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I am learning everything, and I actually mean EVERYTHING takes intentional actions if you want it to be its best.  Nothing happens organically without work.  Nothing.  Marriage, relationship with the Lord, parenting, health, career, friendships, family relationships, education, goals... all of it requires work.  Not all work is hard, but all work requires us to be present.  All of it.  No exceptions.  

I constantly feel tired lately.  I also, finally, feel full of life.   Like I am working towards a healthier life overall - spiritually, emotionally, relationally and physically.  I feel present and capable and really freed up to spend time how I would like to.  I sleep hard and am finally able to really be present.  I am sure that many people wonder how, and unfortunately I don't have a 10 step program, but I can say that the biggest thing that has changed is I tried to eliminate distraction wherever I see it.  To be honest, I am not completely dominating this, but I am WORKING at it.  And honestly, that's a huge part of the battle.  Here are a couple distractions I have found hardest and most rewarding to tackle:

2. Stop turning on TV as "background noise"

Ok, let me stop right here and say that both of these are a BLACK HOLE.  Guys.  Turn it off and stop scrolling.  I cannot stress this enough.  Want to have a family movie night? Fine!  Want to post a picture to Instagram? Do it!  But please, don't scroll through every 5 minutes.  Don't turn on the tv just to have noise in the house.  Please learn to be present in silence.  Talk to each other.  It will sincerely make everything better.

You know what I notice about our society?  That we are losing the ability to talk to each other because everything is done through devices.  Fight that urge.  Do not reach for your phone even if everyone else does.  Talk to each other and say nice things.  Don't just comment them on each others pictures.  

3. Keep your wardrobe minimal

If you spend tons of time getting dressed and accessorizing and can't focus unless you have everything about you appearance perfect, give it up!  Now I know some people may think that is easier said than done, but the goal here is to feel freedom, and I think this is an important part.  I am not saying don't shower.  I am not saying don't care about your appearance.  I am saying stop concentrating so much on your appearance you miss what is going on around you.

4. Keep your routine simple and nourishing

Simplifying your routine to include what you value is so important.  I have heard so many people tell me lately they don't have time for a healthy breakfast or for reading devotions, but I am constantly reminded if it is actually important, they will find time.  Make a list of what you value and what habits you could work on to encourage those values in your day to day life.  Maybe rather than listening to the top 40 radio you listen to a podcast, sermon or book on tape.  Maybe instead of sleeping in you wake up to spend time in the Bible or gently stretch your body.  Again, if you value it, you will make time.

Wow, I didn't know I had so much to say on this subject, and I feel like I am just getting started... maybe I will re-visit this, maybe not.  All I know is that we each have things that distract us from what is important.  As I work to identify mine I am realizing how long I have been held prisoner to them.  I urge you to figure out what your things are and do your best to move away from them.  

Be present.


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