Do you ever begin the week in a fog?
I feel this way sometimes. I sometimes begin a new week and am not aware of what is really taking place in my life. Consequently, a few days will go by and I will realize that I have really not been attentive or aware of an important dimension of my life. This lack of awareness can actually intensify conflict or worsen the neglect on my part.
I typically become aware of what is happening in these dimensions of my life by finally paying attention.
There are several dimensions that need my attention. Quite often, the areas that we overlook involve our relationships with people, our emotions, our physical body, our time, and most importantly, our relationship with God. The following are a few suggestions regarding areas of life that need regular attention:
1. Pay attention to what you are feeling emotionally. There are some days when I feel down or even sad. Why? Sometimes I have no idea. At other times these feelings are connected with physical fatigue. Unfortunately, sometimes I do not pay attention to my feelings and consequently allow them to color the way I view other dimensions of life. Instead of being aware that I am feeling sad or down, I start to see all my life as one bleak, dark, gray cloud. Through such a lens, everything looks negative. The reality, however, may be that I am just having a down day.
2. Pay attention to your physical body. Am I aware of how tired I feel? Am I aware of how a head-cold might impact the way I see my week? Am I eating too much sugar or drinking too many caffeinated drinks? Do I eat a heavy lunch and then wonder why I have such difficulty concentrating in the afternoon? Could it be that my sluggishness originates from a lack of exercise?
On the other hand, I have noticed that when I exercise regularly and eat food that adds fuel to my body, I feel better and am more energetic.
3. Pay attention to your relationships. Am I connecting with my wife or husband? Or, are we just functioning in our roles? Am I connecting with my children? Or, are am I just checking on homework and game schedules? What about my friends? Am I paying attention to these relationships?
4. Pay attention to your time. What does your week look like as you survey your calendar? What do you already have scheduled? Do you have any deadlines or due dates that must be met this week? Do you have meetings scheduled? Do you have certain events already scheduled that are energy depleting? Do you have some events scheduled that are energy producing? It helps me to look at my calendar at the beginning of the week and ask these questions.
My energy level tends to be very high in the mornings. Consequently, I block out the mornings for work that challenges me to think and to be creative. I read, reflect, and think best in the mornings. My energy level in the afternoons is much different. I am more likely to schedule meetings, time with people, etc. I have learned to pay attention to my energy level and to adjust the kind of work I do accordingly.
5. Pay attention to your relationship with God. Do you ever get to the middle of the week and realize that you have gone several days without praying or reading your Bible? Perhaps you have had conversations, sat in meetings, gone to church, etc. and have yet to give little more than a polite nod to God.
What do you need to be attentive to this week?