We all get stuck, don’t we? We all develop habits that may or may not be “bad” but that definitely keep us from experiencing our best life. I’m not sure what it is about human nature, but there can be something you ABSOLUTELY know you need to change and it will take you 100 different tries and a million dollars to do it, if you ever do. Amen? I mean, sometimes I really wonder about my intelligence.

Then there are also things that you have no idea you need to change, but when you do, you realize you should have done it a LONG time ago.

This blog started in March of 2013, as a challenge to me on my 40th birthday, not as a running and nutrition blog, but as a faith blog. My goal was, and still is, to challenge myself to live outside of my comfort zone, to live like a follower of Jesus. I knew I needed to change. I wasn’t exactly sure how to do it, but I knew I needed to live out my faith.

If you haven’t read the original post, it goes into a lot more detail.

The Comfort Zone

getting-out-of-your-comfort-zone11

The main idea is that I challenged myself to try 40 different things in 40 days in an effort to deepen my faith or carry out some biblical principle, to get unstuck.

While everything I tried made a remarkable impact, I thought I would share 4 choices I made that have truly changed my life for the better. As I reflect on the past year and a half, one of the things that I think is remarkable is how seemingly small changes have made a big difference.

Even if you are not a believer or aren’t sure what you believe, there is an important point here. Small, intentional changes over time can make a big difference in your life no matter what area you are wanting to impact.

4 Life Changers

1. Day 2: Define My Priorities: The Bible…..Read It

I am sure at some point, you have heard that you should write out your goals. I’ll admit I’m not real good about doing this. It actually kind of annoying. Planning and being organized are really foreign concepts to me. It is honestly like speaking to me in Japanese. I can see you speaking, but I just can’t get it. I really try, it just doesn’t work out.

Nevertheless, I set out to put God first, my husband second, my children third, others fourth, my work 5th and so on.

Game changer people.

GAME CHANG-ER

Some of you are smarter than I am and have created simpler lives for yourself, but I am guessing A LOT of you have not. You have spouses, kids, friends, pets, a home to keep, cars to maintenance, meals to prepare, shopping to do, work, running or fitness of some sort, more fitness because everyone knows you can’t just do one thing, you have to cross train, and you can’t just do meals, you have to do healthy meals, go to church, volunteer at church, volunteer in the community, maybe 100 activities per night for all of your children, you somehow ended up on a committee, you are even trying to recycle AND floss this month, and it’s your spouse’s birthday.

Read that again and you will realize why you are overwhelmed.

But it all seems so good.

But it all doesn’t fit.

By choosing one thing, you will be not choosing another.

Simply by writing out my priorities, it became easier to decide what to choose and to feel good about choosing it.

Andy Stanley has some great sermons on this in a sermon series called Breathing Room.

2. Day 2: The Bible….Read ItHolyBible resized

In that same post, I talked about reading my bible each day. I like to be real here, so I will just admit that I have missed days, for sure. But I really try to make reading my Bible and praying the first thing on my agenda every day. I will also be real and say, sometimes I get up and read and am so tired; I have no idea what I just read. Or, I read a passage that is super confusing or happens to have an 8 page narration of genealogy or something. On those days, I don’t feel very connected and I wonder why God needed to include those details.

But far more often than that, I am surprised by what IS in the bible, how applicable it is to my life, and how so many of the customs we follow are biblically based and we don’t even know it! Whether you are a believer or not, the Bible is THE MOST FAMOUS book ever. Everyone should read it, not out of obligation, but with an open heart for the awesome work that it is.

3. Day 7: Christian Music: Nourish Your Soul

This was probably the biggest surprise to me. Switch things up, listen to a few Christian songs, no big deal. That’s what I thought. I did not expect it to make a big difference at all. As a matter of fact when I first started listening, I remember being really self-conscious when other people would ride in my car. I felt like I needed to apologize for my faith or the goofy Christian music. So, if you feel that way, I get it.

But, I did it anyways.

And I have never looked back.

Again, GAME CHANGER.

It blesses my life on a daily basis over and over and over again. It is so very easy to get distracted from God or just frustrated with the world. Right? People can be jerks, things don’t go as planned, whatever. I go about my day and my to-do list, I pay bills, I take care of kids, solve every random problem known to man, check my e-mail, connect on Facebook, on and on and on. Within all of that, I am bombarded, often times, by things that are anything but Godly. When I get frustrated or even when I am not, I can jump in my car and turn on Spirit FM (107.7 in Columbia) or K-Love (96.1) and immediately be encouraged.

If that isn’t enough, I love the blessings it bestows on my children.
I want the absolute I best for my children and the lyrics to a lot of secular music aren’t good for them. I feed them healthy food, make sure they get enough sleep, make sure they know I love them unconditionally and that God loves them unconditionally. On top of all of that, I want to expose them to as many Christ-like messages as possible because they get bombarded too! When I hear him singing, “Greater is the one living inside of me, than he who is living in the world,” all seems right in the world.

Emme and E in Rocheport resized

4. Day 26: The Wife God Created

On this day, I decided to change my work week. I absolutely love what I do for a living. I do. If you have been around me when I lead my running groups, you know I love it.

But, it can be too much. God has first called me to be a wife and mother. No one else can be a wife to my husband and no one else can be a mother to my children.

In the new American ideal where both parents work full time, then go to some activity every night, then hurry home to get everything ready for the next day, I found that there is little time for true connection. There is little margin in our lives, at least there was in ours.

So, I decided to start working Mon/Wed/Friday and some Saturdays versus Monday-Friday and some Saturdays. It wasn’t a particularly “good” time to do this but I am not sure there ever would have been a “good” time. Precious moments and hours were rushing past and I could let it go no more.

Wow, it is so much better! We still have a lot of stress in our lives. Owning your own business is H-A-R-D. Really hard. But it always will be. That is not going to go away. Given the choice, I would rather cheat my job than cheat my family. I’d much rather our business fall apart than our family.

What other small or big things you have done to change your life for the better? Please share. I know we could all use it!

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