This week I have asked a range of people “what do you want out of life? I have had a range of responses, but sadly all too many just looked at me blankly. They had no clear goals, no vision for the future past getting out of RAAF Wagga Connected with that, Chaplain Walter and I presented a seminar on time management, but as I looked at the material, I had to admit that it was very vocationally orientated. At my stage in life with only a couple of years to retirement that material, though relevant to all stages of life, failed to scratch where I was itching. What I am looking for is peace and contentment! If that is my goal, how do I find it? Here are a couple of hints:
1. Learn to set limits! This has always been important, but as I get older there are more things, even good things that I have to say “no” to. Only then will I have the ability and energy to do what is best and be at peace!
2. Slow down! In our society and culture we think that to be effective we need to be always doing something, and going as fast as we can. If you want to know peace and contentment you need to pause and consider the big picture, think before you act. For some that might mean learning effective relaxation techniques, taking up meditation or yoga or starting a journal.
3. Balance! That covers a balanced diet, good sleep habits, as well as balancing the demands of work, study and family relationships. If you have set the right limits, and slowed down that will be easier, but flexibility is the key to maintaining that balance.
4. Declutter! I have to admit that I tend to be a hoarder, but if I am serious about getting the right things out of life I have to be prepared to get rid of the stuff that is cluttering up my life. The media constantly tells us that we need more, better, newer things, but all too often these things weigh us down and require something from us. Most of the time it is the simple things that really matter.
5. Be fearless! Refuse to allow fear to control your life. Choose not to make mountains out of molehills! Most of those things that we are fearful about never happen. Other things that we avoid due to our fear are sometimes the challenges we need to grow to the next level, so go for it!
6. Live one day at a time! You cannot change the past, so don’t waste time and energy worrying about it. Learn from it and move on. Making the most of today is the only way find contentment and not have to live with regrets.
7. Pray! My experience is that God has a plan for my life, and it is only as I seek his help that I can get all these other things sorted out. Have you ever considered the fact that maybe prayer and worship might hold the missing key to your finding peace and contentment?
Well, that is where I’m at this week, trying to rethink who I am and where I am going. What do you want out of life? If you just want to be happy, the above points also apply. None of these seven points are very difficult, but if you are having trouble ‘doing it’ seek out someone you trust to help you though it. As it has been said, “This is your life, it’s not a dress rehearsal!”
Chaplain Ian S Whitley