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THE LIST.

I listen to life coaching podcasts and find them to be really helpful, really informative, inspiring and fresh full of ideas that I, myself, have never considered before. Lately, I heard an episode by Brooke Castillo about getting rid of your ‘To Do’ list as a source of distraction and burden weighing down your thoughts.

Some people (like my husband) love a ‘To Do’ List. I would say I’m pretty neutral. I consider it a necessary evil. But whatever, this is what she had to say in her podcast about ‘to do’ lists:

To Do Lists take up mental energy. They linger in your thoughts, they take up space in your mind that could be used for way more interesting thinking, creating and productive planning. She suggests that, instead of a list, you take a moment to write down absolutely everything you have to do, from the most pressing important things to the minutiae you put off and put off because it’s not that important to sort the silverware drawer. All of it. Write it all down.

So I did: Weed the garden, work on concert series funding, schedule a meeting with XXX, finalize tshirt design, clean the kitchen, bathroom, vacuum living room, change guitar strings, buy milk, write three songs, schedule storytime, order shoes, go to the garden shop, get merch ready for tour, take a walk, follow up emails on booking, finalize concert schedule, make empanadas, follow up on recording dates to schedule, write that letter, paint Joey’s room, clean office space, throw out dead easter lillies, etc., etc., etc.,…

Then, go to your calendar and schedule every last piece of list content. Choose a date and time for each and every activity. Schedule it today, tomorrow, next week, the week after that, and into the future knowing when and how you’ll get it done and honor the schedule.

What happens is you’ve now transferred all that thought real estate to days and times and you are no longer nagged by incomplete lingering projects and jobs that keep you from thinking forward into the next best idea or daydream.

Truth: I’ve only done this a couple of times, but have seen how helpful it is to honor the schedule, complete tasks and create forward motion- even in the smallest things. Forward momentum makes the pending stuff feel not so impossible and huge. Maybe that helps. It’s helping me.

THE STORY.

Wow, guys. Stories are crazy. Stories have power. Stories aren’t always true just because you’ve lived with them for a long time. Stories are habits just like biting your nails or sleeping with the hall light on.

My mom never thought I was good enough./I’m bad at relationships./ I’m unlovable./ This is as good as it’ll ever get./ I just don’t belong here.

(For the record, I’m guilty of all those stories)

What a bunch of garbage. All those stories do nothing but lock us into repeating crap we’ve already done, and sadness we’ve already experienced. In life, my mom never told me I wasn’t good enough, no one ever looked me in the face and said I was bad at relationships, nobody ever labeled me as unlovable, I’ve never been told this is as good as it’s going to get and I’ve never been told by anyone that I don’t belong here.

I made up a story. I made it up from my own mind and decided it was true until the day I decided that story wasn’t working for me anymore.

It’s surprising to think how many negative thoughts and stories become as important to us as lights on in the hallway to make us feel comfortable.

Who cares if it’s true or not? Rewrite the friggin’ story:

TRUTH: My mom loves me no matter what. We don’t see the world in the same way, our priorities are different, but she loves me so so much. //TRUTH: I’ve made a lot of mistakes in past relationships just like everybody else and I’m not afraid to ask questions about why things went down the way they did so I can love more fully, be more fully myself for others and trust that God is using me in how I love others. //TRUTH: I’ve felt isolated and broken but brokeness does not define me. From brokeness and hurt come empathy and compassion and maybe I’m able to love people in a way so unique and honest that I’ve been called to show up in a special way for exactly the right people I meet. My love story is not over yet. //TRUTH: Who says this is as good as it gets? Is this as good as I want it to get? Maybe not. Maybe it’s time to start confessing what I really want out loud and give myself permission to dream. My new story is believing that I am the author of my days and years.// TRUTH: I belong here. I am meant to be here. I have gifts and talents my community needs and there’s no problem at all if I don’t always fit in with my neighbors. We’re not called to be the same. I’m here to help someone with the gifts I’ve been given and my neighbor is here to teach me a thing or two. Thank God for that! There’s beauty in difference.//

Rewrite the story and find evidence that proves it. Rewrite the story just to claim some power back. You’re the main character. This is your story. No one gets a gold star for suffering in silence and never trying to steer the ship. No one can say, “But look Lord, I never asked for anything, I never spoke up, I never fought for what I wanted. Aren’t you proud of me?”

I think the Lord would say, “I gave you this one life so you’d enjoy all the gifts I wanted to give you- family, friends, creation, love and every new day. I gave you this life so you could become as big and bright and beautiful as I’ve always known you to be. There are no gold stars for sadness or resignation or never raising your hand, you guys.”

LIfe is crazy. Lots of it is out of our control. How we narrate day to day to day to day IS within our control. The story we write about the good stuff and bad stuff is completely our’s so take it seriously. Think about it. Think about how you want to feel and how you want your story to be told, then rewrite those parts that keep you frozen or keep you sad or keep you locked up inside a box you were never meant to be in in the first place.

THE TOUR

The story for tour is: I am so blessed to be in such beautiful musical community that I get the chance to go on the road with two amazing artists (and friends) and spend all those nights listening to their songwriting and laughing along the way.

The story used to be something like; “You suck, get off the stage, the best thing you can do is bow out so the girls aren’t burdened by your presence for ten days.”

And now I have to say a prayer and go look in my basement for Cds I really really hope are down there because I go on tour come Thursday. With two of my very best friends- who are way more organized than I am. I tell myself- just get your ass to the first show and then they’ll tell you where to go from there. Again, I get by with LOTS of help from my friends.

So now, go schedule that walk and that hair appointment and when you’re going to call your mom to say hi, decide this is a great day full of wonder and possibility and GO KICK SOME SERIOUS ASS (in a loving, supportive kind of way). Love, Hope

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