Are you striving to enjoy life? 

Our staff has a set of values we use to guide the way we live our lives. These values aren’t set specifically for working at New Haven UMC. They are personal values, which is why we want to share them with you! 

At New Haven UMC, we are committed to enjoying life. 

Enjoy life? That sounds so easy! But let’s be honest, not everyone truly enjoys their life. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day tasks. Checking off items on your to-do list and getting everywhere you need to be is draining. So, we have committed to intentionally striving to enjoy life. 

 

Pause and Reflect

To ensure we are living out our values, we must stop and ask ourselves this question: 

Am I intentionally striving to enjoy life to the fullest?

When we first developed these values, I found myself getting hung up on the word “fullest.” Living life to the fullest? Doesn’t that mean I need to be going skydiving or cliff jumping all the time? Living life to the fullest seems really..big.

But, then I took a step back and changed the question: 

Am I intentionally striving to enjoy life? 

That’s it. Let’s start smaller. Let’s strive to enjoy life. Not necessarily to the fullest, because there can always be more. Let’s intentionally strive to enjoy life. Focus on intentionally striving to enjoy life instead of focusing on the fullest. 

So how do we do this? Let’s break it down. 

Prioritize a Hobby

First, focus on spending time doing something you enjoy. This seems simple, but it’s often overlooked. Most of us feel like we don’t have enough time to do the things that we enjoy. However, that’s where that word “intentional” comes in. 

Since we are committed to striving to intentionally enjoy life, we must prioritize spending time doing things that we enjoy. 

First, determine what it is that you enjoy. Here are a few ideas to get you started, but it doesn’t have to be something from this list! 

Reading

Journaling

Exercising

Blogging

Painting

Hiking

Photography

Cooking or baking

Once you’ve determined what it is you love, make it a priority. You don’t have to spend hours and hours each week doing what you love! If it’s reading, try waking up 15 minutes early or staying up 15 minutes later a few times a week. Make it a priority, that’s what it means to intentionally enjoy life. 

A friend of mine enjoys hiking. Now, he can’t go hiking every single day, but he does make this a priority. He typically goes on a hike by himself and even spends time photographing nature while he is out. This is a worshipful experience for him. Spending time in nature is a way he is able to connect with God and enjoy life in an intentional way.

Spend Time With Your Favorite People

We all have people in our life we enjoy being around. Make it a priority to connect with them regularly! But first, make sure it’s someone who also enjoys being around you. Don’t stalk them and force them to spend time with you. While that is intentional, it’s not really what we are going for here. 

This could be your spouse (but it doesn’t have to be), family, friends, or colleagues. Now, you may already be seeing these people regularly, but the goal is intentionality. 

Are you going out of your way to spend quality time with some of these people? This aspect of quality time is essential. You are often around your spouse or colleagues regularly, but are you spending time together for the purpose of connecting? 

One way to do this is over a meal. We all have to eat, so consider getting a meal together without distractions is a great place to start! If distance is an issue, try an uninterrupted (or at least minimal interruptions) video call. It doesn’t have to be long, just long enough to connect with one another. 

Limit Time With People Who Drain You

Okay, this one is easier said than done. This doesn’t mean you completely cut someone out of your life, because it’s probably unrealistic. 

We all have people in our lives who emotionally drain us. It may be a coworker, a friend, or someone else we often happen to be around. I’m not suggesting you completely ignore them forever, because that’s just not a possibility. 

Instead, prioritize limiting the time you give to them. Only give them the time absolutely necessary. Then, you can spend the rest of that time intentionally enjoying life by spending time with people you love or spending time on your hobby. 

Sometimes, the people who drain us are on social media. You may not realize it, but when you’re scrolling through Facebook or Instagram there is probably someone who wears you out. If you dread reading someone’s content, mute them! You don’t have to unfollow or unfriend them, just hide their content for a little while. It really helps! 

BONUS: You are NOT Defined by Your Career

Western culture really struggles with this. When you meet someone new, one of the first questions you might ask is, “What do you do for a living?” It’s no ones fault, it’s just in our nature. 

We’ve started defining ourselves by our career. It often becomes part of our identity. But it’s not like this everywhere in the world. 

My daughter went to live in Rome a little over a year ago. As she was sharing with me about her trip, she mentioned that people don’t talk about their careers as often in Rome. They first talk about their hobbies and interests. 

I think this is something we can do on our journey to intentionally enjoy life. Whether or not you love your current job or career, don’t forget that it doesn’t define you. 

Stick to It!

While enjoying life seems easy at first, we have to remember it’s an intentional choice. So, make time for the things you love! FaceTime a friend. Have an uninterrupted dinner with your spouse. And, don’t let your career define you. 

If you’d like to talk some more about how to live your life in a more intentional way, let’s connect.  We’d love to help you enjoy your life and get to know you!