Do you have a note to yourself?
Every time I start to lose perspective, I use Twitter and send this little note out to myself.
Note to self: pray more, love wife and family more, love people and use things, don’t eat crap, the law of the gift, work don’t waste
For me it is enough of a kick in the tail to keep me on track for what I am doing at that moment. The order of the parts of the note are deliberately set for me to keep my perspective in focus and to keep me from going crazy looking at the big picture. There have been some real benefits to this, and I wanted to share them. As with all things, if this works for you, then great, if not, then chuck it.
- Pray more. I often forget this more than I remember it. It is the first thing that I should be remembering most of the time. Especially this time of year when things get crazy with purchasing and decorating and all the pressure that comes with providing your family with the memories that they are “supposed” to have.
- Pray more. It’s a simply notion that drives me to my knees in reverence. Most times when I get impatient or angry it is because I have lost perspective. This helps me to get that perspective back again.
- Love the wife and family more. I think this is a curse, but my brain never shuts off. Ever. This means that I work at a furious pace a lot of the time. I actually have to work to relax. I don’t know what that means or if you can relate, but if you have ever had the experience of creatively brainstorming, then you know what it is like in my head.The only problem is that I am creatively brainstorming all the time. I’m addicted to the idea of thinking outside the box, of doing things different, of perhaps taking something that is working in one place an applying it somewhere else. The issue is that when my daughter wants me to simply have the fourth tea party of the morning, it actually causes me anxiety to sit and just “be” with her. This is where love comes in. To make the deliberate choice for the good of the other person which means to put aside my own selfish needs, wants, and desires… especially that desire to work. This reminds me that they are the priority. That my time with them is more important than the time I spend working to get things for them.
- Love people and use things. I’m a technophile so I am addicted to new technology. So the computer, the game system… I sometimes love them. This statement reminds me that I have to put the priority on people. As nice as the website, email, voicemail, and texting are, I am most rewarded when I can sit with someone and actually work with them. Actually pray with them. Listen, process, pray, and then see the lightbulb go off in their head when they start to re-prioritize their life and realize that holiness is something that God wants for them right now.The crazy thing (and this is why I am crazy) is that too many times I choose to spend time with things rather than people, even though I am fed in my soul by working with people. This note reminds me to be less crazy. I said less crazy. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will always be a little crazy.
- Don’t eat crap. This is such an easy formula it is a wonder that I forget it. You are what you eat. That means when I consume the Eucharist, I receive the very life of Christ. This means when I eat that double Whopper with cheese covered in fried nacho cheese with a Diet Coke, at the end of the day I am going to be grumpy, bloated, impatient, greasy, and intolerable.I don’t want to be crap. I should stop eating crap. I have a definite weakness for overeating so this is a big deal for me. Maybe not so much for you.
- The law of the gift. Essentially this means that we only find ourselves when we are willing to give ourselves away. This means to be a servant. To be a footwasher. To take even those that society considers lepers, the underdogs, and to embrace them, give them a fighting chance. It is to be completely unselfish.A friend of mine is great at this because they look everyone in the eyes and learn their names. This essentially is a gift of dignity. We can learn a lot from these simple acts and if I remind myself that I am meant to be a gift to the people around me, I better make sure I’m not the type of gift they want to send back!
- Work, don’t waste. We all have a life and we all have a limited amount of time. When you are given the time to work, it’s time to work. Waste is waste is waste. I actually have this theory that we don’t need to work much more than 8-10 hours a week. That’s because we only work that much anyway, we just happen to be around for 40 hours to make it look like we are working.I know in your head right now you are thinking, “He doesn’t know my job… I work x number of hours every week!” Take away every moment that is not dedicated to work that directly relates to what you are doing. I’ll bet you, like me, spend a lot of time doing things that don’t directly contribute. This goes for the home life too. Relationships, families, take work. Don’t waste the time that you have with them.
So go ahead… make a note to yourself. Post it for the world to see on something like Twitter or Facebook. Post it every time you see yourself not living up to the goal of awesome holiness that you have set for yourself. Post it every time you feel lazy, or you feel like you are not living life. Even if that note is to make a note.