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Non-negotiables and purposeful living

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. [Philippians 3:12]

So, umm… yeah… I am without excuse for neglecting this blog for the past two months. I do have a list of lousy excuses, though, in case you’re curious:

  • sold a house
  • bought a house
  • relatives flew in from Brazil, California & Kentucky as I unloaded the moving truck
  • got sued (well, my employer did, and I handled PR for that)
  • helped a friend run her business after she fired key staffer
  • said “yes” to too many volunteering appeals
  • developed alarming addiction to Lifetime movies

To those of you who have stuck around here despite the cobwebs and chirping crickets, THANK YOU. You are greatly appreciated.

So, speaking of summer drama and blog abandonment, I’ve been thinking about balancing last-minute emergencies and opportunities without losing sight of priorities. You know, the non-negotiables: stuff that has to be watered and fed, no matter what.

Michael Hyatt, president of Thomas Nelson, blogged a while back about his non-negotiables, or “disciplines that if practiced faithfully would make the biggest impact on the quality of your life this year.” Michael’s top three include Bible reading, prayer and exercise, which I really like (even if I avoid exercising like the plague).

Now, my problem is that while I LOVE planning, defining tactics and goals, I suck at implementing them. Michael offers two tips for tackling that obstacle:

1. Get an accountability partner. “Knowing I will have to give [my accountability partner] an account is sometimes just the leverage I need to get up and get with it,” he writes.

It’s true. I used to be part of a small accountability group that met monthly and would charge you $20 if you failed to complete one of your monthly goals — that’s $20 per failed item. After a while, the money would go to charity. (This example is a bit extreme, but you get the idea.)

2. Slay your dragons before breakfast. “If I can get the first couple of disciplines knocked out first thing in the morning,” Michael writes, “the rest of them will follow like beads on a string.”

Henry Ward Beecher called the first hour of the day the “rudder” of the day, effectively directing how the rest will go. Dan Miller writes, “If you get up late, grab a cup of bad coffee and a Twinkie, rush to work fuming at the idiots in traffic, and drop down exhausted at your desk at 8:10, you have set the tone for your day. Everything will seem like pressure and your best efforts will be greatly diluted.”

They’re right. We have a short amount of time on this earth to make significant, lasting impact. Time for more purposeful living, laser-focused efforts, and some dragon-kickin’ thrown in for good measure.

And that’s non-negotiable.


5 Responses

  1. Ummm… does this mean that we can’t eat Twinkies for breakfast anymore?

    And if we do, does that mean that we owe you $20?

    It’s good to see you back! Great post. awesome reminders!


  2. I really like the “slay your dragons before breakfast” heading. That’s just too cool. And making a strong start is very important. It’s like laying a foundation. Everything else is just building on top, and it won’t last if the foundation wasn’t strong. Realizing that our time is not just here to be filled but should be filled in a profitable manner is also a great thing to remember and helps keep us on our toes.

  3. Thanks, Dan & Michael! Yep, that will be $20 per Twinkie. (Seriously, I once heard of a guy in that group whose goal was to set up a web site for his company. He paid about $1,500 in “accountability fees” before he finally did it…)

  4. Hey Andrea- Love your blog. Also love the coffee-centric theme! (did you check out my Starbucks posting?)
    Good reminders, and I confess that I have a very volatile track record in maintaining the “disciplines” to keep me spiritually focused. Life in 21st century America with the kids, the job, the church, etc etc. can get too busy and unpredictable. Anyways, I do alaways end up coming back to these basics, though.
    PS – I had a friend a few years ago who was one of the most spiritually dynamic men I knew (big-time executive, worship leader, bible-study leader, etc) and he confessed to me that he NEVER did the “quiet-time-devotion” thing. Ever. He obviously got his spiritual feeding through his act of leading others and participating in fellowship/worship. Hmmm.

  5. Thanks, Camel dude 🙂 Yes, I do share your coffee fixation! Your friend intrigues me… I’ve always heard that, as in any relationship, you can know a lot ABOUT the Lord, but it takes one-on-one time to know Him personally… That’s interesting… Thanks for the visit!

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