I recently read “A Slob Comes Clean,” wherein author and blogger Dana White makes the excellent point that a system is only as strong or effective as its enforcer. What I need is a maintainable system. As an obsessed organizer and list maker, I have developed more systems in my life than I can count. The problem is, I’m not always the best at enforcing them (getting myself to stick to them).
Even here on Read Cook Devour you have probably read about several worksheets or systems that I have come up with. I created a weekly meal plan and activity chart to minimize decision fatigue when it comes to my role as a mom. I created a scripture printable with ten prayers I can use to begin my quiet time. I’ve talked about my meal planning method. I’ve talked about finding ways to serve your community with kids. All of those are great, and many of those I still reference and utilize, but reality is, many have also fallen by the wayside. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up, but, sometimes in my enthusiasm for holy living, my lofty goals don’t translate to everyday living. Practical solutions, achievable goals, and maintainable intentionality is what is actually going to transform my day-to-day.
My desire is that each day I would live purposefully, with my heart set on God’s kingdom.
Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God.
I will never do this perfectly, but I sure as heck want to try. In an effort to do this practically in my life, and in a way that I can maintain, I created a daily worksheet or “to-do list.” This isn’t quite like a typical to-do list though.
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Taking a few minutes each morning (or the evening before) to think about these goals has really helped me use my time better. I actually printed this and had it laminated at Office Depot for $2. I ordered some fine-tip, black dry erase markers, and now I can use the same sheet every day! I’m all for reducing my paper usage.
These questions have prompted me to be intentional. Some ideas to get you started:
“Today I can cultivate quiet by saying no to ________” (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, text messages, phone calls, podcasts, music, the radio, tv)
“Today I can spend some time in prayer while I _______” (Drive, do dishes, drink my coffee, shower, fold laundry)
“A simple action I can take to show my husband love today is to ___________” (text him, call him, pray for him, leave him a note, pack his lunch, create a welcoming quiet space when he returns home)
“I can invest 10 minutes in my physical health today and workout my ______” (arms, legs, butt, core, heart [cardio], abs)
“My children would enjoy it if I _________ with them for 15 minutes of quality time” (read, play [legos, barbies, etc], go outside, craft, sing, cook)
I use this section to write down a take-away from my quiet time, or a quote that encourages or challenges me.
Truth be told, I don’t even accomplish all of these goals each day, but putting them in front of me makes me far more likely to do so. The “Bonus” is to consider how I can serve someone else with my time or resources. Reality is that as a Christian I am called to do this, not as a bonus, but as part of what it is to be a follower of Jesus. Many times those opportunities come knocking when we don’t expect or ask for them, and that is good too. I placed that bonus there as a reminder to myself to go out of my way and seek these opportunities whenever possible. Peter reminds us to be resolved to suffer (or live sacrificially) as Christ did:
Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, equip yourselves also with the same resolve—because the one who suffered in the flesh has finished with sin—in order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will.
1 Peter 4:1-2
If you are reluctant about the idea of embracing suffering to do good (I sure am), take time to read all four chapters of 1 Peter. Suffering with joy is a major theme. It challenges me greatly and makes me squirm, but I think that’s a good thing.
I hope this Purposeful Living Worksheet helps you zero-in on what’s important each day.