Hello friends! I hope that your new year is going beautifully and that you are waking up excited and going to bed content. But if you’re waking up in a big mess and going to bed in a big mess right now, I want to share a little piece of encouragement.
A lot of our community members are using this time of year to get things in order. Now that the holidays are over, children are back in school, “regular life” is coming back, etc., it’s a great time to clean the house, organize your emails, update your project lists, and get to a place where you feel like your feet are back under you.
But sometimes in that process, the results don’t come as quickly as we would like. Some projects take multiple microbursts to complete, sometimes you have to leave things undone for awhile because of illness or to support a loved one, and sometimes unexpected things come up–like a disagreement or an urgent request or a series of “snow days” that leave you shoveling the driveway for days at a time.
So if you’re in a situation like that right now, I hope this story will help.
About 10 years ago, my husband and I took our four young children to visit the place where we were married in Los Angeles. It’s a beautiful building, with vast, sweeping lawns, gardens, benches, trees, and a reflection pool right in the heart of that busy city.
That particular day, I had been feeling a bit weighed down by my family life. Our children were active and busy, Eric and I were trying to build our business together, we were giving a lot of time to our church and community, and to be quite honest, nothing in our life felt calm or put together.
There’s a visitors’ center there on the grounds with a variety of displays, and when I went inside that day, I noticed some old photographs featuring the building when it was under construction. It was essentially a big mess, with dirt, machinery, and scaffolding—and no place for grass, flowers, or benches.
As I examined those photos, I felt that quiet voice in my heart (I personally call it “the Spirit”) say, “It’s okay that your family life often feels like a mess right now. You are essentially living in a construction zone. Don’t give up hope. Keep building!”
This “construction zone” analogy has been helpful to me ever since that experience. When all of our children were at home, for example, the dinner hour was so busy. I’d be making the meal, helping with homework, answering phone calls, and trying to finish a variety of tasks for the day–while also managing sibling squabbles, cleaning up spills, and trying to make our home a happy place. That was our construction zone.
Or take this past weekend–Eric and I hadn’t really had the chance to talk for about a week due to some business travel, family events, and community service commitments that had needed our energy. We were both feeling a little impatient, and our interactions reflected that. After finally being able to talk, get some rest, and work through what we’d been feeling, we gave each other a hug and each took a deep breath. Then I laughed a little and said, “It’s been a heavy construction day.” I think that perspective takes the pressure off both of us. We’re allowed to be human, and it’s okay if we’re still learning to handle all the challenges of life.
When we’re in the middle of something hard, it’s tempting to let our minds jump to the worst-case scenario. “I’ll never get this right. Why should I even try?” Or, “My life is always going to be a mess, and all this organizing is just a waste of my time.”
I feel that sometimes, too.
But I think that changing our expectations is the key. If we’re “architecting a life of excellence,” that means we are deliberately designing a life that reflects our values and goals. But in order to actually live that life, there has to be a time and a place for building.
So my hope for each member of the LearnDoBecome community is that you will continue to see a bright future, you’ll invest some time and energy learning simple systems, and you’ll maintain that courage to keep building.
We love you!!
Links to share with friends!
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