Hello 2016.

Happy new year to you all! I'm back from my little blogging break and have some fun things I'm eager to share. With a new planner in hand, I'm eager to see what this new year brings, but I think it's also important to not quickly move on to the next year without taking a good & close look at the past one. 

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A couple months ago, I was watching a Periscope from Emily P. Freeman, a favorite author/blogger. She talked about looking back over the past year and making a list of things that were life-giving and life-draining and it really stuck with me. Don't we all want more things that are life-giving and not draining to our soul? I thought it was a good question to ask myself when thinking about my goals for the new year. What were things in 2015 that were beneficial and helped me grow, and what were things that weren't? I had some sort of an idea, but as a chronic list-maker writing it out on paper was even better and starting seeing a pattern-

Life-giving // going to church, friendships, my Bible study group, reading good books, journaling, regular quiet time, prayer, good music, exercise, playing piano, volunteering at church, my photography clients, getting rid of clutter and excess things, monthly/weekly goals, preparing for things beforehand (setting out clothes, making lunches), less social media, learning new things, deep conversations with friends, reading good thoughtful blogs, trying new things that stretch and challenge me //

Life-draining // messiness, disorganization, busyness, setting too many goals, bad music, not eating healthy foods, not exercising regularly, not sticking to a budget, procrastination, too much social media/internet in general, comparison, overanalyzing, fear, too much noise, not making time for connecting with people //

I noticed in my lists that many of the things that were life-draining stemmed from being busy. When I over-committed myself and took out the breathing room in my day, it stressed me out. I'll be the first to admit that I always have lots of goals I want to accomplish, and that is a good thing, but it's not helpful when I do so much that I don't have room for my soul to breathe. For me, busyness easily translates into the hustle of hurry, where I no longer thing about people or God, but my to-do list. And that's not a good thing for anyone.  I need time to think and journal and have deep conversations, or else life feels dry and dusty and shallow. This quote says it all-

“Being busy is an outward condition, a condition of the body. It occurs when we have many things to do . . . There are limits to how much busy-ness we can tolerate, so we wisely find ways to slow down whever we can . . . By itself, busy-ness is not lethal.

Being hurried is an inner condition, a condition of the soul. It means to be so preoccupied with myself and my life that I am unable to be fully present with God, with myself and with other people. I am unable to occupy this present moment. Busy-ness migrates to hurry when we let it squeeze God out of our lives.

I cannot live in the kingdom of God with a hurried soul. I cannot rest in God with a hurried soul.”
— John Ortberg, Soul Keeping

What do you find to be life-giving or life-draining? Do you find that being busy has an effect on your life?