Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Get Your Life Together! Make Your Bed!

The other day I was in a cleaning mood.  Does that ever happen to you?  Sometimes—and this does not happen often, just to clarify—I just want to clean everything…some cleaning fiend takes over my body and before I know it, I’ve scrubbed my whole bathroom, cleaned my room, taken out the trash, done three loads of laundry, and gone through my giant pile of old mail.  It’s awesome.  The last time this happened, I actually made my bed, too.  And I liked it so much, I made it again the next day, and the next. 

Confession:  I never make my bed.  Like, ever.  What’s the point, right?  But I've been making my bed for about a week now, and I love coming home to a neat little made-up bed so much that I can’t wait to make it every morning knowing how satisfied it makes me.  I feel like I have my life a little bit more together.  This sounds ridiculous, right?  Well, I actually looked this up to see if the habit of making one’s bed was correlated to happiness or something—some sort of psychological phenomenon—and what do you know, it is!

According to one study, making your bed every day can help you be a more productive person; it even suggests that it can make you a happier person!  Making your bed is known as a keystone habit, a habit that promotes other good habits, like flossing, sticking to a budget, etc.

After a few days of making my bed, I can tell you I’ve been a smidge more productive (and have therefore had some more free time), kept my room neat, and been more organized.  Plus, my room feels more comfortable and relaxing at the end of the day.  All of those things make me happy…so yeah, maybe I am happier now that I make my bed!

Make your bed and see what positive habits it cultivates!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Read and Lead

In a class during grad school, I was assigned to read parts of the book Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Chambers.  It’s a compact book about biblical principles of leadership that challenges, inspires, and encourages.  Because the content was originally a series of lectures, the book retained the feel of the spoken word, which I really liked.

One of my favorite sections of the book was Chapter 13—“The Leader and Reading.”  At the church where I work, serve, and worship, we place a high value on learning because we are taught that “all leaders are learners” and that effective leadership flows from a well-rounded, full life.  It’s important for leaders to stay fresh and be knowledgeable about the world in which they live, and one of the easiest ways to do that is by developing the habit of reading.
As a bibliophile, I was drawn to this chapter for deeper insight on how spiritual leadership and reading are connected.  Many of us claim to have no time for reading, but if one works 40 hours a week and sleeps 8 hours a night, that leaves 72 hours a week of “free” time!  Yet, less than 10% of the population reads regularly.  The leader who desires to grow spiritually and intellectually will devote time to reading.  John Wesley was a passionate reader, mostly devouring books propped in the pommel of his saddle as he rode horseback up to ninety miles a day!
The chapter encouraged the reader to read books, but to choose books that “spark our impulse to service and lead us to God.”  Books should also be read for intellectual growth, to cultivate one’s preaching and writing style, and to acquire new information.  Leaders should choose reading material that will “feed the soul and stimulate the mind.”  I appreciated that the importance of reading was recognized, but I think the value of fiction and literature was diminished by barely mentioning those genres and implying that more scholarly works are the ones that “lead us to God,” like historical works, biographies, and science.  The point is to choose books and materials wisely and for their spiritual benefit, but I believe that I have found books to be spiritually beneficial that are not overtly Christian or didactic.  Still, the chapter encouraged me to continue my pursuit to be an active reader while challenging my book choices.  I have decided to alternate reading my beloved fiction novels with other kinds of books.
Reading 30 minutes every day is the equivalent of reading a book a week, four books a month, about 50 books a year, and 500 books in 10 years.  If you were to read 500 books over the next 10 years, in a world where the average person reads less than a book a year, don’t you think it could give you a decisive advantage as you lead others?
It is easy to see why Spiritual Leadership is considered a classic study of the biblical principles of godly leadership.  God has given every Christian gifts and talents that fit the mission to which they were called, and what distinguishes a great leader is the degree to which they develop those gifts.  I found this book to be not only useful as I continue developing as a leader, but inspiring as well.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Blog is Back in Town

So it’s been over a year since I last blogged.  That's embarrassing.  And although I hate blogspot and don’t know how to format anything and feel so totally unhip with this outdated blog, I really miss it!  Writing and blogging allow me to do so much—reflect on what I’m learning, document my life, challenge my writing skills, and encourage my transparency.  And to just be my funny and charming self, of course.

I could try to update you on my life since I last blogged in several posts, but that would be too hard.  Instead, I’ll just tell you in a few sentences—I turned 30, got engaged, was laid off, got my Master’s degree, have an awesome new job, and am planning our wedding.  It’s been one of the hardest years of my life, with some of the most exciting and most wonderful things sprinkled in.  Aside from those major life-changing events, not much else happened :)
Now that we’re up to speed…just know, I’m back in blogging action.