Measure Your Day

It’s a new month. It’s the start of a new week. It’s time to evaluate where you are, where you want to be, and what you need to do bridge that gap. It’s time to plan for the month, the week, and the day ahead. It is time to make every day count.

Each day that we are given is a day to build on all the previous days and each one of those days lays a foundation for our future. Therefore, it is important that you invest your time doing something, no matter how small, to move you closer to reaching your goal. What’s that you say? Yesterday was awful. You couldn’t find time to do anything to support your goal? You are stuck in a job that doesn’t align with your long-term goal.  Are you filled with “I can’t…,”  “I didn’t…,” and “I wish…” statements that are holding you back and focused on your lack of success?

If you look back and all you see is failure and you feel like you will never get to where you want to be; it is time to change your thinking about those situations!

Every day provides an opportunity for you, even the days that didn’t go so well for you.  You have to be willing to find that opening, rather than focus on all the other thousands of moments that don’t match your plan. All it takes is one action each day to keep moving forward. You have to decide what that action is today and then do it. Maybe that action is looking at what didn’t work so well yesterday and correcting how you will respond today. Maybe it is looking for something new that supports your long-term goal, even if it means taking a risk. And maybe it is as simple as accepting that you are where you need to be today because this is the point from which God wants you to grow. Maybe you aren’t stuck; you just aren’t seeing the potential in where you are in your life today.

It’s the season for basketball and hockey playoffs. I have watched these players rise to the challenge after a night of demoralizing loss. They have a choice—throw in the towel and book their flights home or come out ready to win. They have to believe that they can rise above their setback and believe that today they can be more productive. Some teams will of course end up packing their bags as another team moves forward toward the shiny trophy. For those who leave unsatisfied there is no question that they will look at what didn’t work and make a correction—build on their ‘failure’ to improve in the next game or the next series. Even the winners are looking at what didn’t work so that they can improve their odds in the next game. They never stop trying to be better. They never stop working their plan, even if it is to watch tapes or talk to someone about their performance.

Are you looking at your ‘failures’ and ‘mistakes’ as a way to improve? Are you capitalizing on what doesn’t work so you can find what does?

If you are going to focus on what has yet to happen for you or what you did wrong or how difficult your journey forward is, you will never reach your goal. I can almost promise you that. However, if you are going to look at the missed opportunities or mistakes in the previous days, I suggest you do it with an eye to make some course corrections. Do not focus on what didn’t work but focus on how to improve today. Although there may be some things beyond your power to change right now, you have the power to make where you are work for you. Ask yourself what you can do in the midst of your circumstances to build a bridge, plank by plank, in your plan. Don’t waste another minute measuring your failures. Measure your day by what you have done right and what you will do right in the moments ahead. Measure your day by what God is doing in your life and find joy in knowing that you can learn and grow and keep moving forward. It will change everything you do to simply measure your day well.

“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?” Job 6:11

Finding a New Path

Humbly I come to you, having lost my way.
Wanting your forgiveness for my pride;
I sought my way and stumbled on the path.

Your words call out to me, pulling me back.
Yet I hold on to that which I know;
Hoping you will follow my lead and direction.

My plan has gone astray, the door has closed.
I have no choice but to surrender my will;
I’m left to accept that you have a new plan.

Where now shall I go amidst this turmoil?
How do I trust this new plan you have,
When I can’t yet see the light ahead?

How, O Lord, do I trust you when I have failed?
How, O Lord, do I trust me?
How do I even start anew?

And yet trust I do, as I cry out for your direction.
I breathe in all I know of you and wait;
I wait to hear your calming reassurance.

I wait to take the next step, leaning on you.
I wait; and then I slowly step forward,
Trusting you to open a new door,
Leading me into a new life.

A new path emerges and I see you in it.
All that is good has come from this my journey of change.
Protected Ransomed Refreshed Regenerated

© maggiemarcum.com

Managing Energy Drainers

Energy drainers are those things that distract an individual from reaching their goals (Collins, 2009).They may be short-term obstacles that we can handle for a brief period of time without derailing our progress. Other energy drainers may pull us way off track and require us to take specific steps to reduce the negative impact. That said, there are a few things that I have allowed to stop me from doing what I believe God has called me to do and I am slowly finding ways to stop letting these things derail my progress. Some of these will be quick fixes while others will take longer to accomplish and require more of a change in my behavior.

Finances

One of my primary goals is to reach financial security and to get my spending under control. The first step for me was to pray and then to seek out a program that would bring success. I have taken some pretty drastic steps to get the ball rolling, including holding a yard sale to get rid of things that I didn’t need and giving away pretty much everything else. I moved out of a large house into a manageable apartment that costs me a fraction of what I was spending. I am building up my savings for emergencies and have a plan to pay off my expenses. I am more deliberate in my regular giving. It will be a long slow process, but I truly believe this is what God is calling me to do today. And from this will come one more testimony about transformation that I can share with others.

Family and Friends

I have a great relationship with my daughter; however, I have a real tendency to drop everything to hang out with her when I should be focusing on writing or my other tasks.  And I have a bad habit of spending money that I have budgeted for bills or savings on spur-of-the-moment outings with my daughter or with friends. I used to claim it was “single mother syndrome” but really it was just neglectful planning.  I have found it necessary to set boundaries in my relationships—to say “no” even when my heart says “yes.” I am committed to the Dave Ramsey[1]  financial plan which means I have to make changes in my overall lifestyle. Part of that change includes setting new priorities while keeping the focus on reaching my long-term goals.

Emotions

I guess you could say that the primary energy drainer for me is fear and panic. The fear is a byproduct of my financial insecurity and it has kept me from moving forward. I have learned that the most positive thing I can do is stick with my budget plan and continue to pay down my debt without acquiring more debt. And I am working with a spiritual director as well as a healing minister who are helping me to see God’s plan instead of my plan. I cannot begin to explain the newfound peace I have discovered in my obedience to praying, writing, and talking with others.

Home

Ok—I will admit it. The TV probably is the largest energy drainer in my life. When I feel insecure about my ability to step into this new role of story teller and author or I am overwhelmed by my financial situation—I retreat to mindless TV. I may spend hours at a time watching TV and avoiding the world outside.  Additionally, TV is sometimes a crutch for not spending money on things with my daughter and so we will sit together watching movies or TV shows rather than going out. This obstacle also keeps me from being more physically active, which is not a good thing for someone trying to live a healthier lifestyle. For now I will work to set aside time to walk instead of watching an hour of TV in the evening. I am sure I won’t avoid TV completely; however, I do need to set boundaries in this area as well. This may be one of the harder areas for me and it could continue as an energy drainer and stressor if I don’t get it under control.

Reflection

I have found it is useful to identify things in my life that are keeping me from reaching my goals and to consider the changes I need to make in my life. Some of these things were not easy to confront, especially since it made me realize how much time I have wasted.  It also became apparent that I cannot make these changes on my own and that I need to be honest with people who I trust about the obstacles in my life. It is equally important to have people in my life that will hold me accountable and encourage my success. One step at a time, I move forward.

Reference

Collins, G. R. (2009) Christian coaching: helping others turn potential into reality. NavPress. Colorado Springs, CO

[1] Dave Ramsey provides Christian-based financial counseling and provides a strategy to help individuals achieve financial freedom. Refer to: http://www.daveramsey.com/home/