Yesterday was a little ridiculous.
I woke up at 6:00 a.m. Left the house for work at 6:55 a.m. Conducted FIVE therapy home visits back to back, and returned home by 2:15 p.m. For the next 2 hours 45 minutes, I did laundry, cleaned up kids’ messes, unloaded a grocery bag full of one kid’s school stuff, did some finances, went to the park with three kids, made dinner for said three kids, cleaned it all up, and got the oldest ready for an out of town baseball game. At 5:00 p.m. daddy arrived home early. He kept the toddler at home, and I left with the two oldest for a half-hour drive to the baseball game. A train stopped dead in the tracks forced us to reroute, which caused us to be 18 minutes late for pre-game warmup. The 5-inning game started at 6:30 p.m., running long and late, not ending until 8:30 p.m. It was a great game for my son and we won, so of course, everybody planned to stop at Dairy Queen on the way home. One chicken tender basket, two small blizzards and a $13.84 receipt later, we took our seat to eat. Dear son refused to be the first to leave this time, so he escaped outside where all the boys were sitting. His two best friends were the first to leave. I finally convinced him to go after his second friend left, but not before he made a “dirty dinner” of ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper which caused desired outcome of friends laughing – and grabbed a ketchup packet and squished it to splatter all over his white baseball pants. Yay. We got home at 10:00 p.m. I informed the kids they needed to go to bed as quickly as they could, took a shower and crashed on the couch by 10:26 p.m. Forced myself to get quiet and in the Word for a few minutes, looking up passages on freedom. Began drafting a blog post, but literally fell asleep writing. Lugged my body up to bed by 11:30 a.m. Exhausted when I woke to toddler yelling “mommy mommy mommy” at 6:00 a.m. this morning.
In need of a lifeline?
I sure was.
While all my days aren’t as rigorous as yesterday, they all have some variety of busyness, craziness, or chaos. I’m in a season of busy, as I’m sure many of you are.
This season of busy requires us to be focused, disciplined and patient to not only survive, but thrive through it. First of all, we need knowledge and awareness of what makes us tick, keeps us sane, grounded and functioning properly. Second, we need discipline to implement the things that make us tick, keep us sane, grounded and functioning properly. It’s up to us to fight for those lifelines, those things that keep us healthy.
It’s taken me near 38 years to determine, very decisively, my lifelines.
In an ideal world, I’d have an opportunity to attend a worship service, Christian concert, or Christian speaking engagement every day. Worship and community centered on Christ centers me, grounds me, helps me remember there is greater purpose to this life. Unfortunately, attending one of those events on a daily basis isn’t possible. So I rely on other things to fill the gaps – prayer, listening to Christian music in the car and on my iPhone, reading scripture, engaging with a Christian community on Twitter, reading blogs written by Christians, and listening to faith talk radio in between speech therapy visits.
I’ve been exercising faithfully two to four times per week for more than eight years now. While I certainly exercised prior to that, I never did as faithfully as I have these eight years. What I’ve learned from eight years of exercising is this – I’m in desperate need of it. I exercise primarily for mental health purposes. Exercising makes me feel better 100% of the time. When I go 3-5 days, or worst case 7-9 days without exercising? I feel like crap. Yep. Just being honest. When I exercise, I feel free, empowered, strong and inspired to live better. And yes, maintaining my weight and losing a couple pounds here and there are side benefits.
Music is something I didn’t really realize I needed regularly in my life until this past year. I grew up in a musical family. My grandma was a master pianist. She taught lessons and played at church. She died when I was 10, but I’d give just about anything to have a moment to sit and listen to her play now. My parents met in college band, my dad was a band director, I was in choir and musicals in high school, and played flute through college. Music has always been a part of who I am. It’s not so much that I just need music. I need music that feeds my soul. At this point in my life, the best way for me to access music that feeds my soul is in the car on my way to work out and in-between speech therapy visits, or on my iPod when I’m working out. I’m an eclectic, preferences ranging from Eminem to Sara Groves, Elton John to Amy Grant – and everything else in-between.
I’ve been a faithful writer since early junior high. Writing is the way I process life. Writing is the way I make sense of the world around me. Writing is the way I get clarity. Yep, I’m the person that writes a sentence when one word would suffice, several paragraphs when one paragraph would suffice. When I started blogging two years ago, I realized something important. When I start a day writing, the whole day is much better than if I don’t. When I end a day writing, I feel much more peace than if I don’t. My brain automatically generates language around my life experiences. I draft sentences and paragraphs in my mind all day. If I don’t get them out, they remain stuck in my head, of use to nobody but me and my ruminating mind. It’s better if I grant myself freedom to get it all out. Focusing on whatever topic speaks to me most in the moment helps me remain true to myself, regardless of others’ response.
So why have I shared these lifelines with you today?
Because identifying what makes me tick, keeps me sane, grounded, and functioning properly has been crucial to my health and wellness as an individual.
Here’s the key…any day when I fight to fit in ALL FOUR lifelines is a much better day than when I miss one, some or all of them.
Today, while the oldest two were at basketball camp, I got in a workout first thing. I turned my music up loud. Writing this blog post was a welcomed, self-imposed activity during my daughter’s afternoon nap. And tonight? Some quiet time with God before bed. Today will be a much better day than yesterday because I’m intentionally including all four lifelines in my day.
I’m not sure if you’re the kind of person who thinks like me, but if you haven’t done so already, may I suggest thinking about your lifelines?
What do you need to function properly on a daily basis? Perhaps your lifelines aren’t activities or habits you need to keep, but people you need to engage in order to maintain wellness. I don’t know what it is that fuels your soul, what it is that keeps you going day by day, but whatever it is, find it.
And when you discover those lifelines?
Fight for them. Fight to fit them in your day.
Your life depends on it.