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  • Writer's pictureLaura Greer

Priorities, Should's and the Tyranny of the Urgent - Decreasing Stress and Anxiety with Small Doses of Self-Care

How Monday-ish is it feeling for you today?

When you woke up this morning, did your feet hit the ground running with the gears spinning in your mind of all the things you "need to do/should do" today, this week, or this month?

There is a better way for us to live, and it's so doable you can start right now.

We can intentionally choose to change the trajectory of our days by taking a couple of minutes to get centered, breathe deeply and stretch. By hydrating and eating in a way that nourishes our bodies. By meditating on things which are good and lovely and praying about it all.

There's a reason we are reminded in Philippians 4:8 (Msg.) to meditate on "things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse." We're reminded in verse 9 that by putting this into practice, the God of peace will be with us.

Couldn't we all use more peace in our lives?

Like you, I have a zillion things to juggle. Now that our kids are launching, after having stayed home for two decades to raise and homeschool them, I decided to do my own mid-life launch a few years ago.

Mid-life launch sounds better than mid-life crisis, doesn't it?

I became a life coach, decided to turn that into a business, started a part-time job that turned into a full-time career that utilizes my coaching skills, and have had some other pretty major life events happen in between all that.

But just ten years ago I struggled to get out of bed each morning.

What changed?

My priorities.

I could easily succumb to the tyranny of the urgent; however, with intentionality and getting my priorities straight, I've learned how to let my doing flow from my being.

And that, my friends, has made all the difference.

I once saw an illustration where there were two jars, and the person performing the illustration had rocks of various sizes from large ones down to grains of sand. The challenge? Could we envision getting all of the rocks and sand into the jar? For the first attempt the sand was put in first, then the next biggest rocks, on up to the largest of the rocks. Of course, the largest rocks would not fit. The container was too full of the smaller things.

In another jar, the process was reversed. The big rocks were put in first, then the medium, eventually to the sand. And guess what?

It all fit!

My friends, we are that container. We have a limit to the capacity of what we can take on, but we also have within us the ability to handle things better, set boundaries, and be more productive with all the things, if we start with the big ones first.

The big rocks represent the basics, the essentials that we need to live into so we can be the best and most authentic version of what God has created within each of us.

And that's going to look different for everyone. Sure, some of the big rocks are universal, such as that quiet time, deep breathing, stretching, movement, hydration and nutrition. With a little planning, these can be integrated into your life in ways that cause them to become second nature. A water bottle next to your coffee maker or beside the bed to remind you to drink water first. Moving your phone away from the bed so you can breathe deeply and stretch when you first awaken. Keeping a journal in a strategic spot so you can process your thoughts. Putting your sneakers by the bed, or if you work outside the home, keeping a pair at work and setting a timer to go for a quick walk.

Some of those big rocks are going to be the things that fuel your passion. What is it that lights your fire for life? For me, one of those things is sharing encouragement, hope and inspiration with women who are feeling stuck in life. Why?

Because that stuck woman was once me. That me of ten years ago that struggled to get out of bed. That me, who faced each day with looming stress and anxiety. That me, who wasn't in touch with who I am created to be. That me, who needed to peel back some layers of false living to stop comparing myself to every other woman out there and start learning more about what God had already placed inside me.

That me who kept doing all the things I felt I should or needed to do (the little pieces of sand), while I neglected the vital things of life (the biggest rocks). Vital things like prioritizing what gives us the energy we need to eventually get to those grains of sand.

I'm reminded of the stories of Mary, Martha, and the Proverbs 31 woman. Many women aspire to be that Proverbs 31 woman, and if that is your calling, and you're thriving with that, that's wonderful! But for those of us who strive to do all the things thinking that's what we're supposed to do, we often overlook that she had female servants.

She had help (v. 15)!

I suppose I've glossed over this in my reading before because it was common in that time for there to be household servants. But really, how often do we think we should be a Proverbs 31 woman, and then guilt ourselves when we can't live up to it all?

How many times have we been scurrying to do all the things, like Martha in Luke 10:40, when she admits to carrying the burden of preparations and asks Jesus, quite bluntly, to get her sister on board? Jesus speaks to Martha in v. 41, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed - or indeed only one." He then goes on to tell her that her sister, Mary, has made the better choice.

When we have our priorities upside down and put our doing before simply being in spiritual connection, THAT is when the anxiety and stress ("worried and upset") compound. So today, I encourage us to re-examine our priorities to see if we have them upside down. When our doing flows from our being, we can find increased energy and purpose in everything we do, even down to those finest grains of sand.

Sweet sister, I hope you also find freedom and hope in this message. You have much placed within you that you have yet to discover.

If you need a guide along the way to peel back those layers to discover what has been placed within you, feel free to reach out for a free 30-minute consultation to begin the journey. Together we can explore how your gifts, personality and experiences weave together to form your most authentic self, and how to best nurture yourself along the way.

What do you need to prioritize? Is it quiet time? Nutrition? Hydration? Movement? Sleep? Declare it in the comments below and recommit to getting your priorities straight so you can be the most authentic version of who you are created to be!



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