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Why Don’t We Do What We Think Is Meaningful?

800px-chinese_american_woman_and_child1.jpgOn days like today when the winter snow washes the earth in a dim monochrome, I tend to get really reflective.  Today I was thinking about what I actually do with my time, and what I would actually like to do with my time.  We only get to walk the earth for a few short breaths.  I wonder how I am spending mine.

If I could do anything with my life, I would want to help people develop a sense of the presence of God in their lives.  I would want to do that with art, though that would not have to be the only way.  My art is only a little part of my life anyway.  My wife and kids will certainly not care if I was a great artist as much as if I was a caring person who showed them my love as they needed it.  I need to keep that kind of perspective.  I think it is a humble way to think.

On the wall of my office, taped to the heater, is a handwritten note that I wrote once when I was in therapy.  It is a reminder to myself.  It reads:

Doing one thing well is enough.

Doing one thing well is honoring to God.

So often I try to be so many things to so many people.  I try to be a great therapist, a great artist, a leader, a musician at church … and I run myself ragged doing so many things.  In trying so many ways to accomplish my goal of helping people experience God in their life I end up filling all of my time and running up my stress level that I rarely take the kind of time I need to spend time with God myself.

So I am trying to work on that.

I know that the two things I totally lack in my life are regular time spent with God and exercise.  I have gained 35 pounds in the past two years, partly because of anti-depressants that I started taking, but also partly becuse I eat when I get anxous and I am anxious often.  My social work job is very intense, and my family life is also packed with expectations.  My baseline anxiety level is probably pretty high. 

So, recently I started Weight Watchers and so far have lost 8 pounds.  I am happy with this.  I also received a TNIV Bible as an early Christmas present and started reading it again.  I love how the font of the letters pairs so nicely with the language choices of this new translation.  I am just starting to go back to being who I want to be.  I wonder if I will ever get there. 

The one thing I love about winter, which is just starting, is that after these two weeks of busy time, is around 80 days of brooding, overcast, cloudly days that make you want to snuggle up under a blanket with a book, a cup of coffee, and a fire in the fireplace.  It is a good time to reflect on life.  I hope that I get a chance to actually live mine the way I want instead of passivly being a passenger on the road of life.