Sr. Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ (American, 1937?-), "O Root" (from the "O Antiphons" series). Of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Tags: Tree of Jesse. Source: http://csjstpaul.org/ansgar_holmbergs_o_antiphon_paintings.aspx; http://yokeofchrist.blogspot.com/2010/12/o-root-of-jesse.html

Day 4: Matching Time and Personality

Alignment is structuring our life’s activities and priorities so that we can accomplish our mission statement for the simple life. It is lining up our schedule so that it runs parallel to our heart’s yearning.

This week we have discussed ways we can simplify our time. We have already eliminated activities that were not part of our declared priorities. Our next step will he figuring out how we can align our remaining daily activities so that they move us toward the realization of our mission statement. Alignment takes dedication, it takes sacrifice. But it is necessary for the simple life.

Survey Statistics

69% need to change how they use their time each day.

40% of Christians regularly pray with their children.

35% of married Christians regularly pray with their spouses.

30% of married Christians read the Bible together at least once a week.

Time for an Honest Assessment

When Martha questioned Jesus about Mary’s perceived irresponsibility, he answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not he taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

 

Describe the alignment Jesus was asking Martha to make.

Jesus told Martha that, though she had many concerns, they were not correct concerns. For that moment her heart and mind were in the wrong place. We don’t know Martha’s reaction to Jesus’ words, but we know she was confronted with an assessment of herself She then had to decide what to do about it.

The same thing happens when we decide to evaluate our current ability to simplify our time. If we truly evaluate ourselves, we will find ourselves in a better place to make decisions that propel us to our goals.

Don’t be afraid to find faults. When you find yourself at odds with your heart’s desires, you are at a potential turning point. You see what you don’t like in your life, and you can draw a line in the sand. On one side is the old way, on the other is the new, desired way.

Take time to make an honest assessment of your situation. It may take an hour; it may take a day. Find a surrounding that helps you think. This could be a walk outdoors or a lounge chair with a fresh-brewed cup of coffee. Ask yourself, are the activities that fill my day aligned with my stated goals? Are they advancing or hindering the process? Does everything else line up with my goals? Write your conclusions down.

When you are honest with yourself and clearly identify your faults, you’re on the brink of change.

Time to Count on Others

Many people who try to make changes approach the adjustment with good intentions. But as time progresses, they slowly slide back into their old rut and find themselves living just as they did before. They also tend to rationalize their way out of self-imposed promises. At these times accountability to others can be indispensable. If we are serious about changing the way we use time, we need others who can watch our progress, who can recognize and verbalize the good and the bad, the aligned and the unaligned.

Follow these tips for choosing someone to hold you accountable for your actions.

Be picky. Steer away from family members. Seek an outsider.

Search for someone with goals similar to what you are trying to accomplish.

Make sure they hold the same values and will not hesitate calling you out when your actions no longer parallel your goals.

Set specific time intervals at which you will meet or speak, such as weekly or biweekly. Staying in contact is a must.

Name two persons you would consider to hold you accountable in aligning your life with your goals for using your time.

Ask God to show you who would be the better partner.

Time to Be Uniquely You

Can activities that align with your mission statement be wrong for you? Absolutely. When we start aligning our day to fit our mission statement and ultimately our heart’s priorities, we will run into areas that go against our personalities.

God made each of us with different personalities, gifts, strengths and weaknesses. Personality encompasses the total mix of who we are: our disposition, our background, our temperament, our talents, our spiritual gifts, and our personal history. Because everyone is wired differently, we can’t expect everyone to align their lives the same way.

In the following pairs of words, check the one that best fits who you are.

Steady                    Fast

Structured              Spontaneous

Focused                 Scattered

Morning productive     Evening productive

Tense                    Relaxed

Hyper                    Calm

Talkative                 Quiet

Patient                  Inpatient

Fun                     Serious

Compulsive            Thoughtful

Competitive            Noncompetitive

Worried                Hopeful

Now look at each of the words you checked. Does your mission statement fit the personality described by these words? Does it align with who you are? It not, what changes should you make in your statement?

Review what you have already done in the areas of clarity and movement. Do these previous steps fit who you are? Explain Why or why not.

A key element of alignment is the proper fit. Embrace who God has made you and use it to mold your simple life.

Time to Stretch

Have you ever noticed that your life seems to be one big habit? You get up about the same time each day, alternate between the same two sugar-laden cereals for breakfast, and listen to the same radio station as you drive to work. The rest of your day generally follows a set routine. There is a rhythm to each of our lives, a beat that guides us throughout our day. But when the beat takes on a different rhythm, our day’s dance becomes disrupted. We feel uncomfortable. Our life’s waltz suddenly becomes the funky chicken. We are out of sync and awkward.

These uncomfortable feelings often push us to keep the rhythm, to do as we have always done. The simple life, however, requires flexibility. Life is not static. Therefore, your attempt to align will demand next year. Who knows where God may take you or what he may do with you?

Adopt an attitude of flexibility. What will happen if you stick with your ways, even when change is demanded? Life will continue to change with or without your permission. Staying ready for adjustment will help you capture the adventure of what a simple day can be.

How is aligning your life with your time goals requiring you to be flexible?

Relishing the Blemish

One of the beautiful things about a scar is that it demonstrates that healing took place. It represents an old wound from which we no longer suffer.

As we align our activities to move toward the simple life with our time, we should not expect perfection. We will probably find ourselves making mistakes, creating a few scars. But our response to those mistakes can be more important than the mistakes themselves. Will we allow them to become sources of frustration or inspiration?

Identify any unexpected struggles you have already had in trying to align your daily life with your goals for using time Three ideas are suggested to get you started.

I have leaned too much on my own strength and not

on Gods.

I forgot to seek Gods direction before trying to align.

My plan didn’t work.

Other:

Because time has so many outside variables, mistakes can easily occur; alignment can easily become misalignment. We can’t become so focused on the imperfections in this process that they hinder our advancement.

Allow your wounds, your mistakes, to heal. They heal when we step away from them and make a change. If you’re lucky, a scar will remain. Use those scars as learning experiences, as markers of personal growth, lessons learned and survived.

How will you use the scars you already have in trying to

change the way you use time?

You declared that you wanted to Simplify your time, and you committed to action. We’re sure it has not been easy. Change never is. We encourage you not to slow down but to keep passionately pursuing what your heart is telling you. In the end it will be something special.

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