For eleven years, I taught children. They might’ve been teenage children, but they were moldable, able to be disciplined, and (even though I’m fun) generally controllable. Now I teach adults. Pause for a moment and let that sink in. What am I going to do to an adult who does not do his or her homework for a computer training class? Put him in the corner? It’s with this dilemma and memories of my own former high school and middle school classrooms that I have discovered gamification.
To gamify something means to make a game out of it. You wouldn’t believe what teachers would do to win banana pudding or two hours of me teaching their worst classes 🙂 In a recent training series, just being on teams with the same color helped teachers to encourage one another to do their best work and to do it on time.
What does this have to do with anything? To me, if there’s anything I can do to engage my willpower a little more, I want to do it. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that meeting goals is not always my strong suit 🙂 That’s why I’ve written the kind of posts I have, and that’s why my blog is named what it is, The Beam in My Eye. I know I have a lot of weaknesses. I need help addressing them, and I thought that today I would give you some practical tips I’m using to help myself maintain excitement about my goals–in other words, these are the ways I’m gaming my own motivation. I’ve talked about weight loss on here and my struggle to pray, as well as many other goals like organization that I have yet to achieve. With that being said, let’s talk about some tools I’m using to help myself reach my goals and to add that little bit of childhood play that engages my willpower.
There are so many ways to reach goals that I haven’t mentioned here. I’m just discussing a few apps, the use of stickers, and the importance of relationships to achieve permanent change. What other tools would you like to share? I’d love to hear them! Tell you what, if you share the best idea in the comments below AND you have an iPhone, I will buy you the Commit app! So let’s get this comments party started!
I taught public school for eleven years. During that time, these were just some of the jobs I had:
Relay for Life Team Captain. Who knew that volunteering to help meant you were the leader? Not a second-year-teacher, apparently. Reading Department Chair. Beta Club Sponsor. Academic Bowl Coach. Cheerleading Coach. Don’t you have to be able to at least do a cartwheel for this? I prove otherwise. Hospital-Homebound Tutor. Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl Coach. Here’s a shout-out to Etowah for dominating last year:)
In the words of Cher, “And the beat goes on.”
I’ve been involved in the same small church for twenty years, and the story there is the same. Worship leader. When-there’s-a-choir director. Sunday school teacher. Missions advocate. Wedding and funeral singer. Camp and retreat director. There are a million more, but I’m getting tired even looking at my own list…
I can’t even count how many times or people in my life ask me, “Suzy, why don’t you slow down?” Ironically, they are the same ones who ask me to help and appreciate my volunteer spirit. Ha, ha! Caught you there! I’ve tried slowing down. It’s almost impossible for me. I told my brother that I must have four times the average number of thoughts in a single day. Even if I’m lying down, my mind is running a constant to-do list.
You can see it. They can see it. I can see it.
No one could possibly do all the things I feel I must do and still do them well. As the old adage goes, I often find myself being “Jack of all trades but master of none.” There was a lady in the Bible who I’m sure could have related to me. Martha. She always gets a bad rap from those who would say to be more like Mary. I appreciate worship. I love it and have led it for years. But I’m sure I’m not the only one who has yelled at times, “Why am I the only one doing all the work?” as Martha did that oft-quoted day. Most times the rage has been inward, but at other times, I’ve let it spill over onto those “Marys” sitting there hanging out while I cook or clean or break my back. Maybe they’re worshipping or taking time for the important things, but all I see is one thing. Laziness. Was that too forward? No, hopefully you were hoping for some honesty and relatability in this post.
I’m not going to stop being Martha. My husband has earned the nickname “Crockpot” because it seems we can never leave the house for a function without my asking him to carry his namesake. (On that note, here’s mine and I love it for travel!)
If I am destined to be Martha, how can I use it to my good? What practical advice can I take away from the Martha vs. Mary saga? Let’s read their story first from Luke 10, NKJV:
38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’[k] feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41 And Jesus[l] answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Psalm 127 Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
I discussed more thoughts on this post on Facebook Live Truth Tuesday. Did you miss it? We meet there every week at 8:30 PM EST, but in the meantime, here’s the conversation about this episode:
Accept the gift of rest today, Beloved. Let’s not do our work in vain. Has this post encouraged you to rest or to temper your gifts? Leave a comment below.
This post is adapted from one I originally published as a guest post on a friend’s blog. Read more about my journey to depend on Jesus for rest in this post as well.
Prayer should not be hard, but I’ve spent much of my life wrestling with it, as I shared in my previous post, “Get Down on It”.
And the struggle must be real, because my friend Jamie just wrote about very same thing. I was challenged this week to spend an extended amount of time in prayer, longer than I’ve ever spent. If I’m not anything else, I’m dependable. As long as I don’t forget what I’m supposed to be faithful to (ha!), if someone’s counting on me, I will be there. There was an ongoing prayer chain, and when one of us was done, another would be taking over. As I write this, one sister is taking up her link in the chain, and another will start this evening. I knew the night of my “assignment” was coming, and yet, I struggled with knowing if I could make the whole time matter. Jesus’ disciples felt the same way; on the most important night of their friend’s life, they fell asleep repeatedly when he asked them just to pray with him for one hour.
[Tweet “What if all of us stopped looking at prayer as a chore and started looking at it as a date?”]
When I am out with my husband or with our best couple friends, Chris and Toshia, hours pass and I don’t even look at the clock. I enjoy being with them. And the whole time, I’m talking and listening. None of that bores me. What are we doing when we pray? We are talking and we are listening, the same as on a night out. Better than that, we are spending time with someone who can actually solve our problems, not just hear us discuss them. That’s amazing and should be spur us to pray to the one who wants the greatest intimacy with us!
The thing about me and prayer is that once I get into it and fight through my flesh, I love it! However, would I be able to fight the flesh for that long? That question led me to think of ways I could sustain my energy, focus, and enthusiasm throughout this time I was asked to join the prayer chain. I thought I might share some ideas birthed out of this concern with those of you who struggle to pray as well. Ready for the list? Here it is!
This list is great, but may I say something else? Prayer is not a gimmick. As I said in my “Season of Seeking” post, God only cares about our prayers if we care about them. There is no substitute for blood, sweat, and tears in our sustained time with the Lord. God knows when I have five minutes to sincerely pray, and He will move in that, but He also wants to see me pray until something happens, and that may take years, not just hours. Want proof? Just check out these stories of how both Daniel in the Old Testament and the disciples in the New tarried on the answer from God, and in both cases, the answers were worth it! I promise the same will be true for you.
So will you join me on this prayer journey? Comment below with your thoughts AND the numbers from the list that might reinvigorate your prayer life.
As I was reading from my favorite place, Pinterest of course, I came across an amazing post and then from that, another blog where I read that there were other people in the world who didn’t like to clean. What? I always feel that I’m the only one, that everyone else’s house is perfect. Or at least if they don’t have kids, their houses are perfect. Sadly, I’m one of those who has to meet people at the door if I’m not expecting them, to avoid their seeing the dog-hair tumbleweeds or the dishes I haven’t gotten to yet. As I shared in a previous post, part of the reason I started this blog is to encourage some public accountability, but none of you have come banging down my door yet, so…
It’s time for me to get down on it. You know, like the disco song? I find myself quoting it in everyday life, but not just about cleaning. Cleaning is just what triggered my need to “get [my] back up off the wall.” Anyone else dancing? Just me? Okay, well…I have several areas where I need to just take action. But I know me. I know how many times I’ve tried EVERYTHING and failed at it. And I also know I’m a multi-tasker, so I can’t just focus on one thing at a time. Doesn’t work.
So, this is a four-part challenge. It’s time for me (and hopefully, you) to pump ourselves up and participate in the
I’ve decided that what makes an outfit cute is rarely the outfit itself but the person wearing it, and the one thing all the cute outfits have in common is that they’re worn by skinny people. Anybody with me? My husband is so kind to say that he doesn’t want a girl with a huge thigh-gap (Praise God!), but I wouldn’t mind a little draft blowing between the knees myself:) So that makes two things, a clean house and physical fitness, that I need to change.
But what else?
I remember being in a revival where I had a vision. I don’t care if anyone else thinks this is silly, but it was profound for me. I had struggled for years and years with wanting to pray, and even praying about praying, but faithfulness in that area was not there for me. I felt God say to me (He tells it like it is to those who do the same), “If I hung on that cross for you, you can get up at ________ in the morning and pray. Stop being lazy.” Part of the vision was also that I needed to put a sign over the numbers on my alarm clock that told me (in short form) what He spoke to my spirit. I told my pastor’s wife, because as you read in my “Good Advice” post, accountability is key to follow through. That vision carried me for a long time, and even though I have been (mostly) faithful with my morning prayers, they are not like they used to be. I love Jesus more than anything else in my life, and I need to prove that to myself by acting on that love. As my sweet friend Jamie and DC Talk remind us, “Love is a verb.”
Along with prayer, reading the Word is paramount. I really want to get into scripture journaling that I’ve read about here (and and that I’m going to teach my friends about on our cabin weekend coming soon!), because I know that the same Word you’ve read many times really does come alive when, and only when, you couple it with prayer and read with a pen in hand. A pretty pen nonetheless!
Are there more things I need to change in my life? Absolutely. Eating less is one of them that I hope to take with some of my readers using this Made to Crave post. However, eating less is not something I need to do more of, so it doesn’t fit in this category.
My thirty-day lifestyle change is called a change, because I don’t just want another challenge. I want to commit to something and do it. What else is there to do in March anyway? It’s blustery, as Pooh Bear would remind us, and it’s leading us into Spring, a time when we can start over, even if we didn’t quite get started in the New Year.
[Tweet “My thirty-day lifestyle change is called a change, because I don’t just want another challenge. I want to commit to something and do it.”]
So what is the change? Are you ready?
It will have four parts and will start March 1:
What will you get for all this? Take a picture of your checklist-in-progress and post it to my fanpage for the blog every day. More pictures (like every day!) equals more chances to win the items below.
Ready? Let’s get down on it! Comment below if you are joining me in the lifestyle change.
“And I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.” Such is the lament of one of my favorite Disney
characters, Alice. I often feel the same way. This blog was intended to be a place where I gave myself very PUBLIC good advice, in hopes that I would actually act on it with Jesus’ help. So how am I faring since I started blogging in the New Year? I thought it might be time for an update, because I know we all enjoy other people’s confessions:)
Overeating: I have been pretty good about this for about a week, no thanks to the fact that none of you signed up for Made to Crave with me…sniffle, sniffle. I was excited to see Tisha win the book–send me your address, girl! There is still time to sign up. I don’t want to do the study unless some of you are going to join me, so just leave a comment on my original post “Made to Crave Giveaway” to let me know I can count on you.
Organization: I have given away so much stuff lately, y’all, to the point that my mom cried and thought I was moving away without telling her. No, I just needed to get rid of stuff. However, there is still so much to do to get this house in shape. I did take a trip to The Container Store (and La Madeleine) with my mom yesterday to buy a teabag organizer. Does that count? And I also labeled it when I got home. I can take organization a lot better than cleaning, which is especially miserable, because it is never done. Anyone else with me? Read my post about the why of organization here.
Money Management: Okay, so Dusty tells me he budgets in his head. I am not entirely, or at all, comfortable with that. I want to see our debts being paid down and our savings increasing. Maybe he can take what’s in his head and make me some charts:) If you follow me on Pinterest, you know I like pretty! I did download this pattern to make the Dave Ramsey money envelopes. Perhaps I should read my Pinterest time-management article again to motivate myself to sew that pattern while I’m off this week. What about today?! Then I could post a picture here and at least feel accomplished in one area, ha ha. Not in actual saving, but in the making-a-cute-envelope-intended-for saving way.
Wedding Planning: First of all, let me say that this part of my blog has nothing to do with the rest of it. I am hoping to host it elsewhere once I get some more pictures done. I wanted to apprentice myself (offer my slave labor) to a wedding planner who managed a friend’s event last year. And I received a rejection email! What’s up with that? She apparently didn’t have time to let me follow her around. I’m sad:( I am still the special events coordinator for Wildlife Action Center (see pretty pictures here), so if you know of anyone who would like FREE wedding planning services and is willing to take a chance on me, my first three brides are free. I am also thinking of hosting an open house, so again, send me those contacts. I guess I can say I’ve done my part in this area, so on one out of four, I have achieved!
1. “Ask and ye shall receive.” The first step is to ask Jesus to remind us of our commitments and why they are important to both Him and us. Then we have to daily depend on Him to carry us through, confessing any missteps and asking Him to show us a better way.
2. Make the goals public. I have done that, but maybe you haven’t. Or maybe you need to publicly discuss your struggles. When people think we’ve taken care of something, they lose the feeling that they still need to hold us accountable, so it’s good if we let them know we are still weak in an area.
3. Which leads me to step three. Have an accountability partner. You need someone who has achieved the goal you are striving for, or someone who will actively work through your process with you. It also needs to be someone who will actually remember to hold you accountable and who isn’t afraid to tell you to the truth with love. Now recruiting…
What does that title mean? How do I waste time on youtube and still do it efficiently? I am going to give you some tips in this short(er) post.
1. Watch with a purpose. I will confess I have an Alejandra.tv addiction. If you have never watched “my friend” Alejandra in action, you will love her. She seems so sweet and unscripted…and so unlike me in the clean and organized department. I don’t sit around and look up funny animal videos, nor do I click on every video I see posted on facebook. Where do people find time for that? Instead, when I do have some time to watch videos, I find myself returning to these subconscious questions:
2. Make a list. If you’ve ever found yourself sucked into the blackhole of YouTube or the Internet in general, you know that you can spend a lot of time looking at nothing. Even if the search starts innocently and with total purpose, it’s easy to get sidetracked by the sheer volume of what is out there. I started to notice that habit with myself, so I started making a list. For instance, with every Alejandra video I watched, I would start writing down good ideas from the videos. Here is the link to my good ideas from several of her videos.
3. Use the ideas. By definition, useful means that, um, we are able to use something. If I watch a video and never use the ideas, I am really just wasting time and turning my brain into mush. What I do to make sure the ideas are used, aka useful, is that I have the Google Sheets and Google Drive apps on my phone. Both are free, so that I can take my inspiration list everywhere I go. I feel a trip to The Container Store coming on:) With that said, like I advised in my Pinterest-related blog post, budget has to be key. We can’t go hog-wild at a store buying stuff we can’t afford to organize the mountains of stuff we should probably donate anyway. I want to use the YouTube ideas to both get tasks done and bless others with my financial responsibility.
Let me end with this, a prayer for productivity:
Lord, you know the purpose of this blog is to chronicle my journey of becoming more Jesus-dependent and less independent. I often feel convicted about wasting time. Help me, Lord, to “redeem the time, for the days are evil.” I don’t want to waste a minute that could be used to change the world. In Jesus’ name, amen!
What do you do to become more productive? Are you inspired by the ideas I’ve shared? Let’s get the discussion going below.
A few years ago, my husband posted on Facebook that he had lost his wife to Pinterest. Other men quickly concurred in the comments section. I LOOOOOOVE crafts. I always say to my mom, “I saw this thing on Pinterest. Let’s do it. It’s so easy!” Can I get a witness that it’s never that easy? And that it never looks like the picture? My mom and I have a jingle for our failed projects. We pretend we’re on a craft show (that no one would actually watch except to laugh!), and we’re singing, “Crappy Crafts with Suzy and Sally.”
I say all that to say this–Pinterest is addictive! If you’ve never been on it, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Really. It’s an online bulletin board of every craft, recipe, tip, or idea you’d ever want to tackle. All by people who seem to have it together:) I “pin” away day after day, but the deal is, I never do most of the projects I’ve deemed pin-worthy. While off on Christmas break, I decided that I needed a system to deal with all my pins. I must have chosen them because I wanted to do them, right? And so I should do them, right?
Here’s my system. Go ahead and open Pinterest in a new tab on your browser so you can do this now. I’ll wait…
Number One: Create a new board. Call it “Make Over Break” or “Make This Week” or whatever fits your timeline. I’ve found that goals are attainable only if they’re tied to a specific time. “I’ll get to that sometime” is a thought that is debilitating to me. I would also consider your budget now; those make-your-own-wood-floor posts look great and all, but I don’t even have the money (or inclination) for cheap wood right now. So you have your board ready to go, right?
Number Two: I don’t know about you, but I really like a sense of accomplishment. Make another new board, and name it something like, “Made It on Pinterest.” We are going to use this board to pin the things that Pinterest has actually helped you complete.
Number Three: Go through each board you have and look at every pin. As you look, you will repin to the two new boards you’ve made. Decide which of your pins can be accomplished with the budget and time framework you established for the “Make Over Break” board. As you look, repin just those pins to the first board. If there’s something you’ve already done, pin it to the second board. I found that I had done sixty-two things!
Tip! Your phone doesn’t always show all your pins, so this step is best done on a tablet or computer.
Tip for a tablet! Fast fingers! Rather than clicking through to the pin and repinning from there, slide up to see the pushpin symbol for quicker repinning. You may do the same on a computer using the PIN IT quick button.
Number Four: Start to accomplish the tasks on your first board. Then, if you have the urge, you can repin those tasks to the second board. (I know I’m not the only one who sometimes adds items to a to-do list after they’re done just so I can cross them off.) Make sure to take great pictures of all the projects, especially the failed ones. Share them with me–then I won’t feel so bad about myself, and Mom and I might let you on our show once it hits the big-time.
I had to share this Pinterest fail, and I will apologize to McKenzie later. I have no idea what it was supposed to be, but not this–thing.
I want to end by connecting you back to this blog’s purpose. I am allowing Jesus to help me with everything. Everything I spend my time on and everything I struggle with. If you went through the steps above and realized that you are not using Pinterest to accomplish any goals, stop using it. It is a waste of your time. However, if you find that you are like me and have used it to bless yourself and those around you, maybe the system I shared will be one you can use to make that area of your life more productive.
Please comment below to let me know how the system works for you and YOU MUST share pinterest fails:)
This blog is all about depending on Jesus for everything. If you missed the why behind my organization, read this post.