I’d love to say that I have a strong work ethic that makes up for my weaknesses. I don’t. However, changes I made a few years ago are still paying off. People who entered my life recently think I’ve always been this driven and productive. Not a chance. I finally ran out of excuses that satisfied me. What I wanted to produce in my future became more important than what I wanted to do at a given moment.
Fast forward to today: I published two books in the last 12 months. I’m thrilled by that accomplishment, but one thing overshadows my joy: the nearly 20 years of second-guessing and procrastination. And now that I have 2 done, these babies need nurturing and exposure to different environments. They need to be introduced to people, and I pray that they travel the world. So, there’s more work to be done. Writing the last word on the final page is only the beginning.
Sound like a lot? It is…and many times I feel like I live halfway between where I started and where I want to be. That “address” is what compels me to keep trying different planners and to-do lists in hopes that I can become more consistent. But a part of my task to grow through life, rather than go through life, was to take time now and then to refresh.
How did I do it? First, when I’m not working on a book deadline or preparing for an event, I prioritize sleep. That’s been my best friend! Why? Because when I’m tired, I’m almost as irritable as when I’m hungry, and I’m more emotional than I need to be about nearly everything. When I’m exhausted, my relationships suffer, along with my health and even with more time, I’m not getting more done. I aim for 7 hours or more per night.
After learning how important my sleep was, next, I took on learning to refresh others. Proverbs 11:25 promises that if we refresh others, we’ll be refreshed. Like many other biblical concepts, this seemed opposite of the normal flow of things — an indicator that it’s right where I needed to be. Refreshing someone else can be as small as taking a break for a phone call or taking time out for dinner or a movie. For type A personalities, that’s harder than it sounds!
Lastly, I had to employ the a, b, c method. Note: these three principles were easier to identify than to walk out. Ponder them; bump them up against your own experiences and tweak them to what you think may work for you. Keep in mind, you didn’t develop your current habits overnight, so you’ll need to pace yourself to replace them. Using these steps positioned me for a refresh, which led to me becoming more fruitful:
“A” stands for AGAIN — Believe AGAIN. Try AGAIN. Maybe you’ve tried and failed more than once. Are you going to settle for that testimony? Or are you gonna pray again and see what new information God has for you? Prayer ensures that you come out of your own strength and lean into Him!
“B” stands for BREATHE — Allow HIM to breathe through you. God’s Spirit is described as “breath,” and for Him to breathe through you requires trust to let go of the reins, and intimacy to let him in.
“C” stands for COME — You must come boldly in prayer. It’s where you obtain mercy and find grace. It’s where He speaks back to you and reveals the results of the cuts between soul & spirit, joint & marrow, and thoughts & intentions found in Hebrews 4:12. Praying bold prayers lets him know you can handle bold marching orders!
In my learning to practice these three steps, I found that a + b + c = trust. My toughest task? B. When I think I’ve let go of the reins, I look down, and my fingers are gripping them!
How do you refresh others and see that you have the fuel you need to be productive? Be sure to share in the comments.