I like to help women get untangled.
I do it for myself all the time. If something is off I dig, pray, journal and talk to friends until I figure out what’s going on inside me or around me. I’ve always been about freedom, and depth, and really living. It's who I am.
It is also why I've decided to make it my career! I like to see women alive. Alive in Christ. Making the most of their life.
The opposite of numb and boring. Because, with Christ, we have no excuse to be either.
This week, as I’ve continued to refine my purpose (Did you see my new tagline?), I’ve been thinking a lot about how we as everyday women, can be fully engaged with life, now.
I’m a firm believer that life is now, today, and that really living has to be fought for. It isn’t handed to us.
Comfort is handed to us. Obligation is forced on us. Fear finds us. But a life fully lived? We have to be proactive about that one.
So, today, I write to encourage us all to be more proactive. Here’s the cool part. I’m not about to say that you have to move to Uganda and start an orphanage to be fully alive. While that would be awesome, being fully engaged with life is not about whats going on around you, it's about whats going on inside you.
The 7 habits I’ve seen in women I admire and in myself, when I’m at my most alive, are simple choices we can start making today. I’m talking about all of us. The mom. The single working gal. The cosmetologist and the church secretary.
The 7 Habits
1) Make Healthy Female Friendships a Priority
Sisterhood. Squad. Tribe. The need for female friends is even more real, I think, then the desire for romantic love. Women who are really choosing to show up for life every day, know that they can not do life alone and that normally have a close group of girl-friends who they can vent to, garner encouragement from and speak out loud their most irrational fears. It also does wonders for the soul to sit around in sweatpants and laugh with a nice glass of…something=)
2) Don’t Watch Too Much TV
We are only given so many hours in a day. You can spend your time or you can invest it. Too much TV is not really a wise investment of time. Yes, I binge-watched The Crown. And yes, “A binge can work like a steel door that blocks our brains from thinking about those constant stressors that force themselves into our thoughts.” (Paige, 2017) But I wasn’t fully living during that time in my life. I was self-medicating the extreme burnout I was enduring. TV is a nice way to relax for an hour or two but I ask you – if you are watching more than an hour or two a day, what’s the issue? Are you overly stressed? Are you bored with your life? Are you trying to escape?
If you want to be more alive, choose to invest in your own life, not watching other people live theirs.
3) Work Out
Women who live life fully work out because they want to feel good, heal or be kind to their bodies. They work out because it creates balance and decreases stress. They do not work out to simply “look good.” Exercise can’t just be about getting the attention of others. It has to be enjoyed for what it is in the moment. The release of all those great endorphins, the ease of depression and anxiety, the self-confidence booster, and so much more. (Semeco, 2017)
Exercise promotes the energy of life to flow into nearly all facets of our being. Walk. Do yoga. Jog a little bit. Exercise not to live longer but to maximize feeling alive, today.
4) Spend Consistent Time with God
If I was ranking these in order of importance this would be number 1 with a big fat star next to it. Listen, I know who I am when I’m abiding with Christ versus who I am when I’m not. We all know. When not practicing this habit I have less patience, I give in to the temptation more often, I can feel sad, anxious and even numb for no reason at all. I lack faith, fear starts to set in…and so on.
Praise the Lord, I’ve been pretty consistent in this area of my life lately. What changed? Well, much like I said about exercise I began to realize how life-giving this habit is. It’s so positive and so pleasurable when it’s happening the right way, that it’s pretty hard to stop!
What is a right way? Well, whatever works for you. Long walks. Prayer Journals. A structured devotional. So long as it includes complete vulnerability with Jesus and some daily bread for your soul.
We were made to give. Giving to others is practically satisfying and natural for women. (the real challenge for most women to learning when to say “no” when the “takers” in their life don’t set limits) But still, it’s important to remember that “The more we make this life about ourselves the more miserable we will be” – Matt Chandler.
I have never felt more alive than when I was serving others while doing missions work. Yes, the exotic locations helped. But I felt most alive because I could almost physically feel the life of Christ empowering me and flowing through me and into others.
So, who are you pouring life into? Your kids? Your husband? The team you serve with at church? Your local Habitat for Humanity? Serving, when done with a willing heart, will make you feel more alive than almost anything else.
6) Don’t Sit in Self-Pity
As John Gardner said, “Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”
When I have given in to self-pity I am the absolute worst version of myself. I assume the worst things about others, envy takes over my heart, I am fruitless. It’s an ugly situation. I give myself a bit of time, depending on the severity of the situation and then I try really hard (and it is hard) to fight the temptation to feel bad for myself.
Pulling yourself out of self-pity is almost a physical struggle. It’s heavy and hard and you have to manufacture the energy to do it out of thin air. It’s mind over matter. (Renewing your mind)
It’s choosing what is good until you start to feel good again.
7) Practice Vulnerability
Ah, human connection. Scary, isn’t it. I don’t really need to say much here instead I’m just going to drop in the video of a viral TEDtalk on the topic. Have you seen it? If not, make time. This one will blow some dust off the rustiest parts of your heart.
Friends, this is NOT a To-Do list. That’s the last thing any of us need. However, I bet as you read there was an item or two that pricked your heart. There was a moment when you felt a quickening in your spirit that said: “girl, you need more of that in your life.”
So here is the big secret, habit # 8 if you will. Listening to that voice, right there, is how you start to really live.
Get out of your head and just listen, with wisdom, to the Light inside you. That voice is leading you to LIFE. You can do it. Choose one thing and go for it.
You can start by commenting below and letting us know which thing you choose! Maybe you want to stop shopping so much and buy a ticket to go see your best friend. Perhaps you will put on your walking shoes and walk until you feel better. Today, you will resolve to tell a trusted friend something you've never told anyone (practice vulnerability).
Yes, it's easier to go through the motions day by day. Personally, I don't want easy...I want good. I want life.
I have a feeling you do too.
NOT SURE WHERE TO BEGIN?
If you happen to read this list and feel a bit sad because even though these things speak to your soul, you feel like you don't have the tools to get there (don't have an easy time building close friendships, have no idea what your passion is or where you want to serve, are terrified of vulnerability) I encourage you check out the Personal Coaching I offer. It is designed for moments just like this and women just like you.