As I look back at the last year of my life I am amazed at how much we have been through. Don’t get me wrong, it has been a wonderful year, but it has also been very overwhelming at times and I sometimes struggle to remember I can only live one day at a time.
Last month I was particularly overwhelmed with several projects and this message of one day at a time hit me again. To me it is a spiritual message that God only asks me to live one day at a time, but it is also a theme used in simple living and minimalism that is referred to as living in the present.
No matter which direction you come across the idea…
… we can’t handle all the stress and pressure that fills up our weeks and months.
Here is some background on what brought me to this point.
Ever since we decided to live life intentionally life has been pretty exciting. Our move to China has been the biggest change, the most fun, and probably the most stress.
Moving here, about 4 months ago, marked a career change for both my husband and me, a total social change, an almost complete diet change, a language change, and all the other changes that come from trying to figure out where to buy things and how to bank and how to use the bus and …..
I wouldn’t say we have struggled much with ‘culture shock’. For the most part we really love it here and have most things figured out. But even though the stress has been good and fun, the body and mind still process it as stress. My health has struggled through all the change and I am still trying to get my energy back.
A few weeks ago we ended classes for the semester and life changed again. The homeschooling book I contracted in January hadn’t been touched since the beginning of January and we were in talks with two different charity locations we wanted to travel to and work with this summer. This left me doing an about-face from teaching everyday to full-time writing to get the book mostly done before we started traveling.
I am living my dream life
I am in China with my family. Both my husband and I are working part-time. We eat all our meals together at home and we both get a lot of time to spend with the kids. I love writing and even though the homeschooling book audience is small I love the idea of encouraging other families and the project is exciting to me. I love this blog and it has helped me so much over the past years learn and grow as I ramble out words. The charities we are working with this summer I am so excited about.
But, what it ended up being, was an exhausted and weak me looking at three weeks and 45,000 contracted words to write for the homeschooling book. Plus get ready for two months of traveling.
My gut reaction was that I just had too much ‘on my plate’ and I needed to back off and pull something out of my schedule. But with prayer and soul-searching I came back to ‘one day at a time’.
I realized I could do ‘one day at a time’.
One Day At a Time
I could set aside the hours I needed each day to write. I could make time each day to work on our travel plans. I could even spend some time each day working on language or exploring the city with my family. I could take the 3 week project one day at a time.
I feel like I need to keep re-learning this over and over again. Looking at big goals and projects quickly becomes almost paralyzing.
- I can’t simplify my life
- I can’t move to a foreign country
- I can’t find another job
- I can’t write a book
- I can’t get out of debt
- I can’t homeschool my children
- I can’t pick up a new skill or a new hobby
- I can’t get healthy
- _________________________ Fill in one you struggle with.
We see these huge tasks and somehow our mind piles them all into the present.
It is impossible to simplify a life in a day, to move a family to a foreign country over a weekend, to find another job at the drop of a hat, to write a book in an evening, to homeschool my children so they are ready for college in only one year, to pick up a new skill or hobby and be good at it immediately, or find a magic pill that guarantees health in 24 hours.
These are impossible goals in the present
… because they aren’t meant to be accomplished immediately. Even though we know ‘you can only climb a mountain one step at a time‘. It is easy to see many challenges in our life as something we need to take in only ‘one step’. It must just be a human brain thing we all struggle with – we have trouble with ‘one day at a time‘.
One Day at a Time
Sometimes life provides opportunities and challenges that are impossible to grasp in their entirety. They are too big, require too much work, and too much sacrifice. Looking at the full picture they are so overwhelming they are paralyzing.
But these could be some of the best opportunities in our life!
These are the opportunities that will stretch us, will help us grow, and will probably offer more to the world.
It is easy to fill our days with dishes, checking e-mail and doing other short tasks that are easy to complete, but these will not change us.
First, evaluate if you should be doing this opportunity. Is it something you feel led by God to do, does it fit with your purpose, is it something that will help you grow?
Then take it one day at a time.
Long ‘one day at a time’ story short, I wrote my 45,000 words in 15 days. Not every day was easy, but it was such a fun experience. The book isn’t done yet, but it is close enough to finish on the road this summer. It is set to release spring 2014 and I will fill you in on more details soon.
Photo Credit: Bryon Lippincott (he is so awesome)