What Are You Allowing?
Point to Ponder:
What is one “thing” you are allowing in your life that is causing stress and negatively impacting your joy.
Last week during one of our iGnite Tulsa classes we discussed our Health and FITmas Challenge. I explained all of the ways to accumulate points and earn iGnite credit (with taking 9 iGnite classes being at the top of the list). As we discussed self-care, the importance of it, and all of the various forms, we also talked about one necessary self-care practice: giving a strong “yes!” to something you’ve been wanting to do, but have passed up because of guilt, or any other negative emotion. Alongside the enthusiastic “yes” reminder (because “YES!” equates to more Joy) came the nudge to give an enthusiastic guilt-free “No!” to something you don’t want to do—because how often do we give the guilty and obligatory “yes" that only results in anger, resentment, annoyance, and more stress. Let's face it, the obligatory “yes” that should been an automatic “no” takes away from our priorities (or joy), which causes unnecessary and preventable stress.
As we continued to talk and share personal “yes”/“no” examples, one of things I mentioned was how annoyed I get when my kids ask me to do something (for them) they are capable of doing for themselves. Instead of telling them “no, you can do that”, too often I give the auto-pilot, “Ok, sure” response, followed by annoyance. Or I say “yes” to something they actually can’t do but should be able to, all because I haven’t taken the time to teach them. And so, rather than pausing to empower and equip them to have more responsibility (my goal), I instead enable them (not my goal). As you would guess, the result is inconvenience, more annoyance, yelling at them and stress for everyone…all because I have allowed the behavior to continue and haven’t set aside intentional time to stop, correct and teach.
In the midst of talking through this process, the word that immediately came to mind was “allow”, followed with this thought: “what else am I allowing that is minimizing joy and adding stress?” For me, this is a cringe-worthy, loaded and deep question that cuts to my core because my joy and/or stress isn’t just about me. It has an enormous ripple effect that impacts my relationship with God, my husband, my children, my immediate family, my friendships, and my work. It affects everything! And what makes me sick to my stomach is to think about is all of the unnecessary stress I allow in my life because too often I'm on auto-pilot, unfocused, lazy, undisciplined, and unwilling to do the hard work so I can make the necessary change that will eliminate stress and increase joy.
For me, writing this Journal and preparing the Weekly News each Sunday is causing me stress and significantly reducing my joy. It’s not at all because I don’t enjoy it. I love writing the journal and packaging our information to you each week, however, for as long as I can remember I’ve allowed myself to procrastinate and put it off until Sunday, which is RIDICULOUS! It has bothered me in the past, but recently I’ve become angry for being a hypocrite because while I do believe in observing the Sabbath and that Sundays are sacred, my actions and bad habits would never indicate this. As a result, I’m always distracted and preoccupied in church, unable to play with the children, hang out with my family and do Sunday things. And because I work on Sunday, I’m never fully refreshed and prepared for the week. For the first time the journal and Weekly News were put together before Sunday and I plan to enjoy a full Sunday doing Sunday and family things. Moving forward, this is my goal and I know it will minimize stress and maximize joy for our entire family.
As we enter into the second week of the holiday season and the Holiday Health and FITmas Challenge, I encourage you to ask yourself this question: what's one thing I am allowing (or enabling) ,that is minimizing joy and preventing me from being my best? Another way to think of it is: what excuses are you making, or negative habits are you justifying that are causing you stress and negatively affecting your joy? And finally, what change(s) do you need to make or conversation(s) do you need to have that will allow you to reduce your stress, increase your joy and be your best?
Eliminate and/or minimize “one thing” that will get you closer to being your best.
Gracious God, Thank you for this day. Thank you for this season. Please help us to pause so we can discern the things that we are allowing in our lives that cause distraction, stress, diminishes our joy and prevents us from living the life You have created us to live. Help us God to be bold and courageous so we can make necessary changes that allow us to live a more purpose-filled, joyful and impactful life. Amen