{happiness challenge} prioritizing and living

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I love the happiness challenge. You'll notice the summer season is quite a busy one in my life, and when I do have time to come back here that's where I usually go to. I've been behind a little bit so I'll do a little catch up. Last time we chatted we were going to work on Prioritize Your Desires. I really thought Elder Oaks put it so eloquently:

“Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming.” (General Conference, October 2012)
― Dallin H. Oaks

I noticed that prioritizing my desires was much different than prioritizing my time. I found that some things I desired greatly were not so important and they became less important as less desirable as I thought about them. I also found myself dreaming different things for our future and seeing things as possibilities that were only "lottery dreams", you know, the kind that would only happen if you suddenly had a million dollars.

The week we missed was linked to that last one, so if you've been working in on Prioritizing Your Desires for a couple of weeks, you've probably already started to Remember What Matters Most:

"We should not need a hurricane or other crisis to remind us of what matters most...What matters most is what lasts longest." (General Conference, Oct. 2005)
― M. Russell Ballard

Again, the Elders know how to say things so eloquently and really get me thinking in a new way. "What matters most is what lasts longest." I knew this to a certain extent. Of course my relationship with Heavenly Father, my marraige, and my eternal family are what is most important because they will last eternally. But this works in a temporal, mortal way as well. I have a job I enjoy, but hopefully won't need to work at forever. But even after money stops being a consideration, there are passions and pursuits that I so desperately want to pursue, things that I will love until I die or even after that. But I so frequently relegate them to the back of my to do list and never spend time on them saying "One day when I don't have to work." But they will last longer than my job will, so I've begun dreaming and planning and working on them little by little. It's not much, but it is so fulfilling and gives me the will to last a little longer, work a little harder, and be a little happier in the mean time.

So on to this next week's challenge:

Again, this one builds upon the last. I do this thing every once in a while that I love. I don't have a name for it, but I do it every few years to really map out where I am, where  I am going, and how I want to get there. I take some paper and I draw out what my ideal me would look like, with words. It usually looks like a cloud chart. I have big bubbles for major things, usually it's something like "spiritual, mental, social, physical" or different roles like "Wife, Mother, Myself, Citizen". Then I draw lines out and write words or lists of words that describe who I want to be and what I want to do like "read books, have bookclub, read with kiddos each night" etc. When I am done I have a big beautiful visual representation of who I want to be.

I know you might be thinking, "Great, another list of all the wonderful things I'm supposed to be doing but am failing miserably at." It's true that when we start making lists of all the ideas we aren't living up to it can be disheartening, but this is different. First of all, this is list written and determined by you. Just you. Well, you can have a little input from only eternal sources like your spouse and Heavenly Father, but nothing can go on the map that doesn't speak to your heart, mind, and spirit. The next thing is to realize is that this is not a single snapshot, it's a compilation of things to be and do at different times and in different seasons. Heavenly Father doesn't expect us to be perfect all at once and neither should we. Once the big beautiful inspiring map is complete, you just pick a couple of things on the map that you want to improve or start becoming first. Then you work on those and whenever you feel like you've got that down or that a new season requires a new dimension or goal you add a new one.

The key is to slowly and consistently build up a little more of what we want to be every day. Like Elder Scott says, we become something by consistently being it everyday. But we don't have to become everything all at once. Life is for learning and living and progressing. 

What kinds of things do you use help you become what you want to become? 

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