Finding Freedom Through Living Contently Part 2

Posted by admin on July 23, 2015

wellness-594181_1280In the last post, I shared with you one of my largest problems-Living Contently.  Is this a struggle for you?  Well, I would love to share with you how I am working on fixing this.

For me, it starts with evaluating and then simplifying.  In this post I am going to focus on evaluating.  I often have to take a really good look at what I already have, which is also where the Blessings Journal comes in that we talked about in the last post, and then I have to look at where I am wanting to go, or what goals I want to accomplish in my life.

Remember the verse I mentioned in my last post?  "Live your creative best...Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." Galations 6:1 & 4-5 (Message version)

Evaluating is a very important step for simplifying and being content, and for living your life as described above.

BEFORE YOU CAN SIMPLIFY

farm-house-363367_1280It is encouraging to see so many movements towards becoming less consumer based in our society, and to live a life that seeks after contentment-tiny house movements, community based outreaches, urban gardening, activity based parenting bike commuting.  These are great steps for us culturally.  I feel like we are learning to be "good stewards" of what we have been given, and that's awesome.

However just doing what we see everyone else doing may not be the right step towards living contently.  Everyone's contentedness looks different.  And I know this is where I can get into a lot of trouble in my mind.

I went to the recycled arts fair a few weeks back, and of course they had a tiny house. I actually love the idea of these; I envy people who do it, and I understand many of the reasonings behind living in one:
-Less expensive to buy/build,
-You can't have too much stuff,
-You get to be closer (literally) to your family,
-You can use expensive materials (you have less to cover),
-and so much more.

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I can picture myself living the simple lifestyle I read about in the magazines featuring Tiny House living.  But here's the kicker for me.  When my husband and I actually sit down to evaluate where we want to be in the next 5, 10, even 20 years, it doesn't make sense for us to own one of these as our main residence.  However, with that being said, it also doesn't make sense for us to purchase a really large house either.

For us, when we did the activity that you will see soon, we found that we would like to own a smallish home on a decent size piece of property to fit at least one other smallish sized home or cabin where family can come visit but have their own space, or we can rent to air B&B when not being occupied by our guests.  The outdoor living space and location (preferably a fun area) will be more important than the indoor space.  This decision is based on a few key things:

  • Our kids are teenagers, and probably won't be around as much as they are now (whether they still live with us or not),
  • we want to travel, but would like to have a "base" to come home to,
  • we want to have a space where family can visit,
  • I don't want a huge space to clean,
  • we both eventually want to work from home,
  • we like to cook, entertain, and we love hanging-out outdoors.

Evaluating has been the best way for me to keep that in perspective when I am starting to envy what I see others doing, and I think, "I want to do what they're doing too."  I can be very impatient.  When I take the time to do this, it not only helps me to begin the process of cutting back, and learning to live a more simplified life that actually matches up with our goals, and desires, but it also helps me to know what I CAN keep, or CAN do.  It gives me a "light at the end of the tunnel," or an X on a map.

EVALUATING

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In order to live more contently, we need to draw ourselves a map, so we know where we're heading. This way when we do face adversity, we know we will make it to the end, and we actually know what it looks like when we arrive. It also helps us to have some fun with it.

 

Let's start with actually drawing out where the finish line is.  We're going to ask just a couple of questions, but we're going to look in each area of life.  For this, I like to use Zig Ziglar's Wheel of Life as a reference, but I add in home, because this is a major category for me, and it is different than family.  Here are the questions you're going to ask in each area:

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1)  Where am I now?
2) Where do I envision myself in the near future? 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? (You can take this out as far as you wish)

LIFE AREAS: (Feel free to add any in, if you need to)

  • Family
  • Social
  • Career
  • Financial
  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Home (my addition)

Take the time to ask the questions for each of these areas.

If you have a significant other, I would suggest that you do it this way:

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1) Make sure that you agree in advance that there will be no judgement on each others items.  This is a great way to get your opinion out, and it's important for a strong relationship that each person gets to share. SO DON'T JUDGE, and listen to what the other has to say.

2)  Write these out on separate pieces of paper; get everything you desire written out.  Go through the same questions for each of the areas of life, just like the above example.

3) Discuss your goals.  This does not mean criticize the other person's goals.  You may find some areas that you have the same dreams and goals, and you may find some that you don't.

  • Discuss which ones you can do together,
  • which ones would be best done separately,
  • and if there are some that you can't come to an agreement on, then I would suggest putting it to the side for now, and praying about it.
  • Don't leave it on the side forever though, because that doesn't "solve" it
  • I would set a time to come back to it-even if you have to talk about it several times.
  • If it seems like that item is going nowhere, and the other person still wants to do that item, then I would personally suggest that you need to find a way that you can support them.

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A great example of this for me, is my husband's desire to sky dive.  I understand the desire-it used to be something I wanted to do myself.  I have since lost that desire, and don't know if that will change when he is ready to do it.  I found that I can support him, but under these circumstances:

 

  • I don't want to be pressured-if I decide to do it, at the time, then great!
  • I don't want to watch-I'll be perfectly happy seeing the video afterwards, when he is home safe,
  • Our life insurance has to be at a certain number, because if something happens (please Lord, no!), I don't want to be left with nothing.  I say this jokingly, but NOT, at the same time :-)
  • I would prefer if he did it after the kids were grown

So, I am supporting him, I just have my stipulations on it.  It's a win-win.  And who knows, by the time he is actually ready and able to do this, he may decide he doesn't want to after all, although I highly doubt that will happen.

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Last thing I would suggest on this activity is this:  Go get input from family and friends.  Sometimes they can see things that you can't.  Perhaps they recognize some talents that you have forgotten you have, or fail to see in the first place.  I find that my closest friends are so good at helping me to see goals that I should pursue based on my gifts and talents that I might just take for granted.  This is a great step, so please ask at least one person you're close to-more if you can.

Well, in the final Living Contently post, we are really going to be focusing on simplifying.  And we're going to take your above goals and dreams, and look at these questions:

-How do we start to move towards that goal?
-What do we need to simplify to clear the path for getting there?

I hope that you got some nuggets from this post and are starting to see some light at the end of your tunnel.  If you struggle with living contently, I would love to hear your story-what you struggle with, what you would like to be doing, or whatever you would like to share.  Please feel free to comment on the post.  Of course you can also share at my Facebook page, and Twitter page.  Thanks for stopping by.

TTFN

 

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