So... things haven't exactly gone according to plan. You may have picked up on that, given the fact that we skipped a week in these posts. I had planned on posting for week two, even had my whole discussion on how that week had put this whole theory to the test planned... but then week two went straight into week three, which turned out to also be a challenge. So here we are. End of week three, heading into week four. Things are a little different than anticipated, but honestly, are you surprised? I'm not.
See the thing is, this experiment was born out of the need to shift something in my life so that I wasn't just living break to break and barely making it through everything in between. Living that way made me feel like I was missing out on a whole lot of life. And sure, there is part of me that was hoping for some miraculous switch somewhere around day 10 or something, and from that point forward, life would be breezy.
But, the larger part of me recognizes that that's not possible. That's not how change happens. It's a slow process that requires dedication and focus. And there are times in that process (like the past two weeks) where the focus wavers and the motivation fades and things go rather poorly. But that doesn't mean that it's not worth it, and that doesn't mean that change isn't happening.
I'm a full time fourth grade teacher, and I am very confident in saying that teaching is definitely a difficult and exhausting profession. These past two weeks have been leading up to a much-needed February break, which means I just about hauled myself to the last day of school on hands and knees. Of course, during those two weeks, I was also trying to continue with the habits I outlined for the Joy Experiment. The key word here is "trying." Here's my couple of take-aways from the experience:
1. The idea of not doing things because you're tired does not, in fact, make you feel any better. I wake up at 5:45 on work mornings. That gives me plenty of time to read my Bible, meditate, work out, have breakfast, and even have time to do something enjoyable, like writing, for a little while before I have to get ready. Most mornings, I love my morning routine. But some mornings, usually around Thursday or Friday, waking up and moving into all of that requires more motivation and energy than I have. But interestingly enough, if I forgo any part of that morning routine, I feel so much worse. My energy and motivation are lower all day. So despite the initial tiredness, I've figured out that it's much better to just suck it up and do the things that are good for me. Who knew?
2. The more time I spend with Jesus, the better person I am. Now I know this is not revolutionary, but I do feel that it is something that is often overlooked, especially for those of us who have known the Lord for a long while. It is imperative that we do not let familiarity result in apathy. Christ is our provider for all things, and regardless of how long we have known Him, it is still a daily challenge to walk according to the Spirit, rather than the flesh. And in paying more attention during this "experiment," I have realized that there are so many obvious differences that I see based on how much time I spend with Jesus- things like my overall happiness, patience, and attitude towards others. Again, not a revolutionary thought, but one that should be remembered.
So here we are, entering into the fourth week, and the last week of February. I've decided to continue this challenge into March to see what happens during a longer time frame. If you are also in the position of wanting to experience more joy and fulfillment in your life, I'd suggest you give these habits a try. At the very least, try spending more time with Jesus. If you're like me and like to start fresh at the beginning of the week or month, March 1st is coming up soon! Or, start today. After all, who's stopping you?
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