Survival mode (or maybe not-even-surviving mode) could very well describe a lot of my life in the last eight years.
After years of infertility, God blessed us with our oldest son through adoption and 3 more children that I gave birth to in just over 4 years. Then less than a year later, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer leading to surgery and a brief radiation treatment. All of this in the middle of a move. If you add to that the number of illnesses (at least 11 bottles on antibiotics one winter), my husband taking night and weekend classes, and needing to go gluten-free (for my husband’s Celiac Disease), I have just struggled my way through. I know that I had a lot of moments where I needed to be in “survival mode”, but I also think I just got stuck there.
I was ready for a change. I know that God wanted me to be thriving and not just surviving, and yet, I couldn’t figure out how to change things. I was in a mode of just wanting to finish off a day or a week without actually enjoying it. I didn’t like hitting the weekend and stressing that I had too much to get done. I wanted to be content, even joyful in this life God has blessed me with instead of just getting by.
This fall, I had started this process of making small changes, but my progress was slow at best. Then, along came the book Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life at just the right time. I saw a blog post about the book on Money Saving Mom and asked my mom to buy it for me as my Christmas present. (I had a giveaway of this book a while back if you want to read some of my initial thoughts on the book.)
God has really used this book to bring about real change in my life. Here are some of the things that resulted from this book:
- I have written down my priorities and set goals for myself (year-long goals,weekly goals, daily goals so far). Some goals have been met already, a few goals have been scrapped since I decided they are lower on my priority list, and new goals may even be added. Making weekly and even daily goals has kept me from just stressing over too much to do or being so overwhelmed with all my tasks that I just want to throw in the towel. Sometimes, I don’t reach a daily or weekly goal, but aiming for something is better than aiming for nothing.
- My morning routine has been up and running for more than a month. Even on tired or sick days, the morning routine has really helped my mornings and my days go better. My whole day really could be describing as running on a routine. I try to make a goal list for the day based on my life priorities and what I think God wants from me that day.
- You might be able to describe me as “a reformed messy.” While my house may not pass anyone’s white glove test, we have been able to keep the house clean for more than a month straight. This has to be a personal best for me. By clean, I mean 15-20 minutes away from what I would like it to look like if someone came over at all times. We still play, eat, learn, and just generally live here, but the messes get taken care of quickly. This has been a team effort (with the children really being a great help in cleaning and cooking), but my attitude and amount of work in this area has really made a big difference. As much as for some people this wouldn’t be an accomplishment, I don’t want to hide my past failures and meager successes or compare my weaknesses to other’s strengths.
Some days, I only accomplish what I did before. This is not stressful for me though because it’s a choice I made for that day based on my priorities. I’m okay with never being a good decorator, making gourmet food, growing a beautiful garden, or creating amazing crafts. Those aren’t my talents or my priorities. I much prefer to just be the woman that God made me to be.
Intentional or purposeful would probably the best way to describe how I look at my life now. I’d like to share about being purposeful in various areas of my life over the next few weeks/months. I’ll be blogging about “designing my day” with what God has been teaching me. I hope a little of what God’s been teaching me might resonate with you too.
The book has the tagline of “9 simple strategies to stress less, sleep more, and restore your passion for life.” I can honestly say that I do stress less, sleep more, and maybe even have more passion for “running the race God has set before” me.