|are you steering the wheel of your life?|
Do you ever feel like you are not the one in control of your life? Do you regularly find yourself running around from one task to another, never really accomplishing anything and definitely not managing to make anyone happy, most especially you? Truly, every believer knows who really is in control of our lives, but on a more earthly level, we all know that there is only one that can control how we respond to things that come our way - ourselves. I believe there are definite steps we all can take to gain control over aspects of our lives; taking command of the tedium of the everyday may just give us a little of that peace we are all looking for. In fact, I believe it so much, I'm going through this process presently, taking back control of my life after a long, too long, period of being dangerously out of control on so many fronts. And I'm here to tell you, it's a good thing.
10. De-Clutter Your Space
Keeping too much stuff is bondage. Let's all lighten your load by purging old junk. Get rid of anything that is broken or unusable (no matter how much you paid for it) and sort the rest into "Keep" and "Give to Charity" piles. Go through drawers, closets, old boxes and under your bed. You will be amazed how empowering this process can be. Kind of a physical manifestation of the psychological process of regaining control of a life out of balance. Make it a challenge to de-clutter one item from your home daily - come on, we all need to get clutter out of our lives.
9. An Honest Wardrobe
Alright, this is a real problem. Most of us have quite a bit of clothing, so much that it makes it not only difficult to choose what to wear, but to even put away all of our clothes in an orderly fashion simply because there is just too much. If you are like me, probably a good third of it doesn't even fit any longer. Or it is not something you will ever wear again (like that sparkly, flow-y blouse I bought for a wedding oh-so-long ago). Let's get real honest, and admit what looks good and what actually fits and get rid of the rest. Again, lighten your load. Get that garbage bag out, ladies and gentlemen, and fill 'er up for charity. Oh, and while you are out taking those things to the thrift store, stop by your local multi-department-discount store and pick yourself up some new underwear and socks to replace those in your unmentionables drawer that are waaaaay too old. That always makes me feel better...definitely more in control.
8. Command Over that Schedule
Have you ever looked at your over-full, double-booked schedule and saw that it is full of stuff for everyone else? Yeah, me too. First of all, let's all stop double booking ourselves and leave some space in between our appointments and obligations to be able to breathe, OK? If you already have something on the calendar for the time slot in question, simply say, "I'm sorry, I'm booked then...how 'bout next week?" Really, we can all do this. Get a calendar, either paper or electronic and let's get some control over the chaos of our daily tasks. Whether you are a routine person or not-so-much, everyone can benefit from checking the schedule daily to make sure things are not falling through the cracks (one of the sure signs of lack of control, by the way). And, if you are like me at all, you need to learn to say NO to probably a quarter of those commitments. Do you really have to go to WalMart for the third time this week for one item that the kids are insisting they need? Heck no. The time is now to say no, and promise yourself to do shopping once a week and start a list. Stick it on the fridge and let everyone know that if they need something, that's where they note it because the bus will be departing to their favorite Wally-World only on Thursdays, or whatever day you choose (emergencies notwithstanding). And, just as an aside, statistics show that Wednesday is the least shopped day of the week, so perhaps that should be your day...beat those crowds! You could be in total control of your cart and where you can push that wonderful piece of modern engineering (I hate pushing the cart...just sayin'). Further, with all that extra time you will be gaining by taking command of your schedule, you can do some of these other things I am suggesting - ha!
Next, are you attending functions to make others happy? That is a sure-fire way to give away your control, hands down. Before jumping to say yes, make sure you really want to do that particular event or function. A wise man once said that when you say Yes to one thing, you say No to another. True, so true. Let's all gain a little control and not be so busy, slammed all the time, OK? OK.
7. Organizing the Chaos
Now this is where I start meddling in your junk drawers, jewelry boxes and that place under your desk that no one can see. Or the closet you throw everything in when company is coming - aha! I caught you... Get in there and clean that out! Just do it. I promise you will find something you have been missing for a while, and you can definitely take the opportunity to do the keep-give away-toss technique from above. Be ruthless with yourself; if you haven't touched an item for over six months...OK, I'll give you a year 'cuz I'm nice...get rid of it! You probably didn't even remember you had it until you started digging around in the dust, anyway. Reclaim space, feel the freedom that comes from knowing there isn't something lurking in that dark corner of your living space where you are afraid to go. This includes filing cabinets, too. I'd bet you have instruction manuals and warranty information from pieces of household equipment you haven't actually owned for more than ten years. I think it's probably safe to toss it, don't you? Then, when you have reclaimed control of all of that space-stealing stuff, take the chance to organize what is useful to you. Make your filing system easy so you actually do it. Move stuff around in your space to make doing the things you do all the time more efficient and easy. You will be saving time and energy by making your life easier and cleaner, thus gaining control. You are in control of this stuff...don't let your disorganization control you!
6. A Respectful Home is a Peaceful Home
Gain control of your living environment and attitudes of those living in your home by encouraging and modeling respectful behavior towards each other. I don't really have to harp on this one, do I? I would absolutely suggest making your expectations known to all household members equally. Treating others the way you wish to be treated should be the standard and a no-brainer. Everyone is more pleasant to be around when they are respectful to all who live in the home. Don't create extra work for others (that means clean up after yourself), help each other out when possible (even if it isn't your job) and be nice. Manners matter, the bathroom is located down the hall if you have to do...that, and please don't chew with your mouth open. Please? This goes for all who live in the house, not just the teens. ~end of rant~
5. Sanity Breaks are Mandatory
Do you go for weeks and weeks without taking some time to yourself? I mean some substantial time, enough to unwind, not just an hour stolen here or there. Everyone needs a change of scenery and venue once in a while to just breathe and be your own person. We all get so caught up in our responsibilities, obligations and woulda-coulda-shoulda that we lose who we are. Grab back that control and take a break. Take a drive; put on those sunglasses, turn up that music, roll down the windows and sing at the top of your lungs (basically, pretend you are a teenager again). Go do something that makes you happy, or relaxed, or human. We grownups get so bogged down in have-tos that we start feeling resentful and bitter. Stop it. Take that much needed break and get some control back into your week. Hey, you could even schedule it on your newly laid out calender. If you have little kiddos, this one is especially for you. You will be a much better parent if you take regular breaks away from your young ones, it's a fact. Everyone needs a refreshing, especially if you have toddlers.
4. Control Your Part of Relationships
You cannot control others. Period. You may be able to for a while, but controlling others is, ultimately, disrespectful and rude. Now, I'm not talking about training your children, I'm talking about being manipulative and controlling of the actions and behaviors of others (yeah, I know that sounds like parenting, but you know what I mean). You only have control over YOU. Taking time away from your rightful job or role to make sure others are fulfilling their job or role by doing it the way you think is right, best, whatever, is definitely out of control behavior. Stop and get control over yourself. You do your job and it is their responsibility to do theirs. It is, however, absolutely under your area of responsibility to make sure that you are holding up your end of any bargains you have made. Vows? Be in control of yourself and take 'em seriously. Promises? Do your darnedest to keep your word. When you are fulfilling what you said you would do to the best of your ability, you don't have to be forever looking over your shoulder watching for someone to notice that you are not doing what you said you would do. Sheesh! That's a mouthful! And an out of control way to live. Just keeping your word will free up brain-power spent thinking about ways to get out of your commitments, giving you time to think of other things, profitable things, edifying things. Be in control of you by being a person of integrity. Your relationships will thank you.
3. Finally, the Finances
This is where you are expecting me to really start to muck around in your business, right? But, honestly, I have no right. I'm right there with all the rest that have out of control financial situations. Let's all agree that we spend too much on things we don't really need. I'm making peace with myself and doing everything I can to cut waste as much as possible. (Well, at least that will free up a little bit for the government to take with the next gas price hike, eh?) I'm taking control of this situation as much as I can by cutting out excessive spending and eliminating unnecessary expenditures. We all have them, don't we? There are financial professionals out there that can help the helpless gain control. Avail yourself, if necessary, and quit spending time laying awake at night worrying, having panic attacks and feeling out of control. Been there? Me, too.
2. Toxic Words
Let's just make a deal right now: no more allowing others to talk toxic words into our lives. Period. Nothing will make you feel more out of control than having others slandering and/or accusing you of misdeeds and lies. Whatever the reason, you don't have to listen to them and you don't have to accept them into your 'mental recording'. What? You've never heard of your 'mental recording'? Well, everyone has one, and it faithfully records everything that was said to you that makes an impression - good or bad. Unfortunately, the bad impressions, selfish opinions and mocking comments have a nasty way of sticking way harder in that recording than the most well-meaning, best intended compliments and loving truth. And that darned recorder starts playing those unwelcome comments just when we need all our confidence the most. Dang.
So, here's the deal - when toxic words hit your ears, refuse to take them in. Blast those words with positive affirmations, pray, ask a friend to help you...whatever it takes, but don't let those toxic words steal your self-confidence, self-esteem and control. Be sure of who you are, and if you are unsure, get yourself some self-help books that will speak some positive thoughts and actions into your life. Fill your time with the family, friends and acquaintances that will build you up rather than tear you down. This is a definite way to take back control of that 'mental recorder' and of your mental image of yourself. You don't have to listen to toxic words - they are damaging. Oh, and by the way, toxic words are not the ones that come from well-meaning friends who love you and see you heading in a dangerous direction, perhaps saying things you don't particularly want to hear. Those words are not toxic, they are loving and can be healing. Just wanted to make that clarification, in case you were confused. Toxic words hurt and are damaging long after they have left the mouth of the speaker, and always will be. Refuse them and take back control. And don't speak them into anyone else's life, either. But, of course we wouldn't even think to do that, right?
1. Get Right with G-d
Yeah. That's the bottom line, isn't it? That's why getting right with your Maker is the big number one. Admit your sin, ask for forgiveness and make things right with not only G-d, but anyone you have wronged, as well. Believe me, it is empowering to admit to our weaknesses and mistakes and come clean. Facing our self-righteous pride and asking for forgiveness is right and good and will cause others to respect us all the more. Let's simplify our lives and just decide right now to do the right thing - every time. We reap what we sow, so sow some goodness and light into your life. Get close with the Almighty; He is willing and able to help us all clean up our act. That is the absolute BEST way I can think of to get control of our lives, dear ones.
Now, I suggest taking hold of that steering wheel and driving in the right direction, shall we? Regaining control of our lives, even in little ways, will make a huge impact on our attitude and outlook on life. And while these changes may not give us as much control of our lives as we would like, or even solve any of our most pressing problems, it may make the difference we desperately need in a challenging marriage or damaged relationship. Confidence and a good attitude spreads, as good things do, to others around us in ways we can never even imagine. When we feel encouraged, we can encourage others. Let's do that...don't you think that's a good idea?
Yeah, I thought so.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Yeshua, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of G-d. ~Hebrews 12:1-2