I’m sitting here staring at a blank page right now, knowing that I need to write a blog post for this week – if for no other reason than I committed to it – and in this season of life, that’s enough. Being intentional has been an “in-process” place and space of my life for many, many years. I was a busy girl. I’m now a busy woman. But I’m also a tired woman, too. I am a woman who has worn herself out with unintentionality, “commitment-phobia,” and reparation of possible hurt feelings (of family and friends turned-down invitations) with an overzealous yes-streak about a mile wide. Note: the yes-streak has come to an end as of late. There are some (many) blessings in special parenting!
And as I’ve adventured in each of these choices (and choices they are!), I have made “tired” a lifestyle – and I’ve made for myself an unpredictable life. Which brings me to where the Holy Spirit is guiding our conversation to today… Have you heard two words self-sabotage before?
Each of the ways that I was living life, presently live life, and perhaps might live life in the future (all listed above) have been separating me from God, and the “peace that surpasses all understanding” that I aim to just be in on my path.
Today, let’s just touch on the trap that I (and many of my clients) have fallen into…
Don’t Plan Your Steps
Let’s just be funny for a moment. What if this was your life’s work. What if you happened around repeating, “I Won’t Plan My Steps,” each and every day? Can you imagine?? No matter what goal you have, I’m guessing that you probably would see an advancement away from your goal, or (by Divine intervention) limited and scattered results at best from your efforts.
What I’m saying is this: The less time that you spend on an action plan that is associated with your goals, the more likely you’ll be to rock the sabotage! (If you’re done reading my babblings by now, you can just scroll down to Closing Notes for a fun practice! But perhaps read this next sentence first.) Keeping your plan simple is the antidote to self-sabotage. Simple, for me, means letting the Lord guide my steps.
In Proverbs 3:6 it says, “in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
You can be sure that when you aren’t sure of your next steps, Papa (our Heavenly Father) is absolutely sure of them. Here are my two tips with this… First, pray over everything. And second, listen for His response. If it isn’t audible, as is the case with most planning processes (like allllll the circumstances where God doesn’t outright say, “Jennifer, you should work on your three-year engagement plan and this is exactly what it looks like”), take the next most-clear step.
This brings me to a story in my personal life.
In 2012, I was praying for Papa to lead me to a career path that would give me a sense of success and self and abundance. I was recovering from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, an awful autoimmune crash that left me unable to walk, and the combined griefs of raising a medically fragile baby and losing a dear friend. I threw myself into working my pop-up mama yoga business, totally unsure of the next step on my path. As I hopped around, I finally found a job in maternal-child health that I felt was filling my well. But then in late 2013, the role changed and the budget was cut. With a sad heart, I came home. I didn’t take two breaths to determine the next most-clear step, and I opened up a yoga studio.
Within six months, it failed.
The yoga studio chapter of my life was me not asking and taking the next “most-clear” step, for sure! It was me scrambling to find my life’s purpose. As I spent the entire first season with no marketing plan and blindly excited from cash flow that didn’t cover expense, I began to realize that I still wasn’t reaping the rewards that I wanted to from my career or my life. I wanted success (I had full classes!), a sense of self (I was more present than before!!), and abundance. Yet in this season, I was going home at night tired and in full knowing that my time was completely embedded in something that couldn’t give me the extra income I desired to help our family finances.
The next “most-clear” step matters.
It matters a lot! That doesn’t mean that some seasons of life aren’t about our testimony from a test; it just means that perhaps God uses our “mistakes” for our good. I mean, we have free will… so we can’t make him responsible for everything!
As I wrap up my words to you here today, I want to encourage you to take some time for reflection on your path. I took that season of life (and self-sabotage) and made my next most-clear step count. You can too.
A question for you today:
Are you sabotaging your potential because you don’t have a plan? If you are, what does making an action plan look like to you?? Read on for an awesome exercise that I found a few years back!
Let’s add a tool to your toolbox.
The Successful Steps Formula
In part taken from The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield, this is an exercise that I use in my coaching practice with my clients, today. Here’s my spin on it:
Step 1. Write out your goal, and pray about the next step.
Step 2. Clearly identify your bad or unproductive habits (as they relate to your goal).
Step 3. Define your successful habit (to move toward your goal).
Step 4. Create an action plan (steps that you know God wants for your path, or ones that are the next most-clear steps to move you toward your goal).
My goal is to get more sleep.
The habit that is holding me back is scrolling through social media while in bed.
The consequences of this habit are that I’m always tired and grumpy with my kids.
The NEW habit that I have is to charge my phone in the bathroom.
The benefits of this habit is that I am getting enough sleep, and I have a better relationship with my kids!
The actions I need to take are as follows:
- Move charger to bathroom.
- Set an alarm on my phone to remind me when to turn it off for sleep (10 pm).
- Praise myself every morning for making a good choice when I wake up well-rested.
How does this process resonate with you? Are you ready to knock self-sabotage on it’s nose??
As always, I am for you, Papa is for you, and we both love you as the amazingness that you are – as you move toward the amazingness that you’re made to be!