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!

The key to success – and anyone can do it

Yesterday I swung by Books-A-Million and picked up a couple of books!

Lately I’ve been reading/thinking about this idea, “The important stuff requires daily attention.” That’s my simple way of saying what lots of really smart people have been saying for a long time.

Anyhow, the book I picked up was Coach Wooden’s Greatest Secret (The Power of Little Things Done Well) by Pat Williams.

Pat Williams had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Coach Wooden (one of the all time best… if not THE best). He wrote several books about Wooden and his philosophy of life and leadership.

During one of his visits, Williams leaned across the table and asked, “Coach, if you could pinpoint just one secret of success in life, what would it be?”

After a few moments of thoughtful silence, Wooden responded… and his response is gold!

“The closest thing I can come to one secret of success is this: a lot of little things done well.”

That’s so right! Think about this…

  • Relational success = showing up every day and caring, communicating, forgiving, helping, etc. All small things… the cumulation of which lead to relational success!
  • Financial success = every day deciding to manage well your finances… spend less, save more… work a little more overtime… study your investments a little more thoroughly. All small things… the cumulation of which lead to financial success!
  • Physical success = showing up to the gym and working hard, saying “yes” to the right foods and “No” to all of the chocolate milk and Little Debbie’s. All small things… the cumulation of which lead to physical success!

Success in any of these areas is NEVER the result of deciding on Monday night and waking up on Tuesday morning… happily married, rich and ripped.

Nope.

It’s deciding on Monday night and then doing all of the little things required for success on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday… and even on the weekend!

What’s exciting here is that ANYONE can do the small things! Anyone!

Here’s some small things you might want to consider:

  • Every day – create a plan for the day
  • Every day – take time to read
  • Every day – take time to exercise
  • Every day – give a hug
  • Every day – pray
  • Every day – make financial decisions that align with your budget (You’ve got one of those, right?)sucess

Do these things well and consistently and watch how your life begins to move up and to the right!

So, what do you think?

Are there other “little things” that you pay attention to that help you as you move towards and experience success?

 

 

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”?

What a husband who just lost his wife told me today…

This is Kelvin and Mary…

mary

Mary died last Thursday.

This morning I ate breakfast with Kelvin.

We talked mostly about Mary.

Kelvin told me something that I need to tell you. He told me that I could.

“Don’t fight over the little things.” That’s what Kelvin said.

So she forgot to pay a bill. Don’t fight over it.

So he left his shoes in the hallway. Don’t fight about it.

Kelvin and Mary didn’t fight. Seriously, they didn’t.

Looking back he says that even the small moments of tension they had weren’t worth getting stressed out over.

What matters is love. Memories. Working together. Building something together.

Sometimes we fight over the little things… assuming that she/he will be there later on to clear things up.

She may not be.

Kelvin encouraged me to tell you to live with grace. Kindness. Patience. Love. Live today like she might be gone tomorrow.

That’s what Kelvin said.

Stop “playing small”

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” Steven Pressfield

Oh my! How liberating those two sentences are! It’s okay to be good! It’s okay to be REAL good! It’s okay to be the best! No need for shame. No need to be embarrassed. It’s okay to do well.

Of course the best are even better served when they are the best AND humble… but still… it’s okay to be good!

Don’t let the lowest common denominator in your circle of peers set your standard. Don’t let broke people determine how you feel about your savings plan; obese people determine how you feel about your diet; unhappy couples determine how you feel about your marriage; etc.

Don’t be arrogant… but for crying out loud, don’t be shy! Don’t slink away. Don’t be small on purpose!

Stop regretting and apologizing for what you have developed through hard work. Do what you do with pride, determination, and purpose and you might even find that your colleagues soon come along!

Intensity

What if we brought the same level of intensity to meaningful things (e.g. spiritual, physical) as we do to meaningless things (TV shows, games)?

What would happen if you were as determined to go to the gym as you are to see your favorite TV show?

What would happen if you were as determined to be debt free as you are determined to get to the next level of that video game?

What would happen if you committed as much time to your spouse as you do to your facebook page?

Seriously… how different would your life be if you took the intensity you have for meaningless things and moved it over to meaningful things?

 

2 meetings that will save your marriage

healthy husband wife relationshipRecently some friends of ours got a divorce.

“The Ladies” (i.e. our girls) were asking why. As I began to think through the dynamics that led to this divorce, and most divorces, I came to this conclusion… I think most, if not all, marriage problems could be addressed and resolved through two weekly meetings.

Ready?

Weekly date night and weekly coin and calendar meeting.

Yep. It’s really that simple!

During date night you focus on one another. Laugh. Discuss. Plan. Make love. Dream. Trouble shoot. and a host of other things that you do not do during the rush of “real life.” A simple commitment to a weekly date night would fix most problems that marriages face. I know because I’ve been married for 15 years and like you we’ve had our share of hard & mean times (for instance, this time).

During Coin and Calendar meeting you sit down and review your spending plan (aka “Budget”) and look over your calendar. It’s during this time that we have our most “passionate” conversations! Seriously, time and money, if you aren’t on the same page on those two topics… you’re marriage is going to suck wind… and die. Sherri and I are both strong personalities, so when we are in disagreement on these matters… it’s a little tense! BUT when we sit down and work together… ahhhhh… then it’s like drinking smooth wine and eating rich chocolate!

Date Night and Coin & Calendar. These two meetings are on my weekly calendar as actual meetings. It is rare that I miss these meetings. I honor them like I would any other meeting. I prepare for them and look forward to them knowing that they will make me, Sherri, our marriage, and our home better.

Two meetings that will save your marriage. So, what do you think? Do you have these meetings? What are you doing to help your marriage?