Thom and Art Rainer challenge their readers to write out their typical day and then list their priorities in the book Simple Life. They also encourage them to explore what are those barriers that keep the reader from their priorities and simplifying. At the end of a chapter the reader must write out an action plan, a mission statement, that helps them to move towards their simpler life. After all, "Time was meant to be a blessing, not a burden." - Rainer, Simple Life.
In Breaking Busy by Ali Worthington, she shares with the reader the fruits of being overwhelmed, how to edit out the distractions in life, and how knowing our worth in God can help us to slow down and find our purpose.
Wanting to have a more focused motivation for my days I wrote out a mission statement and answered the tough questions in both books. It did help to clarify how I wanted to better structure my time, but it still felt off. My intense task oriented type A personality took it as a challenge which lead to my mission statement feeling more of a burden than a blessing. It was not simple and it didn't even crack busy. This was not the fault of the books, though. They are both very well written. This was totally the result of my brain being accustomed to constant chaos.
In addition to reading these two highly recommended books, I had been enjoying my new favorite magazine, The Magnolia Journal. You know, from that ever so loved and popular show, Fixer Upper. I noticed that on the last page of each issue there is printed something they call the Magnolia Manifesto. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a manifesto is "a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer."
OK, now that clicked with me. It made more sense. It wasn't just another 'to do' list. A manifesto gives the reasoning behind why you are doing what you are doing. I needed to keep focused on the who I was, whose I was, why I do and how I do, what I do.
Here is what I came up with based on the priorities and values I affirmed while reading the books mentioned above.
God is my first conversation of the day. He created me, gave me life, and
gave me passions. He comforts me and guides me. He longs to spend
time with me. I want to be more aware of His presence in my life.
I will pray for my spouse and children everyday. I will ask God to guide and
protect them. I pray that they may sense God’s presence in their lives.
May they remember that He is always with them.
I will also pray for the ministry, mission, and town God has placed me in.
My health and well being is very important. Processing my emotions,
eating healthy, and moving my body are how I will care for what
God has given me. When I take care of myself, I can care for
others. I am able to share God’s love.
My relationships are very dear to me. I find joy in nurturing them.
My spouse is the most important human in my life. It is good for us
to pray together and go out together. I cherish our children
and am privileged to be able to help mold them into amazing
human beings. Our time together as a family is valuable and is filled with
adventures, lessons, grace, and love.
My friends are wonderful people. We give each other support
and mercy. It is good to listen and work together.
My community and neighbors are a gift. I want to know them
and bless them, and have a positive impact on them.
I will use my gifts and talents to the best of my ability. I will show
respect and kindness to others. I will strive to make good decisions.
I know that I am valued and safe. That Jesus has defeated
sin, death and the devil. And God has already WON!
This is my vision. This is who I am. And how I want to live out my days. Maybe a manifesto is right for you to help find focus and simplicity in your life.