How to Really Enjoy Life

I had a week or so of some downtime after summer but before fall programs kicked off. It was nice to have a lull. But then things got seriously busy.  Business has a way of sucking the joy out of your life.  It is a part of life that can’t be avoided, but it can be managed.  This is how my life has gone into super warp speed recently and what I am doing to not let it suck the joy out of me.

First, my own three kids, Ethan (3rd grade), Joey (1st grade) and Emma (K) all started school.  I know, most of you reading this had kids start about a month ago.  Our school district is probably the last in the country to start.  Anyway, our family now has to adjust to a lot of new changes.  For me, it means waking up at 6am and working as a team with Jena, my wife, to get three tired and cranky kids up and ready for school.  No more waking up to a quite house while I get ready for work anymore. Our life gets pretty busy with school, homework, swimming practice, so on and so on.  On top of all that my wife started working almost full time a few month ago, so I have a lot more responsibility on the home front.

Second, last week our church kicked off fall programs for preteens and kids.  They include a new check in system for ages infant through 5th grade, midweek launch, changes in format for Sunday services, new room design for our large group space and more!

Do you relate to any of this?  I think you do.

I am beginning to realize that business has a way of sucking the life out of me.  When I am too busy, I get irritable and tired.  My level of contentment and happiness go down.  I start to go to TV and food for relief.  Busyness has a way of sneaking up on you too.  You get caught up in it without realizing.  There is sort of an adrenaline rush associated with it too.  Especially when it comes to ministry.  The adrenaline of making a difference, seeing lives changed, having fullfillment in your work, etc.  Then when you do experience downtime, you feel guilty.  Like you should be productive or something.  When that happens, it it time to pause.  Our bodies and souls can’t continue long term to be fueled by adrenaline.  Eventually, we will experience fallout in some way.

Some people have a higher tolerance than others when it comes to productivity. I think it is important to know what your level is and the warning signs that arise for you personally.  I described mine above.  Also, it is important that you have somebody to give you perspective, like my wife does for me.  She can see it in my eyes when I am too busy.  Most of the time, I am simply unaware.  But not her.

I’ve discovered how the really enjoy life.  I believe the key is to not be too busy.  Reflect more, take long walks, be still and listen to God’s voice, take longer lunch breaks, play Monopoly with your family, journal or do whatever works for you.  Get in the habit of being non-productive often.  I was reading a book that described a study that was done on all the nations in the world.  The study discovered that the people in Denmark were the most happiest.  Americans were at the bottom of the list.  Why were people in Denmark so happy?  Because they had low expectations.  Hmmmm.  I like that concept.

When you are less productive life has a way of being richer.  You have a sense that happiness is in the journey not the destination.  You make room to experience God and listen to his lead.  You are free to be yourself and not live by the demands of others.  We are on this planet for just a short time, so learn to enjoy life outside of your work, as exciting as it may be.  Learn to do less and live more.

So, what do you do when you have so many demands on your time?  For many of you, the idea of being less productive is unrealistic.  Well, stay tuned to part two of this blog.  Where I will share with you what I am doing and what you can do to be less busy.  It might not be what you think.  You’re not gonna get the church answer or what you normally read about in books on the subject.  So, visit my blog again sometime soon.  Not sure when I will post it because I want to practice this principle in my own life 🙂

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