool of songs for church. I’ve cried a few times singing it, because I’ve always had other people in my mind during the second and third verses, depending on the season and who was suffering.

But, on this particular Sunday a few weeks ago, as we sang the line “But greater still, the calm assurance, that child can face uncertain days because He lives…” I was all of a sudden struck with the reality that this line not only described other people, but it described me. In the few seconds it took to sing that line, the reality of my childhood that I’ve been coming to terms with over the past three years flooded my mind, and I was overcome with not just clarity, but overwhelming gratefulness.

You guys, I’ve buried a lot of my childhood in the sand. As some of you have read my words over the past years, you know that I’ve slowly been sifting through that sand and digging up my childhood and the memories/pain that come with it. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been sitting somewhere, whether at home or anywhere else, and a memory I hadn’t thought of in over two decades or a memory I didn’t know I had, comes rushing into my vision. I’ve had desperate moments where I’ve angrily looked up at the ceiling, wondering when God was going to stop the conveyor belt of memories from tumbling into my life. I’ve struggled with feeling that he’s cruel, that he’s put too much on me to work through. I’ve often asked the question, “What is the purpose of all of this?” The easy and half-truth answer is that He’s had me remember and work through things so that I can relate to and help others do the same. And while I believe that’s true, that’s also a cheap answer to me. Is that all?

Singing that line, with all of that reality coming back to me at the same time, I felt God saying “This is why I’ve let you suffer through your memories. All of that stuff you went through- I got you through that because I was and am and will forever be alive. I’m convincing you that I love you, and I’m not going to let you forget it.”

The beautifully devastating weight of that, all in just a few seconds, left me no where to go but to release it through sobs. And I did. I sobbed on that stage in front of everyone, and I couldn’t stop. The best thing happened though- my brothers and sisters kept singing. They sang the whole third verse and into the chorus and we ended together. I cried and they sang, and they led me. A few times I tried to sing again, but I was met with more tears.

I share that, not to point at this sweet moment I had with my church, and leave it at mere sentiment. I share that because as the body took over and continued to sing, I was deeply reminded that I am completely unnecessary. And as I felt that creep in while I sobbed giant, ridiculous tears of gratefulness, I was met with relief.

I am nothing, and He is everything. I deserve death, yet he boisterously showers me with life. It’s never how I expect it, yet it’s always better than what I thought it would be. This child certainly faced many an uncertain day, but He was there inside every moment of it and He’s gotten me here to this moment.

Life is worth the living, just because He lives.