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“For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
How do you want to live your life?
And are you living that way now, or are you hoping you’ll be there in another 5 to 10 years?
When job interviewers, lifestyle books, or business gurus ask “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I believe our tendency is to think “In 5 years, things could be pretty darn good! I’ll have achieved this, I’ll be living here, I’ll have accomplished that lifelong goal…Oh, and finances won’t be so tight!”
When we’re on the other side of 5 years, everything will be greener.
Although I LOVE making goals and I LOVE making plans for the future, I want the serenity and abundance that I picture in 5 years to be what I experience now
Some people choose a “word to live by” each year; the word serves as a theme to focus on and delve into over the course of 12 months. I couldn’t settle on a theme word for 2014, but I’m beginning to get a clearer picture of something bigger–a life word.
Lately I’ve been thinking about how to capture more abundance in my day-to-day, “mundane” life. I believe that the first key to abundance is this–you have to be rooted in the Vine, which is Jesus.
If you start with that, then each of the small things I list below gain depth and meaning, because you’ll be living out your purpose to glorify and enjoy God.
Here are 7 simple ways to live more abundantly, every day!
1. Don’t wait for your day off
When I began working full time after college, I had this strange concept that fun must be saved for the weekend! I thought that fun times wouldn’t be as special if they were on a regular old weeknight, so I lumped all of my relaxation, date nights, and special outings onto Friday and Saturday. And you know what happened? My weekends were glorious, but the strictly-business weekdays dragged by with little excitement to punctuate the grind.
Eric made me think outside the weekend and started taking me on dates on Wednesday nights. I fell in love! (With mid-week dates. I was already in love with him!) I needed something to look forward to on Wednesdays, and besides, restaurants and movie theaters are a lot less busy then!
The moral extends beyond weekends, though. Don’t wait for months to pass before you pursue your interest. Don’t wait for years to pass before you begin your travels. Don’t wait.
2. Appreciate a good breakfast
Every year, you have at least 365 opportunities to begin your day with pleasure and nourishment. Respect your breakfast time, and make it into a ritual that you can look forward to each morning. Breakfast doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it should be something you enjoy immensely.
My go-to breakfast these days are two fried eggs, a couple of pieces of butter-and-jam toast, possibly some fresh fruit, and a cup of English Breakfast tea or coffee with real cream. I sit down at the table or on our cabin porch to eat it, and finish my time with a short Bible reading. Homemade yogurt is a good stand-by for busier mornings, and hot buttered muffins or buttermilk pancakes with fresh berry syrup are excellent for mornings of leisure!
3. Follow the rhythm of the seasons
Live in tune with the rhythms and cycles of nature. Spend lots of time outdoors, and take notice–with all your senses–of how the world changes from month to month. Sync your personal rhythms of living with what’s going on around you outside. For us, we tend to play hard during the summer when the world is awake and teeming. We go on trips and forage in the woods and stay up late in lingering daylight. But in winter we like to hunker down into humming routines, or stay indoors with hot drinks and lots of blankets on a cold night, just as the rest of the world shores up for spring.
4. Discover the small things that make you happy, and seek them out in your day
Think of a list of a few simple things that bring you pleasure. Some of mine include brie cheese, walks, a few minutes reading a magazine, a cup of fragrant tea, and a favorite perfume. They’re little things that don’t take much time to enjoy…which is an excellent reason to savor one or two each day!
5. Educate your palate
If you’re a picky eater, you’re missing out. There are so many flavours and textures and colours available to us in our food! A deep appreciation of good food, and for lingering over it with company and conversation, is a profound way to live abundantly each day. Even if you’ve been a picky eater or subsisted on processed food for a long time, if you branch out you will eventually develop a taste–even a craving–for foods you formerly ignored. Stock a real food pantry, begin cooking the classics from scratch (my cookbook can help with that!), and then expand to more unusual ingredients and intricate dishes. I used to dislike mushrooms, onions, and bleu cheese–now I realise that these foods have incredible flavour potential that can send the right dish soaring.
6. Know what makes you come alive
What gets you excited? makes you feel energized? makes you want to spin around and sing like you’re in The Sound of Music? Do those things more often! I find that it helps to think about what my passions and interests were when I was a little girl. I had no qualms then about being myself and doing what I loved– exploring outside on a glorious morning, being in the water, curling up with a book, creating things on paper. I can do those things now as an adult, but often I forget how much I love them, how much a part of me they are!
Recapture the playfulness and abandon you had for your passions when you were little, and seek them out again!
7. Form good habits
Ir’s wastefully difficult to live a life of abundance when you’re constantly tired, grumpy, and overworked. But good habits, formed by discipline, provide a structure for your days into which you can build times of rest, play, and productivity. Establish morning and evening routines to bookend your days, learn to streamline your work and avoid time wasters, stay on top of household chores, and keep a simple home so that you have less to clean and care for.
What would you add to this list? How are you choosing to live more abundantly, every day?