Stop worrying about your clothes

nothing-to-wearRight now I’m really busy.

This weekend I will officiate at a wedding, preach a sermon, and then carry out my pastoral duties at a funeral… the funeral of a friend.

This busy weekend comes right in the middle of a teaching series I am doing at church called, “Making Space.”

As I am preparing to teach this weekend, I am reflecting on some words spoken by Jesus. These words are incredibly appropriate for every busy person… especially people who are driven and slightly distracted!

I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:25-34 NLT)

This is certainly not a call to forgo planning, hard work, or physical well-being. What it is is a call to STOP making secondary things the primary pursuit of your life.

I’ve realized this: when you pursue the primary things, you get the secondary things thrown in. BUT when you pursue the secondary things first you may never get the primary things.

Looking back over my life, I see that I have often allowed busyness to distract me from the primary things (God, relationships, physical well-being, emotional vitality, etc.)… and the result is rarely good.

The times in my life of which I am most proud are the times when I have kept the primary things in focus and enjoyed, subsequently, the secondary things.

So as I work through this busy season in my life, I encourage you to join me in processing what takes up space in your mind:

  • Is it clothes or close friends?
  • Is it paper or people?
  • Is it your job or your God?
  • Is it primary or secondary?

Give it some thought… and then take some time to make necessary adjustments. You’ll not regret it!

How to clean a guinea pig

guinea pigIn our home we have three guinea pigs (in addition to an English Mastiff, a bearded dragon, a bunch of fish, and almost as many kids).

Guinea pigs make great pets… especially if you have a lot of kids who all want a pet! They are small, fairly clean, and relatively low maintenance. They are also safe for children.

Our kids can only have a pet once they establish that they are responsible enough to care for it. Sherri and I have our hands full with the care and feeding of people… we don’t need the responsibility of another mouth… even if it is an animal. 😉

Having said that, we do check in occasionally to see that the animals are neither dead nor living in squalor.

This morning I had a conversation with one of our daughters (she shall rename anonymous) that went like this:

Her: do you know how I clean my guinea pig when I run out of shampoo?

Me: No bud. How?

Her: I lick her.

Me: You what?!

Her: I lick her. That’s how she cleans herself so I thought I could do it too.

Me: You lick her?

Her: Yes!

Me: Go tell your mom!

And there you have it. One more way to clean your guinea pig… and save money in your budget ’cause you don’t need to buy shampoo!

 

How to “fit things in”

A couple of weeks ago I was talking with a friend who is trying to figure out “How to fit it all in.”

That’s something I’m fairly conversant with… fitting things in. Sherri (aka “The lovely and talented Mrs. Peterson) and I have this conversation regularly, and overall, we do a decent job of it.

Here’s the thing about “fitting things in”…

Just about the time you fit everything in… something changes shape! For instance…

  • You get the kids school schedule figured out… then it’s summer time!
  • You get the work schedule figured out… then you decide you want to lose weight… so where do you add gym time?
  • You get your grocery shopping day nailed down… and then you get the schedule for your kid’s soccer games and they’re scheduled… right during your shopping time!

AHHHHHH!!!

I’ve joked in the past that just about the time I figure out how to be a perfect parent, my kids have a birthday… and everything changes! And that’s a lot how life is… just about the time you get everything fit in… something changes!

So, what’s a decent way to fit things in?

Let me give you three ideas and then one practical tool that will help manage these ideas.

Idea #1 – Minimize

Let’s be honest here… most of us do a better job of adding than subtracting.

We add hours at work, gym time, hobby time, sport schedules, etc. but never figure out what they are going to replace! Typically what they replace are the most important things (e.g. church, gym, dates with spouse/kids).

I encourage you to do this… when you must add something, figure out what you will subtract! After all, you can’t fit everything in if you don’t take something out!

Idea #2 – Prioritize

Here’s an important question, “If everything had to be done at the same time what would I NOT do?”

For instance, if a soccer game and a doctor’s appointment were scheduled at the same time, which one would NOT show up at? The the soccer game of course (unless you are a terrible parent… yes, I’m judging you.) 😉

Seriously, there are some things you MUST do to live a healthy life (e.g. grocery shop, work on your budget, go to church, work out, go to work, sleep, etc.).

To begin prioritizing, sit down and put these non-negotiables on the calendar, what time is left is for those “other” things… discretionary things..

On my family budget, under expenses I have two categories: non-discretionary and discretionary. Non-discretionary includes things like: mortgage, electric, etc.Discretionary includes things like haircuts, etc. If I have to choose between getting a haircut and paying my electric… I’m going electric.

So, figure out what the non-negotiable/non-discretionary things in your life are… put them on the calendar… and then fit the other things around them. To get you started, a few non-discretionaries for me include: gym, meals, church, family time, sleep, study, etc.

And the third idea for “fitting things in”… if it is possible…

Idea #3 – Delegate

Some things in your life that must be done can be done by someone else! For instance lawn care, auto repair, meal prep, etc.

Obviously there are some that simply cannot (e.g. relationships, worship, exercise, learning, etc.), but the ones that can… GIVE THEM AWAY!

Now…

The tool

Something that has helped Sherri and me stay on top of an ever evolving schedule is our weekly “Coin and Calendar” meeting.

During this meeting we review our budget, look ahead at calendar items, plan for upcoming expenses and events, and make sure we are on the same page.

Now, because I am part of this system, it is not perfect! We miss the road from time to time… but believe me… in a family with six kids, multiple income streams, and more commitments than you can imagine, if we DIDN’T have the meeting we’d crash and burn!

During this meeting we constantly look for ways to minimize, prioritize, and delegate, and we look at how we are going to fund those priorities!

This plan works!

I know life is busy! I know most people feel overwhelmed! I also know it’s possible to find some space to breath deeply and enjoy who and what is around you!

A couple of resources I’d encourage you to pick up as you navigate this journey include:

My prayer for you, and me, is that we will be persistent in finding and fitting in to our lives the best things!

I’d love to hear from you… what have you found most helpful as you seek to “fit things in”?

Four agreements for every family

Right now at Church180 we are in a teaching series called “Ideal Family.”

This teaching series is based on the wisdom of St. Paul in Ephesians 4:17-5:21.

Today we discussed the four agreements every family would be wise to make with one another!

Agreement #1: I will not go to bed angry. I will speak encouraging words before I go to bed.

Agreement #2: I will not make or accept excuses. I will accept responsibility for myself and my home.

Agreement #3: I will not make decisions thoughtlessly. I will seek wisdom through prayer and other means.

Agreement #4: I will not allow myself to be under the control of anything that impairs my judgment. I will allow God to control my life.

We also mentioned, as does St. Paul, that the husband, man, father, is responsible for hitting the “start” button.

These agreements will take your family to the next level and help you create the “ideal family”!

How to enjoy “yes”

yes-no-buttonsOne of the things I’ve been thinking about recently is the importance and timing of these two little giant words: “yes” and “no.”

I’m coming to realize this… you will enjoy your “yes” so much more if you are free and willing to say “no” more frequently.

For instance:

  • I can say “yes” and enjoy paying cash for Christmas if I say “no” to impulse spending through the year.
  • I can say “yes” and enjoy a strong and healthy body if I say “no” to impulse snacking.
  • I can say “yes” and enjoy a healthy and fun relationship with my bride if I say “no” to opportunities which present themselves during our scheduled date night.
  • I can say “yes” to a strong mind if I am willing to say “no” to thoughtless entertainment more often.
  • I can say “yes” to a dynamic relationship with my children if I am willing to say “no” to all of the distractions that regularly present themselves during family time (e.g. texts, e-mails, etc.)
  • and the list goes on…

Saying “no” can be difficult… especially if you don’t have a clear goal. If you have a clear goal though “no” becomes easier.

I want to say “YES” and enjoy it… but I know that before that can happen I’m going to have to say “NO” quite frequently.

So how about you? How are you at saying “No”? What insight can you share about the power of this word?