As I have said before, the last two months of 2009 were chaotic for Jana and me. One of the many things I learned from that time period was the need to continue to refine and simplify my life. I started this process last year, but in the past few weeks I’ve expedited the process more.

This process of simplifying has also been spurred on by filling out a Personal Growth Plan for 2010. This was something Lead Pastor Mark encouraged the staff to do. He also shared about it during the message on January 3 at Christ Community Church.

The last time I took one of the Strengths Finder tests, two of my five strengths were Learner and Intellection. (Learner was actually at the top.) As I realized last year, I can’t keep up with everything I wanted to. The past few weeks I’ve been applying this to social media and identifying what I am actively following. I had been subscribed to roughly 200 blogs, but I’ve cut that down to under 100. (And, I’m still cutting.) Perhaps it was foolhardy that I tried to keep up with reading the latest posts on all those blogs. I like learning, I like knowing what’s going on, and I like to know how it all applies to my life and work. However, it became apparent that a handful of blogs I subscribed to were the ones providing the best and most relevant posts. Many other blogs provided a good post every once in awhile, but for the most part they were just clutter I had to sort through on a daily basis.

Another thing is identifying what is important and making sure time is dedicated to it. Sounds simple enough, but then events come up in life and you have to react sometimes to them. It’s easy to be in a constant state of reaction to life’s upheavals.  Jana and I definitely felt that late last year. Lately, we’ve both been proactive in making sure we set aside time for things that are a priority. Reading, writing, praying, doing devotionals and other things.

The common argument against this is, “Well, my schedule is too busy.” Two responses. First, if you set aside time for these things you want to do, like a devotional, you find out what is important in your daily routine. It’s easy to waste time throughout the day, like reading blogs that just add clutter and noise. (I would know.) Soon you realize that you don’t miss those things that you thought you might. Would I like to watch other tv shows? Yes, but I don’t have the time or wherewithal to schedule in time to watch any shows other than Lost and The Office.

It’s a lot like a theory of fiscal conservatism. (Theory since this seems to have NEVER happened in reality.) When you cut taxes, one of the effects is a cut in spending. You have less money to spend, so you refine and prioritize what you do spend. The waste gets cut. (And, as we know, government cuts taxes and spends more. But, it’s a nice theory.)

The second response? If you want to do something, but aren’t willing to make changes to do it, then how badly do you really want to do it?

So, after seemingly being blown about the latter part of 2009, Jana and I have been proactive in setting the agenda and schedule for our family and ourselves. We tethered ourselves to what is important in a macro and micro sense. We have more time for what we want and need, and are less reactionary to the interruptions that come our way. Sure, something major may come up again that would interrupt our lives, but I think we’ve learned from last fall how to better respond to those life interrupting events.

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