Recipe for Success

I’m stressed.  Again.  I know, not great content for the blog world.

But I’m determined to not let it get in the way.  As in, I’ve been reading and thinking about (thanks to my wonderful husband) ways that I can set myself up to succeed, and get a draft of this paper written, even when something (my fear of failure, is it?  those damn expectations, again?) seems to be getting in the way.

The way I see it, that something someone is only me.  And I’m taking myself out of the equation.  (I had, by the way, at the height of my frustration, considered throwing in the towel and opening my birthday presents early, but as happy as that thought sounds, it wouldn’t actually get a draft of my paper written, so I’ll wait ’til Thursday…).

Instead, tomorrow’s equation includes these simple steps:

Gorgeous morning view (not mine, but hey, a girl can dream).

1.  I’m getting up early…and I have been for weeks, but it’s important for me, because I know my best brain time is in the morning.  Plus, I simply enjoy that time of day the most, which brings me to step two…

My jones.

2.  I’m making myself a big bowl of peanut butter and banana oatmeal and a big mug of coffee.  I recently read Leo Babauta‘s 6 Small Things You Can Do When You Lack Discipline, and while they were all good, #5, Focus on Enjoyment, really spoke to me. Creating an environment you generally enjoy to do something you need to get done just makes sense, and after all, no one should skip breakfast (or coffee, in my opinion).

This is one of my favorite postures for Centering Prayer, when I'm reminding myself to simply breathe deep the breath of God.

3.  I’m starting the day with silence.  On Monday morning my good friend and I read scripture together on skype and sat in silence across the distance for eighteen minutes.  Everytime I bathe in silence in God’s presence, I realize how little silence there is in my life, and how often I crowd all the nooks and cranies with my requests, anxieties, and ideas.  So it’s not surprising that I feel closest to God when I drop all that at the door and resolve to simply be.  On Monday I heard God simply asking me to rest in God’s presence.  Now, I would be a fool to turn that down, so count me in for silence tomorrow morning.

4.  If I get stuck I’ll just talk to someone, or do some yoga, or take a walk.  When my husband was asking me how I deal with stress tonight, I realized that I rarely take advantage of these simple ways to get my head out of the sand and see the forest for the trees…okay, mixed metaphors, but you get the picture.  Suffice it to say, Evan making me walk to the store tonight to get some lemons was the best thing he could have done, because I had to take my mind off of my paper for a bit, which led me to do some creative thinking (and no I did not make lemonade…yet another pun, ugh).

Kickin' it old school.

5.  I’m going to write by hand.  There’s always been something freeing and fluid about writing by hand for me, whereas sometimes the prefectionist in me that invades the backspace and the delete keys gets in the way of all that.  So I’m going back to old-fashioned pen and paper tomorrow morning for a change.

6.  I’m not going to worry about it.  This is clearly my biggest challenge, but I am up for it.  Here you go God, all my worries, all my plans, yes even this recipe–may the only thing I seek is to be closer to you, and may that faith and peace guide me like no other.

Amen, and goodnight!

Very spookily after I typed these final words, Pandora started playing Jeremy Camp’s “Give me Jesus.”  Not to be dramatic, but how ’bout that?!

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

What’s your recipe for success when you’re struggling to get something done?

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4 thoughts on “Recipe for Success

  1. This sounds like a phenomenal recipe for success! I could definitely incorporate some of these tips into my day. I especially love your point about having a good breakfast, makes such a difference in getting out of bed in the morning. I also like your points about letting go of worry, and doing something else if you get stuck. I like to keep my yoga mat out during the day so if I need a quick break or stretch I can just do a few downward dogs or something!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. The best thing is, it worked! I think half the battle was believing all these things would actually culminate in success, ya know? I like your suggestion about taking a break for a few downward dogs. I’m also really loving your series on setting up a kitchen. Thanks for stopping by again!

  2. I love your recipe for success, Erin. Unfortunately, its been a year since I’ve had a baby and I STILL cannot figure out my ‘new normal’. That could have something to do with moving countries all the time, I suppose.

    I need more silence in my day. Or at least my week. I’ve been thinking about how I’d like to incorporate this into my life but I also feel sometimes, it’s been so long since I’ve had REAL silence, that I’m afraid of what I would hear. My fault entirely. Thanks for the reminder. So you are painting your office room gray then? It will help your silent time be even more calm, yes? :-)

    1. Haha, no more painting for us over here. We’ll just live with what we’ve got. Good to hear from you, and I totally get the feeling of putting off the silence, for fear of what may come. Of course, I think our fears are hardly ever realized, so there’s some more encouragement for you. By the way, don’t worry about getting back to normal, just do what works for now. I know you’re doing great!

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