As I open this book, I have a feeling that it’s about to rock my world… boy was I right! I shared my thoughts about Part One, take a listen below:


Below are some thoughts & reflection questions to process from Part One of this book.


Foreward

The foreward of this book is written by none other than Brene’ Brown whose books have inspired me so much in the last few years, so I knew that I was in for another life changing read. If you aren’t familiar with her, stop reading right now and go grab a copy of “Daring Greatly” and follow it up with “Rising Strong”, you can thank me later!

Brene’ starts by honestly sharing that she wanted to skip out on a meeting with Shauna. I so related to this, how many times have we agreed to something just to be overwhelmed when it comes time to do it! She references a quote that touched me, I want to live like this!

“Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ.” – St. Benedict

I love how Brene’ decided rather than cancel, she would welcome Shauna with open arms and an honest heart, telling her the truth of how she really was… “tired, confused and a little lonely”. This was an open invitation for Shauna to drop her guard & be honest with Brene’ about how she was truly doing.

This is such a beautiful picture of how we should be living & connecting with each other! If we drop our guard and share our genuine vulnerable insides, it makes you a safe place for others to do the same with you. This is where true connection and genuine growth and life change happens.


Ship to Wreck 

In this chapter, Shauna discusses how she had built her life and filled “the wagon” so full that she could no longer pull it. It was filled with good things, things she loved, but these things weren’t filling her DEEPEST longings which were connection, meaning and peace. Her health suffered, her relationships suffered, she says, “her ability to taste and connect and feel deeply had been badly compromised.” I can totally relate, several years ago I found myself in a similar place and I was no longer “present” in my own life. Years later, I am still in the process of as Shauna says “remaking my life from the inside out.” From that experience I can say that it takes some serious intentionality, but is totally worth the work. You can find the best time management system in the world and it can’t remake your life the way that finding your worth & purpose in God can.

She closed this chapter with the idea that perhaps we battle the sins of gluttony (the desire to escape) & pride (the desire to prove). We want to “taste and experience everything” & we want to “be perceived as wildly competent”, these things leave us completely exhausted and playing the comparison game. She challenges us to leave that stuff behind and gain a life of meaning, connection & the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father!

Reflections from this chapter:

  • What is my life filled with? Do these things fill the deepest longings of my soul? Do they provide connection, meaning and peace?
  • Spend some time processing the Richard Rohr idea that the skills that take you through the first half of your life are “entirely unhelpful” for the second half. How does that affect our parenting? How do we balance teaching our kids to be productive & practical while still being true to how God made them?
  • Do you find yourself battling gluttony & pride? What are some things that you can lay down to make room for deep connection & meaning in your life?

Sea-change

In this chapter, she uses the term “sea-change” from Shakespeare’s The Tempest where the man is transformed from what he was into something entirely new that was “rich and strange.” She invites us to take a front row seat as we watch her journey of “one way of living to another.” She shares that she was trusting her own “ability to hustle more than God’s ability to heal”. I have totally been here! When I was thick in my battle with anxiety, I just thought I could “cope” my way out of it. I wasn’t at all trusting God’s ability to intervene and change the situation. Shauna also addresses the issue of self care and that she felt like it was for the fragile. The reality is that we need “well tended spirits” and “wise brave souls.” If we choose to spend time in God’s word, in prayer and taking care of our souls, it will pay off!

Reflections from this chapter:

  • She discusses “sea-change” seasons in her life. Make a list of your “sea-changes” and what you learned through them.
  • Do you feel it’s time for a “sea-change” in your life right now? What needs to be worked on from the inside out?
  • Are you measuring your life and successes by outside metrics rather than by the values deeply rooted in your soul? If your values are focused on Jesus and His Word, isn’t that what we should measure our life & successes by?
  • Do you ever stop to think about self care? Does your best energy go to things outside of your home or your home?

Stuffed

In this chapter, Shauna talks about how she had always been a “more is more” person and something shifted her to say “NO more.” This shift made her even seek less of the things that she loved and that made her happy. This is so counter to the culture we live in. Why would you do less of what you love? We’ve all seen the shirts and wall decor that says, “Do What You Love”… and something about that phrase resonates with us. There is a longing inside for that, but when our lives are so full even with things we love, it can still drown out the true desires of our heart to connect and be fully present in our lives. The process of figuring out what to do less of and what to do more of is not a fast one, but slow and steady, choice by choice. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the journey!

Reflections from this chapter:

  • Have you ever hit a “No More” point? If so, did you make changes or did you just press on?
  • Answer the question that Shauna was asked, “if someone gave you a completely blank calendar and a bank account as full as you wanted, what would you do?”
  • Make your own things you need to do “less of” list. Maybe even make a things you need to do “more of” list including things that fill your soul, connect you with those that matter and allow you to be fully present in your life.

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Running Laps

In this chapter, she addresses the idea of “fake resting”, which I honestly rocked me.  I walk around and see the endless projects in my life that I feel “have” to be done and I never truly let my body, mind and soul rest. I love how she says that “fake resting” instead of “real resting” equals “real tired”… anyone?

Shauna comes to the question, “Why do I think managing our possessions is a meaningful way of spending my time?”, if you really spend some time on this question, it has the potential to completely shift the way that you spend your time. She goes on to explain the idea of any activity becoming a “drug” that keeps us from really feeling the true ache of “Am I loved?” and “Do I matter?”. She ends this chapter with the idea that living without these activities in our lives is terrifying, but this is where growth and true life change begins. Isn’t that what we want, friends?

Reflections from this chapter:

  • Do you find yourself “fake resting”? How can you implement some rhythms of TRUE rest into your life?
  • Are there some activities in your life that you have made a “drug” to numb your true feelings and desires? How can you make some changes in the way you spend your time to allow more time to truly connect to the Lord and to those that truly matter?

Dethroning the Idol

In this chapter, Shauna addresses work… work can be any activity that we engage in. It doesn’t have to a job, although it can be. She discusses how there are good benefits to hard work, but it can get dangerous if it morphs into “an impossible standard to meet”, “a frantic way of living” or something that pushes us to “ignore our body and spirit”. We think letting things go makes us look weak or less than… could it be that it actually makes us look strong & wise to those who matter most to us?  We need to be able to know who the girl is behind the accomplishments and determine how to display more of that girl, the one God designed us to be.

Reflections from this chapter:

  • What are your “idols”? What is it that you cling to when you don’t feel beautiful, talented or special?
  • Do you find that you do things solely for others to see your accomplishments? Accomplishments aren’t all bad, but what is your motivation and have those things become your “idol”?

You Put Up the Chairs

 

“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald


Wow, this chapter hit me hard!

Am I “utterly resigned to lives that feel overly busy and pressurized, disconnected and exhausted”?

Most days, the answer sadly is yes! But why do I feel like I have to bow to that way of living… I am NOT trapped by it. Yes, I may not be able to immediately change all the circumstances that make me feel that way, but there are changes that I have control over if I just take the time to evaluate them. It seems wrong to want to keep things small & simple or do things “deliberately slow”, but bigger, faster and busier is not always better. We got ourselves to this hurried place and we CAN get ourselves out by making some intentional decisions to “take down some chairs”.

Reflections from this chapter:

  • How often do we find ourselves ending a conversation with “But what are you going to do?” Do you feel resigned to the fact that you just have to be overly busy and stressed because that’s just how life goes? Do you believe you have another option?
  • Ask your kids this week, what they want to do MORE of as a family. You might be surprised at their answers. Make intentional steps to incorporate their answers into your family’s life. It might mean saying no to some other activities that you have committed to.
  • Take some time to evaluate what takes all your energy. Do you have enough left at the end of the day to fully invest in your husband and your kids? If the true answer is no, you need to “take down some chairs”.

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The Word that Changes Everything

So, obviously if you got this far, you probably realized that “the word” is NO! Shauna says that “no became the scalpel I wielded as I remade my life.” Why is saying no so hard for us, because people like it when we say yes, they don’t like it when we say no. I love the Lysa TerKeurst book, “The Best Yes”, she dives wholeheartedly into this same into this idea. The simple point is that if you aren’t careful with your “Yes” then it will leave you saying “No” to the things and people that are the most important in life. Shauna urges us to draw close to the people in our life that “honor” our No. This is so crucial to the success of making these changes stick. As moms, we feel a little helpless sometimes because so much of our schedule is dictated by our children. I would encourage you to remember that your children do NOT run your home! The choice is yours to make and it may be a tough one as you start to reorient your families’ priorities, but surround yourself with those who are looking to live the same kind of life and it will get easier.

Reflections from this chapter:

  • What do you know you need to say “NO” to in your life right now? What small steps can you take toward simplifying your schedule to focus on what matters most?
  • Who in your life will “honor” your no? Who in your life will make saying no hard? Begin praying that God would surround you with those that you need to help you make these life altering decisions and that He will soften the hearts of those who will be affected by your no.

On Disappointing People

As you begin saying no to things, you WILL disappoint people. Shauna gives us some good news, “you get to decide who you’re going to disappoint, who you’re going to say no to.”, isn’t that reassuring and freeing to think about? We are looking to people to reassure us of our purpose to give us unconditional love, but realistically that can only come from the Lord, so we have to look to Him for that! Since we know disappointing people is inevitable, we should strive to keep from disappointing those in our “inner circle”, but that may mean that we have to tighten that circle!

Reflections from this chapter:

  • In your life right now, who are you disappointing more? Those inside your home or those outside your home? Tough question, BE HONEST!
  • Make a list of who is in your inner circle. Evaluate and be realistic about who should be there, your time and resources is limited and we can’t be all things to all people.

What the Lake Teaches

Shauna shares that for her the lake is a place where “her priorities reshuffle” and they begin “aligning more closely” with her true nature. I think it’s important for us to figure out where that place is for us. Many of us can’t physically go to “the lake” often, but my guess is that we can find a sacred quiet place that will help us recharge & realign. For Shauna, her “addiction of motion” was so deep that it took a “dramatic gesture” to make the changes take hold. You might find yourself in that place too, I know I did a couple of years ago. Reading Shauna’s journey has helped me realize that I am on a similar one in my own life right now. A journey back to a simpler less busy life… our schedule is still full, but as I look at it now, it is full of things that provide the connection and meaning that we long for as a family.  We are also learning what it means to incorporate times of rest into our busy schedules. We are not by any means good at this yet, but I do sense a shifting and reorienting of our lives and how we spend our time.

Shauna closes this section with the idea that “what people think about you means nothing in comparison to what you believe about yourself”, what a powerful thing to think about.

Reflections from this chapter:

  • Is there a place or space that makes you “come alive”? If so how can you find more time in your schedule to rest and recharge in that space? Let God truly speak to you there and help you discover where changes need to be made in your life.
  • Are you truly content with your life & your family’s schedule? Ask the hard questions, discuss it as a family. Lay it all before the Lord and let Him help you sort it out!


 Ok friends, I know there’s alot in this book to process. Let’s process it together, share your thoughts and what God is showing you through this book below!

Please join the conversation by commenting below:


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