Man, it's been a tough year, hasn't it? I don't know about you, but I've felt like I've been in survival mode these last 12 months. In episode 036 of the podcast, I share 10 things that have helped me survive 2020. These things are timeless and aren't limited to this year alone. Let's head into 2021 living a real and authentic life as we "get tryin'" together.
#1 - Prayer/Scripture
Scripture has to be the root of all we do. Don't look at this a cliche, but as an opportunity to be connected to the Lord. Prayer is how we talk to the Father, thank Him, make requests to Him. We need this to be our foundation.
Scripture I mentioned in this episode:
#2 - Regular Bedtime
I'm the dude that up until about a year ago would spend, I mean, all hours of the night up, like, I mean, to three o'clock in the morning was nothing for me to go to bed. But I would feel miserable the next morning. That was not good for my health, not good for my work, not good for my family. There is something about us getting a good night's rest.
#3 - Limited Screen Time
Number three is limited screen time. And we need to put this into practice because we have an addiction to screens, which is unhealthy. And it is getting looked over by lots of people who are justifying this addiction as just something you like to do. And I'm telling you, people try your best to put your phone down for a while and tell me if you don't feel the calling from your phone, that you just need to pick it up.
Moment - This is an app that I didn't mention in the episode but is a huge help in holding you accountable to your screen time.
#4 - Allsides.com
Allsides.com "strengthens our democratic society with balanced news, diverse perspectives, and real conversation. We expose people to information and ideas from all sides of the political spectrum so they can better understand the world — and each other." - Direct quote from allsides.com
#5 - Intentional Learning
All right, number five is intentional learning. And this is kind of vague. But I've always tried to be a person who grows and learns and does my best to be a better person the next day, better than I was the day before. And so this is something I think we all can do better about is having a perspective that we need to learn. We need to be able to be open to the fact that we don't know everything. So how I go about doing this is I subscribe to leadership podcasts. I subscribe to audiobooks, I read books, I set goals for myself. And the big one for me is I evaluate my weaknesses. So where are some areas I'm just not really great at and I need to grow? And that's something I do, I will write those down. And I'll say, Okay, now I know this is something I'm weak about, how can I get better at this, and then I set up a strategy. So using these podcasts, reading books that will help me guide in that direction, how you scripture pull that in, I'll set goals for myself to grow in those things. So intentional learning is something every single person should be doing.
#6 - Books/Audiobooks
I want to give this disclaimer, both these authors have beliefs that I disagree with, especially from a religious standpoint, I I believe wholeheartedly in my faith as being the driving force for my life. So if you end up reading or listening to these books, I would just say have an open mind, but also protect your faith. And, and be solid in what you believe. Because it's important to hear different perspectives. I can't tell you how many times I have seen someone's work like a book or something like this, that I just wish they would plug Jesus into it. And if they had plugged Jesus into it, they would see things in a totally different light. It would change their perspective completely. But not everybody believes the same things as me and that's okay. My encouragement would be that you have an open mind, but you also protect your faith as you read and listen to these books.
So the first one I'm going to mention is a book that I mentioned in the last episode. It's called Lost Connection, Why You're Depressed and How to Find Hope. It's by a guy named Johann Hari. And in his book, he talks about depression not being so much a clinical thing as much as it is the fact that we are not connected to one another in the way that we used to be. In the book. He challenges us to think about the fact that maybe depression is it's a way we're grieving, it's a way that we are grieving the loss of connection that we no longer have. So if you look at the conversation we were having about social media, maybe we're grieving, we're depressed, we're anxious, because we've lost the real human connection that we have with one another. So in this book, it is very, very challenging. Again, I don't agree with everything he says. But I will say some of the bulk of his points are really good because it shows us through this lack of connection through this lack of community through this anti relational culture that we live in. There's this snowball effect that happens, which is what is really causing depression and anxiety to be welling up inside all of us. Now, again, I think there is a huge piece to this, that's chemical, but are we heightening that because of our lack of connection to one another. So this book, again, is called lost connection by Johann Hari. And you can find it on Amazon or an audiobook on Audible.
The second one is a talk that you can find on Audible by Bernie Brown, it's called The Power of Vulnerability. And what is really, really good about this one is it has changed my perspective on vulnerability. If you go back to a few of our episodes (Episode 26), earlier, we talked about vulnerability and how important that is. Because we have a negative view of that word, we look at it as a weakness, when vulnerability is actually what brings connection to one another. So me being vulnerable with you allows you to be vulnerable with me. And I love her talk because it is so good. And such a reminder of how we are protecting ourselves how we've detached ourselves because we're afraid of our vulnerability, we're insecure with our vulnerability because of how people might think of us or the way people may respond to us.
#7 - Family Time
Moving on to number seven is intentional family time. And man, I am bad about this. And I've got to be honest, and lay it all out there that I'm a workaholic. So I'm the type of person that just wants to go. And as soon as I get home from work, do this stuff, do podcasts, write, write blog posts, or work on music, or write a song, whatever, I have so many things that I just love to do. And what happens is my family suffers because of it. And so this year, I've had to be really intentional. I remember my wife saying a couple of weeks into quarantine, "Aaron, you are working more than I ever thought you would I thought I would see you more and you're at home." And that was a real eye-opener for me because it showed me that I need to be intentional with my time with my family. So first and foremost, I need that time with my wife, because that relationship is so essential. And you know, I love her so much and value her so much. And I don't want to neglect that relationship. And then it moves on to my kids, I love my kids and I value my kids, I don't want that relationship to suffer because of it. So I had to make some choices.
Ideas to do with your family:
- Weekly Family Meetings
- Movie Nights
- Game Nights
#8 - Community & Intentional Relationships
You know, one of The Big, big problems with this quarantine that we had back in back in the spring of 2020 was that it disconnected so many people from face to face relationships. My question is, are you still disconnected from those face to face relationships? Or do you now yearn for it? And so you're, you're back and you're having lunches with people, you're, you're meeting people for coffee, all that jazz. But I know for me, during the quarantine, I did zoom calls with friends, had our worship team meeting on a weekly basis, just to check in and see how everybody's doing and have that connection with one another. For me, I know that is essential and as we were talking about with the book, lost connection, there is a huge element to our lives that we have to have community, we need people around us, we need to interact with other people, we need to be open-minded to the fact that people may be struggling and isolated.
I believe that community is essential. And it's what got me through having those connections with people got me through 2020, it's still getting me through 2020. And it's going to get us through 2021 and the rest of our lives because we need that. So we got to be intentional about those community things. We've also got to be intentional about our relationships, our individual relationships with people, the people we love, and we care about, we need to go out and have lunch with friends, we need to go over to people's houses and check in on how they're doing because that's the only way we're gonna see vulnerability. That's the only way we're going to have vulnerability, and be able to work with one another, and be able to live real and authentic lives.
#9 - Focusing on Others
The best way to pursue happiness is to help other people. Nothing else will make you happier. - George Lucas
So that intentional relationship thing, it's what leads us to this idea of focusing on other people. I love knowing that I'm helping people and I used to be really bad about this, I would think only about myself. I'm telling you that that's where the insecurities rare up. That's where the anxiety gets heightened. That's where the depression gets worse. It's when I am focused on myself.
I think we live in a society that tells us to focus on ourselves. And when we focus on others, things change. So maybe instead of buying yourself something from someone else, something maybe instead of watching that TV show, you give your friend a call. Maybe instead of eating lunch alone, you grab a coworker, I'm telling you that it's so simple, there are just little bitty simple things. If someone pops in your head, like I wonder how they're doing or something you know, that you appreciate about them man wrote him a text message right then right there.
#10 - Hope
If you don't have hope, how do you get through a day? I don't know how we do it. I don't know how we would look forward to the future if we don't have hope. So honestly, hope has gotten me through 2020 hope that you know whether it's this life or it's when the Lord comes back, I have relief coming. It's knowing that this insecurity I feel at times this pain I feel at times this depression and anxiety I feel at times is one day going to be gone.
You might think this is cliche, but it's not. Hope will get us through life. Hope has gotten me through 2020 and I believe it's going to get me through 2021. So let's get tryin'
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