Saturday, December 21, 2013

Know what you want

I had a big "aha" moment several months ago that has had tremendous influence on the way I live my life. I was in the middle of some personal stress and quite honestly had a lot of unhealthy things affecting my thinking. In the midst of all of that I came to the realization (my "aha") that it is SO SO SO important to simply know what you want. 
Knowing what you want shapes your choices and decisions.
Knowing what you want motivates you to action.
Knowing what you want feels decisive and intentional.
Knowing what you want can move you in a forward direction when otherwise it might be tempting to just stay in the midst of muck.

As I've thought about this, I've been able to identify some areas of my life where I needed to figure out what I wanted. My top five:

1. Know what I want from my relationships. Faith. Family. Friends.
2. Know what I want to invest myself in. People. Ministry. Work.
3. Know what I want to accomplish. Goals. Dreams. 
4. Know what I want my home to be. A place of peace. Order. Love. Laughter. Forgiveness.
5. Know what I want my free time to be filled with. Rest. Relationships. Fun. 

Knowing what you want gives you a framework and a set of boundaries to work within. Recently a friend invited me to do something that really didn't appeal to me. Because I knew what I wanted, I didn't have to revert to my normal behavior of over-thinking it and over-analyzing the choice/consequences of saying yes or no. I simply responded with a polite "No, that doesn't really sound like something I can do". It was so very freeing. 

I think for me, the "knowing what you want" is often preceded by knowing what you don't want.

Some examples…
I don't want negativity in my relationships.
I don't want to leave Colorado unexplored.
I don't want my stress to become my family's stress. Hence, my job change this year.
I don't want my free time or my family's free time to be chock-full of activity.
I don't want my life to be defined by "shoulds".
I don't want to be consumed with unimportant things.
And the list could go on and on and on...

It sounds so simple, really, and maybe it took me a really long time to get to that "aha" place but as I've continued to think about this, asking myself "What do I want?" no matter how big or how small the decision is slowing becoming a habit for me. Sometimes my answers come easily. Other times my answers are surprising. And sometimes it takes me a while to figure out what I want and if it lines up with what God wants for me as well.

The year 2013 is drawing to a close and I've been turning over the question "What do I want" in my mind for the year ahead. I've got some ideas….
What about you?


Deidre said...

I really needed to read this. I felt compelled this morning to sit down and make a list of things I DON'T want to do/be around. I feel like the life is being sucked out of me by situations and people. I don't even know how to explain it. I'm at a crossroads with church, friendships, family, etc. and ready to see something different happen. But, that would require tough decisions. Ugh!

Rachel said...

Such a great post! I feel like I've been living in survival mode this fall and asking the "what do I want" question could have changed that scene so much. Good thoughts to ponder as the new year approaches. Merry Christmas!