So here we are. The first of the year. This week marks the reality of back to life as usual. A full week of work. Back to school.
There is this uneasy fear in the back of all of our minds that all the hopes and dreams we had space to dream about over the last few weeks will succumb to the ordinary monotony of our daily schedules. Space for breathing and dreaming is eclipsed by the demands of the urgent. That little glimpse of hope we had is starting to feel like just that… a glimpse of something intangible and somehow not for us.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not okay with that.
I used to think it was that I had to do less. I had to say “no” to more. I had to slow my life down and stop the madness.
But I really think it has more to do with perspective and purposefulness.
Yesterday we launched a great new series at Cross Point called Wide Awake. The idea is to live wide awake to the presence of God in our ordinary lives. It’s an understanding that God desires to be with us, to walk with us, to abide with us even in the ordinary, demanding, unrelenting routine of life. God is present, but are we aware?
Could my perspective this year be much less about trying to survive the ordinary and be more in tune to where God is in all of it?
While we nurture a new perspective we do still have to deal with the demands of life. It’s not really slowing down, so how do we manage it instead of letting it manage us? Here are a few practical ways that I approach my life:
1) Attack each day with intensity. This goes back to perspective. If we’re overwhelmed and exhausted before our feet hit the floor, we’re not going to have the drive and intensity to tackle what the day has in store. By intensity I mean a relentless desire to not be overcome by your day but to make the most of it.
2) Structure your day to maximize your energy. I used to do this backwards. I would save the life-giving things for the end of the day, sort of as a reward for making it through the day. The problem with this is that I was so fried that life-giving things like reading and spending time with God became just another thing to do rather than something I looked forward to. When I put these first they are fuel and motivation for the day ahead.
3) Do the difficult things when you have the most mental energy. Purposefully structure your schedule to tackle the hard things first. My daily schedule is mapped out so that I spend the morning working on mentally challenging projects and the afternoon in meetings with my team. I’m a morning person so I think most strategically early in the day. That’s also when I’m the least social. My introvert needs to have some “think” time before I engage with others. You might be the exact opposite, but the point is understanding how you best work and trying to arrange most of your days to support that.
This week, don’t give in to the monotony. Don’t be overcome by the return of routine. Find some ways to shift your perspective and purpose to make the most of 2013!