The ABCs of Living

Everybody knows that if you want to have a thin, toned body, you’re going to have to eat right and exercise. It’s common sense. But, that doesn’t stop me from hoping that I can keep drinking Coke and eating chocolate cake every day while watching TV and still have my stomach miraculously flatten and my arms tone up.

I’ve been realizing this principal about my life in general. The basics really do matter, and natural consequences still naturally occur no matter how good a reason I have for not doing the things I didn’t do.

For instance, if I don’t call the drug store and tell them I accidentally sent my prescription to Des Moines, they are not going to give it to me in Iowa City. Even if I really feel like a doofus for sending it to Des Moines, things aren’t going to change on their own.

If I don’t load the dishwasher and then start it, I’m going to have a messy kitchen. Even if I have a headache and it doesn’t feel fair, this is how it happens.

If I don’t go to the grocery store, we won’t have any food. (Well, we will, but only things like vegetable broth and diced tomaoes.)

If I don’t type anything out on WordPress and hit publish, nothing new appears on my blog.

You get the idea.

Eventually, when I don’t do all those little things, the problems become a big thing. Loading the dishwasher is not an overwhelming task. Loading the dishwasher when the kitchen counters are stacked a foot high with food, garbage, and dishes is overwhelming, especially when the trim around the floor looks like it’s made of dog hair, when I have no clean clothes, and I want to use the girls’ bathroom at work because it seems cleaner than my own. Okay, things have never really gotten that bad at our house, but when I’m overwhelmed, that’s how I feel.

Last weekend, we went to a marriage conference in Bettendorf. The speakers said a lot of really basic things, like how it’s important to have a strong relationship with God and to depend on Him to meet your needs instead of relying on your spouse to provide all the love and company and validaton you need. I knew that. But that’s not what I acted like I knew. Unfortunately for Dexter, I’d been failing to make regular, quality time to spend with God and had been relying on Dexter to make me feel loved. We’re human, so we ended up with me feeling disappointed and Dexter feeling defeated.

Having a clean house and bills that leave the house on time are important, good things. But my relationship with God and my marriage are even more valuable to me.

To do a Total Money Makeover on our finances, we’ve gone “back to basics” with our money–we have (almost) no credit cards, we use a cash system, we make a budget, we shop consignment, we sell unneeded things, we devote every Tuesday night to learning more about how to be financially responsible. I feel like we could use a Total Life Makeover, too. Don’t get me wrong, we’re blessed beyond belief to have our home, our jobs, our families, and each other, but I haven’t been acting like I value and appreciate these things. I’m not making a specific goal or vow to “fix” my relationship with God, my marriage, or my responsibilities, but I am taking a look at my priorities to see how the things I say I value are matching up with my actions, and I think my daily activities will look a lot different in the future.

Things that are going to change?

  • Dexter and I will be getting up early three days a week to help each other make time to spend with God and to pray for and with each other. We did this two days last week, and although it’ll take some a whole-freaking-lot of discipline to actually get out of bed early, I think it will have a huge impact.
  • Dexter and I are going to be exercise buddies. We’ve realized that we’re the perfect jogging team. I make him slow down and pace himself, and he encourages me to take longer strides. I’ve found before that discipline in the area of exercise does a lot for discipline in other areas of my life. Most days, I’d rather clean toilets than run, so if I’ve already run, I might as well clean the toilets.
  • Although I don’t have a staying-on-top-of-cleaning-and-the-rest-of-my-life system, I plan to write down what I must accomplish in my daily planner, and some other projects I want to work on. I’ll start working on them soon after getting home from work instead of waiting until I wish I was sleeping.
  • Probably a lot of other things that I don’t realize yet!
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One thought on “The ABCs of Living

  1. As always, I love to read your posts. I just keep thinking of how WISE you guys are! Wish I’d be that smart when I was your age. Anyway, your post reminded me of a concept that I heard about last fall. One of those ideas that you really already know b/c it’s common sense, but it helps to hear it articulated in a way that clicks for you. Anyway, I got to hear the minister and author, John Ortberg, speak at Hope last fall. He talked about the difference between “trying” and “training”. We often say things like “I’m trying to be more patient” or “I’m trying to eat better”. But we don’t TRAIN for those goals. He used this scenario to make his point: He asked how many people could go out and run a marathon today. Not many no matter how hard they tried, no matter the nobility of their intentions. But when you think about whether or not you could TRAIN to run a marathon–the number of contenders goes up. He suggested looking at those “try to” goals and come up with a way to train for them. Seems to me that you and Dexter have some good training ideas that will help you improve the areas of your life that are priorities. Blessing to you both and you continue to grow as individuals and as a couple. Love you lots! Annie

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