I know it’s terrible nutritionally, but I just really love those fries!
Yet here’s the thing: I also know that when I’m intentional, and not rushed, and I make healthy food for lunch, we feel better. I’m happier about not spending the money; but we also feel better because we get real food, not food whose origin is questionable.
Too often we live life as a REACTION to what is going on around us: we get carried away by things that make us busy, and then we forget to purposefully include things in our lives that bring us joy. We need to be more proactive about including in our lives the things that make us feel healthier, stronger, and important.
I have a dear friend that I’ve been lecturing lately about how she is over-busy. She is pouring out her life for her kids and her husband, but she has no time or energy left for herself. And you can’t keep that up indefinitely. When you try you become bitter, and disillusioned, and incredibly, incredibly tired. We need some time to include in our lives the things that make us feel purposeful, creative, and joyful.
So how can we include more joy in our lives?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Last week I had a phone call from my doctor’s office telling me that the blood tests came back and I was severely anemic. I was so relieved! I’ve been so tired lately and I’ve been worried that it’s been stress or laziness. But it’s just old-fashioned anemia, which has an easy fix.
Perhaps your lethargy doesn’t have as easy a fix, but we can take pains to include more things that bring us joy and purpose in our lives. And last week, as I was reading through the books in the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle (86 ebooks, just $29.97!), they started me brainstorming about more things I want to be purposeful about.
1. Be a Lifelong Learner
Maybe the reason life becomes blah is because there’s nothing NEW. Yet look at the world around you! It’s gorgeous. My husband and I have started bird watching in the last two years and I see nature with new eyes. It was always there; I just never noticed.
When we keep our eyes open, and look at what’s actually around us, instead of rushing through our day, there is so much majesty to behold.
When your kids ask you something and you truly don’t know the answer, admit it. And then discover the answer together. Search the internet, head to your library, head to the museum, or call someone on the phone.
You’ll show your kids that you don’t know everything, and that certain things are worth the trouble to learn. Plus, it’ll be a fun bonding experience to learn something new together.
– Tsh Oxenreider, One Bite at a Time,
Do you keep your eyes open as you go through life? Do you make it a point of learning a new craft, a new fact, a new hobby? Do you enjoy discovering more about God’s creation? When we think of life as this journey where we get to know and explore more of what God has made, and less about rushing through the time He’s given us, we awake wonder. And wonder is such a part of joy!
2. Embrace Rest
The very first day of Adam’s life on earth was a day of rest. He was created on the sixth day; on the seventh he was commanded to rest.
That’s really profound.
Think about it: we usually think of rest as a REACTION to work: we grow tired, so we have to rest. But what if rest is important, in and of itself? What if there is something key about rest, and we were created for it?
Do you let yourself rest on Sundays? Do you let yourself sit down, put your feet up, and just think throughout the day? Do you allow yourself to leave your to-do list not done, and just do a craft sometimes?
The thing is though, I have felt this weariness before – in simpler seasons – and I know the real problem is not the size of my plate or the responsibilities piled on top of it. The real issue lies in the fact that I am absolutely trying to pour out in so many areas of my life without being refreshed myself. And I can’t keep going on like that.
– Refresh by Hayley Morgan and Jessi Connolly, part of the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle Sale
3. Embrace God
How can you feel at peace if you aren’t in communication with the One who made you? Perhaps the reason we often feel so out of sorts is because we push aside the One who wants to show us what He has for us. So often I feel out of sorts and like something just isn’t right when I let days go by without making time to just LISTEN to Him.
I am not a happy person. I generally don’t wake up excited to see the sun rise, breakfast, or even my children. If things revolved around Jodi, there would be silence for the first two hours after I have woken up from my slumber. My chai would be waiting for me on the stove, ready to be strained; and the dog wouldn’t take my place on the couch before I arrived. Everyone would give me the head nod as they came down the stairs and I would reciprocate. Each individual would file into their allocated quiet-time spot and that angelic spiritual silence would prevail for the next hour and forty-five minutes.
It’s not that I don’t love the humans in my house. I do. But for me to be moderately pleasant to be around . . . I cling to moments of quiet, being physically alone, and quality time in the Word of God.
Once upon a time, my ideal existed. But then these little miracles kept arriving.
Called children. I wouldn’t have it any other way. BUT . . . I can still savor and enjoy quiet, the velvety touch of Scripture brushing against my soul, and a hot cuppa beside me.
The Essential Oilers’ Handbook, part of the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle Sale
4. Entice Your Sense of Smell
Passion is tied in to our senses, and it makes sense: Passion is the ultimate in experiencing deeply. And we can’t experience what we don’t sense. Too often we live life almost entirely in our heads: we think about things, but we don’t sit back and just experience things. And for passion, we need to experience it.
So part of living a big life, I think, is letting ourselves smell the flowers.
Smell is the sense most linked to memory. It can take you back to a lovely Thanksgiving dinner, or a campfire, or a romantic evening. But do you fill your home with lovely fragrances?
I used to make homemade beauty products, and when I read through the books in the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle it reminded me of all the essential oils I still have in my storage room. So I have some lovely lavender and chamomile diffusing now.
Get some essential oils. Make some potpourri. Use lovely bath salts. Make some cookies! Fill your home with fragrance. It’s not being vain or wasting time on yourself; it’s allowing yourself to live life more fully–and more passionately.
5. Entice Your Sense of Taste
I’m addicted to Diet Pepsi. It’s a sad thing and I’m not proud of it. I know that aspartame will eventually rot my brain. I know the caffeine is part of what’s making me not sleep at night. Yet all too often I do nothing about it.
If I want to live life fully, though, do I really want to spend it tasting a fake soda pop? Or do I want to spend it tasting something wonderful that God made?
Here’s a little change I’m making: I’m going to start drinking teas at night. I want to train myself to crave different tastes, instead of the same old one. And then maybe I’ll start to enjoy more of life, instead of living by habit.
Katherine Stanley, Steeped: Simply Nourishing Teas and Treats, part of the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle
6. Entice Your Sense of Touch
Look at your hands. Are they chapped? Is your skin itchy? Is it dry and wrinkled?
I get horribly dry skin every winter, and I’m starting to feel it. The weather has turned up here in the Great White North, and the itchiness is beginning again.
I’m actually grateful for my itchy skin, because it has made it impossible for me NOT to use lovely creams on myself. If I don’t, I’m a hideous scratching mess. And so I have luxurious lotions that I put on every morning after my shower, and every evening before I go to bed. They feel lovely; they smell lovely.
Do you care for your skin? Do you let yourself feel pampered? It’s through our skin that we experience the world. Don’t treat it lightly. And little feels as relaxing as a good cream.
Do we spend so much energy trying NOT to eat that we forget that eating is actually a good thing? It’s not like our goal should be 0 calories a day; food is good for you–as long as you eat the right kind of food, at the right time.
I’m actually getting quite good at eating properly. We’re on a bit of a Real Food kick, and I’m trying to avoid that McDonald’s.
But while I make great dinners, there’s one meal I fail miserably at. Breakfast.
I’m always in a rush to get the day started, and cooking breakfast seems like too much work. Yet if we don’t start well, how do we expect to have a productive day when we experience life?
Why do we choose cop-out foods at breakfast time that don’t nourish us well? Here’s the real issue: more than any other meal or snacktime, we eat breakfast according to our habits. It’s the meal that we typically eat while half-asleep and in a rush, so we usually do it without thinking. That’s why it is absolutely critical to think about it ahead of time.
8. Make Love
Finally, how can we live a life of real passion and joy if we don’t give energy to our sexual side? We were created to be passionate. We were created to feel pleasure. And we were created to feel truly intimate with another person.
Do we deprive ourselves of the real joy that can come from the sexual side of marriage because we’re a little scared of losing control? Maybe it’s time we realized that passion can’t be tamed. It’s supposed to be a little out of control–because life is meant to be experienced and savoured, not just rushed through.
Sex is rather awkward. It’s messy. You’re all sweaty, and there’s stuff to clean up afterwards. And sometimes it just doesn’t seem, well, proper. And so it’s easy for all too many of us to think, “sex is something we have to do to make babies, but it’s really best not to dwell on it too much.” Women, especially, like feeling in control, clean, and organized. Sex doesn’t fit into that mold.
Maybe it’s time to throw out the mold. Sex is supposed to be a little messy. Sex is supposed to make you vulnerable, and a little out of control. It’s not supposed to be clinical!
Are you Experiencing Life?
If life feels too much like it’s happening to you, and not enough like you’re savouring it, make a change. You can’t do everything at once, but look at that list of 8 things, and ask yourself: where am I really denying myself?
- Time with God
- Enjoying Fragrance
- Enjoying Taste
- Enjoying Touch
- Enjoying Food
- Making Love
Live a big life! You may just find that by “turning on” one of those areas of your life, everything else seems a little bit brighter.
Now let me know in the comments: what one do you feel you need to emphasize more?
Don’t miss the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle Sale! 86 ebooks, just $29.97. Plus lots of bonuses! A 97% savings. But only until Saturday!