My friend Meredith is such an inspiration to me in so many ways. One way I want to be more like her is to be the kind of person who gets up early and journals. Meredith gets up early every day and writes all of her prayers, her worries, her goals in one place. It’s more than a habit for her. It’s a daily spiritual practice that sets her compass on the things that matter most to her.
Recently I was talking to her about some worry I was having about one of my kids. I think it was something silly like a standardized test score, but at the time it was feeling like a big deal. She gently reminded me that everything she has heard me say about parenting rejects the idea of reducing kids’ achievements to how they perform on a test on a certain day. She reminded me of a Facebook picture I had posted recently of my boys hugging each other goodbye before one of them went away to camp.
“That’s what you care about,” she said. “That picture. That’s who you are raising.”
Oh yeah. I forgot. She’s totally right.
But if Meredith hadn’t reminded me I might have spun myself into a little shame cyclone, and you know my kids would have had to bear the brunt of all that craziness. I mean, I had already gone out that day and bought a workbook. Who knows what other tiger mom shenanigans I was capable of if left to my own spinning, anxiety-fueled thoughts? Instead, Meredith was able to help me steer my rudder back to what I actually care about–raising loving kids who love each other–and focus on that.
She told me that on the inside cover of her journal she always writes a list of what she hopes to accomplish. These aren’t goals that you cross off of a to-do list. Meredith’s list is basically a catalog of what she values above all else, so that when she gets herself worked up about something and feels lost, she can go back to her list and see clearly again. She can remember, oh right, this is what I care about.
Here is Meredith’s journal that she very kindly shared with me and gave me permission to share with you.
I am calling this a “life list” because I want to distinguish it from just a normal to-do list.
I love this list so much. I want to steal all of Meredith’s things because they are what I want too, but I feel like this would be cheating, so I decided to create my own life list. Like Meredith I am starting each sentence with “I want.”
My life list:
- I want to make the people around me feel safe and loved exactly as they are.
- I want to show the love and grace God has shown to me to others.
- I want to connect with nature by gardening, hiking, trail running, and being outside as much as possible.
- I want to take care of my body by eating foods that fuel me and by exercising regularly.
- I want to use my love for writing to connect with other people and feel known.
- I want to raise children who know they are loved by their parents and by God no matter what they achieve, or do, or don’t do.
- I want to raise children who love their neighbors as themselves and who use their gifts to make the world better than they found it.
- I want my actions to reflect that God is at the center of my life.
Now the nerd in me really wants to make an algorithm out of this list. Something with lots of boxes and arrows that I can pull out whenever I want to take on a new goal. But Teddy is waiting for me to finish this post so we can go to the library. I will have to geek out another time.
But I would encourage you to make your own life list. These are the big things you want to accomplish with your life. The values you care about most. Not to be morbid, but think of this as a list of what you will care about most when you are taking your last breaths.
Eek. Pretty heavy stuff. But I did say you should always start at the end when making a new goal, right?
When you want to start on the journey towards accomplishing a new goal, first check that this goal aligns with what you truly value and what you want your life to be about. Because what’s the point of chasing a dream that in the end doesn’t line up with who you want to be?
Ok, off to the library now.
Please share your life list with me! I would love to be inspired by you! You can comment below or on my facebook page.