Archive | December, 2013

Eight Ways to Clean Up a Hot Mess (Like Me)

18 Dec

ImageI have to admit, I have really been slacking on handling my money properly.  I’m also struggling in other areas of my life, too.  As Tony Stark says, I’m a piping hot mess. 

Several months ago (it feels like ages), I told a friend that my life felt too neat.  That’s certainly not the case now.  My schedule has been different; my workout schedule has been out of order; I’ve gained weight; I have lost a friend; I’ve tripped over my own self at work; my apartment just can’t seem to get clean; my thought life feels messy; and yes, my finances are a mess.  So, what might be going on to cause all this messiness?  I think there are a few things in my life that are out of order, and if I can put everything back in its rightful place, maybe I will find some neatness again.

1. Prayer

The first thing I need to do to get my life back in order is to spend time with my Papa.  I talk to the Lord. I turn to Him when I need something and when I don’t.  Yet, sometimes I still try to do things on my own.  I just spent nine months completing a Celebrate Recovery step study, where we learn that we can’t do it on our own and that we should turn to Him to help us in all of our steps.  I still try to take the wheel on my own.  God wants to be involved in our lives. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in His way” (Psalm 37:23). He not only wants to be involved in my steps – He wants to celebrate them with me.  It makes Him smile when I turn my steps over to Him.

2. Record Activities

I need to start recording my spending again.  I really have not done well lately.  I started out strong, but by May or June I started slipping back into my old spending habits.  And they’ve reared their ugly, ugly heads.  I spent (no pun intended) a long time forming these bad habits, and I should give myself some grace on changing my habits.  But I also must be deliberate about my actions. I have to set my mind on the things above and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). If I remind myself that it’s His money for me to spend how He asks me to, my desire to spend may change.  “Lord, help me to continue to improve my spending habits. I can’t do it without you!”

3. Make to Do Lists

I can’t even believe I have to put this on my list! I used to be a list person.  I would write everything down.  Sometimes, if I did something that was not on my list, I would write it on my list just so I could scratch it out.  I’m a J on Myers-Briggs.  Somehow I’ve slipped away from that.  I can feel it, too!  I need to start making lists again for sure! In Proverbs 31, the Message version says “She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.”  I’m going to start organizing my day.  A simple list in the morning will keep me on track!

4. Turn off the TV

This is hard for me right now because it’s football season.  I have watched waaaayyyy too much TV lately.  It doesn’t have to be sports, but it usually is.  I find myself watching episode after episode of whatever TV show I have DVR’d.  What a pity and a waste of time.  Tonight, I decided that nothing on TV really appealed to me, so I turned the TV off.  It feels great.  I must do this more often.

I also need to shut off my phone or my computer at night.  I did that earlier this year, and it was REFRESHING! It’s not that difficult to do, but I really feel awkward when I don’t look at my phone.  I might, just might, be addicted!

5. READ

I need to read more. Turning off the TV will help me to do that. I decided earlier this year that I would put down the self-help books. Well, I think I’m ready to start reading them again.  I want to find a book series that will challenge me and keep me busy.  Any suggestions?

6. Eat better

I really, really, really need to improve my eating habits. I mentioned my weight gain at the beginning of this post. I’m so disappointed in the way I’ve handled my diet and my exercise. I have some legitimate excuses for my exercise (maybe?), but the food – no way. I need to eat better.  I need to find a balanced diet again. I don’t really cut any specific food out. Instead I try to eat proper portions.  I’ve not done a great job of that lately, and I’m paying for it now!

7. Think positively

I am my own worst enemy when it comes to my thought life.  I guess most of us are.  I want to be better though. I want to take every thought captive (2 Cor 10:5).  I don’t want to be ruled by my thoughts anymore. I want to rule my thoughts. I lost a friendship earlier this year, and I honestly believe we would still be friends if I would have just realized the truth about myself.  I am my worst critic, and it’s a struggle for me to think positively.  I need to try, and I bet that the more I do it, the easier it will be.  Lord, help me to take every thought captive. I turn my thought life over to you and ask you to change the way I think about myself and others.

8. BREATHE

Sometimes I just need to slow down and breathe! Breathe before I respond. Breathe before I spend. Breathe before I start each day. Breathe and give the Lord time to speak to me.  Every breath should be dedicated to you. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6).

I’m breathing now as I look at the length of this post. This may be one of my longer posts.  I do believe that if I can apply these tips to my life, order may be restored.  How do you restore order in your life?

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