thankful

Meaningful.

12224518_999926390027468_1319818625_nThe word “meaningful” has been tottering around in my head for the past couple weeks. (tottering?)

Sometimes words and their meanings just stick and won’t go away until I’ve properly dwelled on them. Pondering and dwelling and constantly thinking about stuff is basically my life. Some might call me an introvert, but I decided that I actually am not a big fan of labels. So I’m decidedly a: “whatever the heck I want to be at the moment.”

Back to that word: Meaningful.

The term is deeply personal. But incredibly important.

Living a meaningful life means you live your life with intentionality and purpose. Living on purpose. If you read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Covey you’ll know it by the term, living pro-actively instead of re-actively.

A huge desire of my heart is authenticity. And that takes true effort. A proactive lifestyle means you aren’t constantly putting out fires and reacting to problems. Instead choosing proactivity, meaningfulness and authenticity means that you are ready for the curveballs and the changes, you’ve prepped your heart and life to get the most learning and joy out of everything you can.

Life I said, a meaningful life is a personal thing. I can’t tell you what it looks like for everyone. But to give you an idea for yourself, here’s what mine looks like:

Time set apart to spend with Jesus every day. A focused prayer life and prayer journal. A decision to be a blessing. And a commitment to go and do where the Lord leads.

And organized priority list. The other day I made a chart of the things that are important to me and the main things that I need to focus on right now. For whatever reason, some things that I was doing didn’t make the list. Maybe they weren’t important enough. Maybe they didn’t put me in the right mindset. Maybe I was spending to much time on them instead of the things I deemed more important. Whatever the reason, away they went. Seeing those decisions on paper solidified them, even if just for this season.

Once I have my priorities, let everything go. I tend to be an easily stressed out person. Definitely not something I’m proud of. However, I’ve accepted this about myself and decided that a big part of my life needs to be letting go. Take a breath. Don’t worry about it. This keeps me focused on the here and now, instead of worrying about tomorrow’s problems. It’s a constant practice for me, but it definitely helps me create that meaningfulness in my days.

Letting go of those worries allows me to focus on the little moments. What is life without little moments?! Seriously. I don’t know. Need an idea of what I’m talking about? Read these posts on 10 Sweet Little Moments and don’t tell me that this mentality wouldn’t help a person live more fully. I have made lists of these moments since I was 12 years old. Even now, I could mindlessly be typing on my computer or I could get in tune with my senses and feel the soft sheets under my toes, hear my essential oil diffuser bubbling, see the soft sunshine come through my window and smell the coffee warm in my cup. For me, it’s these moments that give my day beauty.

Visualize the person you want to be and go be it. I like the way that The Avett Brothers said it in their song Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise, “Decide what to be and go be it.” This visualization gives you a goal to strive for, it helps with decision making because you know what you want the end result to be. (This is definitely subject to change as the Lord leads.) For me, apart from the spiritual aspect (which is constantly changing and evolving), I want to be a healthy, artistic, creative mountain-hippie woman. || Someone who savors good food, good music, good health and the beautiful outdoors. Someone who brings sunshine and flowers into her home. Someone who takes the time to make homemade Christmas presents and yogurt in the crock pot. Someone who doesn’t have a lot of “stuff” taking up space, but revels in the margins. Someone who cares about the earth and the people in it, making sustainable decisions for her home and life. Someone who loves beauty, but doesn’t need perfection to enjoy life. Someone who dresses well, but doesn’t obsess about her appearance. Someone who cooks delicious healthy meals, but doesn’t freak out if she burns the quinoa. Someone who sits quietly on the mountain top to look up at the sky and feel God. || Now every decision I make today should point to this woman I want to be. Should I buy that $3 glitter phone case made in China? Probably not. A. glitter. yuck. B. doesn’t sound like a fair-trade option. who was hurt so I could buy a cheap item? C. Maybe I shouldn’t even have an iPhone, it sure does take up a lot of mind space. (I told you, I think a lot.) Having that vision in my mind helps me to make decisions that fit the desires of my heart.

Don’t be afraid to be “Weird”. Maybe you’re the only person you know without a facebook. Maybe you feel guilty for eating meat but everyone calls you crazy. Maybe you don’t want to go to college, but instead want to spend the next 4 years serving as an international missionary. Maybe you’ve researched GMO and now can’t let another non-organic vegetable touch your lips. Let me tell you a little secret, there are some really weird people out there who make decisions for their lives based on the convictions in their heart instead of what everyone around them is saying and doing. And I have mad respect for those people. Add that to my “visualization”! Be a person that lives with conviction.

I fail at these practices daily. I have a conviction to live sustainably and naturally, but I still drink hot chocolate from a non-recyclable carton and have been seen buying $3 shirts from H&M. Even though I fall short from the person I’ve decided to be, I still am closer to her today than I was yesterday because I have her in the front of my mind. Having that vision makes me google “healthy natural hot chocolate recipes” (even if I don’t end up making them) and keeps me searching thrift stores for second-hand shirts that aren’t screwing up the economic system. One step at a time, guys. Decide what to be, and go be it. Be a person that lives with conviction. Go out and live your most meaningful life. 

a guide to self care.

IMG_3568Self care.

Sounds so…selfish. Right? Especially for Christians as we are taught to sacrifice “self” and serve others.

Jesus is our inspiration and guide and even he took some time, spent with the Father, to recharge and fill up. And he is absolute perfection itself! So don’t you think we, as imperfect creatures, need to take the time to recharge?

++ If you’re one of those people that can serve + love + do life without burning out than CONGRATU-FREAKING-LATIONS. You’re ahead of the game so why don’t you just go ahead and advance to boardwalk. (excuse the sarcasm)

But for the rest of us, including myself, I get tired. I get worn. I get stressed. And I need to crawl into a little fox hole with God and R E C H A R G E.

To give you some ideas for yourself I’ve come up with a list of “10 Self-Care Tips” that I abide by. It’s a personal issue and everyone is different, so don’t feel like you have to fit in my version as an anxiety stricken introvert. My husband is an easy-going extrovert (bless him), so his list would look more like “Hang out with the guys. Buy a new cool toy. Watch my favorite show while cuddling with Elisa.” And that’s totally ok :)

10 Self Care Tips and Practices

by Elisa Cobb

  1. Spend time with Jesus. NUMERO UNO, guys. For me, this looks like cuddling up with my Bible, journal and a cup of coffee. Quiet time. Alone with Jesus.
  2. Go for a walk. Like I said above, I’m an anxious person (it’s not something I’m proud of). Going for walks helps calm me down and get my perspective straight. I like to put in earbuds and listen to inspiring music. Sometimes it’s worship, sometimes its Jonsi and sometimes it’s classical. Worship is the best, though. Nothing centers me more than a walk with worship music.
  3. Take a bath. Make this intentional, not just utilitarian. Use epsom salts, candle light, music, your favorite book.
  4. Sit alone with your back up against the wall and your legs crossed indian style. Stretch your back up the wall and take deep breaths. Close your eyes. Focus on Jesus. Focus on your blessings.
  5. Write or Draw or whatever-artistic-thing-you-do. I have a million journals filled with rambles and thoughts.
  6. Make a “nest” with pillows and blankets and cuddle up in it. Watch a show that makes you happy or read your favorite book.
  7. Give yourself guilt-free permission to say “No Thanks” to that volunteer request or invitation to a night-out. I promise you, IT’S OK. But know the difference between a good opportunity to stretch yourself, learn + grow versus an outing that is just one thing to many on your schedule.
  8. S T R E T C H. Do yoga. Move your body.
  9. EAT. Preferably something ultra healthy (scrambled eggs + sauteed veggies + potatoes, for me!) or even a piece of dark chocolate. This isn’t a chance for you to eat your feelings, this is an opportunity to nourish your body. Also make a cup of green tea for yourself, drink it slowly.
  10. Listen to your body, listen to the cry of your heart. I hear you all now, “The heart is deceitful…” And yes, it is. I agree, obviously. George MacDonald once said, “You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” That soul is eternal, so take care of it. Confess when you need to. Bask in God’s presence when you need to. Be with people when you need to. Be alone when you need to. Be gentle with yourself.

 

How do you practice self care?

Thankful {2014}

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Thankful for him… ^^ Obvs.

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^^Thankful for these people…amazing family. Seriously. Amazing.

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^^And thankful for these people…beloved friends {so many that aren’t even in this picture!}.

These three pictures make my heart OVERFLOW. 

– Thankful for our little home, warm and cozy.

– Thankful for a space heater…to make our lil’ old house actually warm.

– Thankful for Christmas music that I started listening to as soon as it came on the radio. Hashtag shameless.

– Thankful for Jesus Christ, His Word and His Church. Without Him, I am nothing.

– Thankful for my second cup of coffee today.

– Thankful for homemade cinnamon rolls.

– Thankful for America. Thankful for freedom. Thankful for the prosperity this nation has been blessed with.

– Thankful for the beautiful possibilities of the future.

– Thankful for sweet moments and sweet days that while you’re in them may not look like much, but if you take a breath and look around, you realize how insanely blessed you are and how happy you can’t help but be.

What are you thankful for?