Last week I declared an anthem over my summer; birthed from Psalm 27:4, my summer intention is to change my focus from striving for my goals to seeking the Lord's goodness and His beauty right in front of me. Making adjustments in my perspective and my habits has been a bit challenging, but I am already seeing the fruit.
Today I want to share 5 ways I am striving less. After sharing my anthem, I recognized that I am not alone in this struggle; so my hope is that by sharing 5 ways I'm striving less, you might be inspired in your own efforts.
- Reading more – I love reading a ton in summer, so this one isn’t too difficult to set in motion, but I’m looking at it more intentionally. I want to immerse myself in words, whether it be a beachy fiction read or a spiritual memoir, so that I might better learn my craft. Taking the time to nestle my nose in a book is not just a nice mental break from my own plans/writing goals, but it’s a way to embrace different styles of writing, to appreciate writers gone before me and hopefully add to my toolbox.
- Less Instagram – What I really mean by less Instagram is more like less Instagram pressure. I love Insta; it’s my preferred method of social media, the following I am intentionally building, and it has become a wealth of community with fellow writers. But, I have given it a bit too much power. Trying to build a following, I was starting to feel wed to Instagram. If I didn’t get a post out in time, I’d panic and stop whatever I was doing to make it happen. That needed to stop – It was time to reevaluate my relationship with Instagram; I’m praising it for the blessing it is, but also taking away a bit of it’s power. If I don’t post in a few days, IT WILL BE OKAY. My success as a writer isn’t going to whither based on losing a follower or two. Instead of panicked, must-post-or-else pressure, I am going to post with intentionality and be okay with natural breaks that come from enjoying the life outside of my iPhone.
- Reassessing my goals- My heart’s desire is to write a book. I set a goal in 2017 to do the work, to write the words, to set the ball in motion. And ever since, I have been striving to make that happen. I’ve been thinking, dreaming, planning, writing blog posts, but every time I sit down to work on words for my book, I screech to a halt. Instead of forcing myself through, I’m reassessing my goals and asking the Lord if His timetable is different. Taking a step back from book writing has brought a bit more freedom into my writing again; I’m working on submissions, and allowing myself the flexibility to write as I feel driven. Goals can be motivating but they can also be restricting. If a goal is causing more stress than it is excitement/motivation, I think it’s time to revise.
- Listening to my body – When I am in striving mode, it’s like running on a treadmill with no off-switch. If my body feels tired, I give it no choice but to keep chugging. Ain’t nobody got time for rest! But the thing is, I do have time for rest. No one is holding a gun to my head demanding production, that’s just me and my self-imposed expectations. Learning to break this habit, and listen to my body is an irreplaceable value that I am constantly reminding myself to respect. If I take a nap, it’s not a sign of weakness and I can guarantee it’s not going to keep me from reaching my goals; in fact, a rested body and a refreshed mind might be exactly what’s needed to press on.
- Getting into scripture more – this one may be number 5 on my list, but it’s definitely the most important. My summer anthem isn’t just about striving less, it’s about seeking the Lord more – if I want to get to know Him more and learn how to better hear His voice in the craziness of this world then I need to utilize the tool that He has given me. It still blows my mind to think that the words in the Bible are God-breathed; He spoke them, He inspired the authors to write them down. Reading the Bible is a privilege that I most definitely take for granted.
Have a sure-fire method you're using to strive less? I'd love to hear about it! Let's do this together friends.
“One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” – Psalm 27:4
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