Time is a scarce resource. When I heard that phrase when I was younger, I used to acknowledge that I understood it but never really thought about it. Then, as I got older, I started to take that phrase to heart. Last year I turned 40, and man, I am doing my best to make the most of my time in this world. I am fiercely focused on my “second act” in life.
Redeeming my time has been on my mind so much that I chose my planner because the cover said Design a Life You Love. This statement has and will always resonate with me. I’ve never wanted to live a life filled with regrets. Except for some crazy circumstances, I can honestly say I’m on the right track to accomplishing this goal. If I had to give myself a grade on my overall happiness, let’s just say I’m at 80%. Being the perfectionist, I am, I want to get that up to 100%. Some may think that’s impossible. It may be for you, but I’m blessed to know folks whose life would prove you wrong.
I know that every day will not be all sunshine and roses, but if you take the time to design your life right, you’ll need sunblock more than an umbrella. I’ve been reflecting on this subject a lot. I’ve concluded that the foundation of designing a life you love has to contain these three pillars:
You cannot experience true happiness apart from Christ. If you lack his attributes, you’re always restless or missing something. This is how I spent a good chunk of my life.
To be completely honest with you, there are still areas that I’m working on. I know that I’m a never-ending project. However, the difference between me now and then is that I acknowledge my shortcomings and actively work to address them with Christ. I don’t fill up my schedule with unnecessary activities that I can use as an excuse to run away from myself. You can’t outrun your problems. The longer you avoid your problems, will make it harder for you to seek solutions. You allowed yourself to become accustomed to chaos for so long that you think breaking free is impossible.
All you have to do is take that first step and admit you need help. Christ said in Matt 11:29-30 that in Him we will find rest. Did you catch that part about rest? Check out Ep 217. I had a great conversation with Greg about the topic of rest.
God wants us to live a lifestyle of rest so we can experience the peace that surpasses all understanding. When you’re well rested, you’ll be able to easily see signs God will show you to confirm whether you are on the right path. He’s going to place you in a position to not only be blessed but reduce the time it takes for you to be a blessing to those around you.
Once your soul is in order, that will prompt you to take care of your health.
When I use the word health, I’m referring to mental and physical health. I’ll tackle the mental aspect first. As I get older, if I had to rate my ability to endure toxic people and situations, that rating would be zero. A very strong zero. Since I am diligently working towards mastering the spiritual pillar in my life, I will not allow anyone or anything to jeopardize my ability to experience a peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7). I want that for you and me. The only way this will happen is to diligently guard our hearts (Prov. 4:23).
One of the best ways to do this feat is to learn the difference between associates and friends. If we’re honest, we would realize that we have more associates than friends. I have plenty of associates. Those are folks I small talk with and get together with once in a while, but we keep it moving. Our interactions are based on sharing a couple of interests in common, but I could never count on them to help me out of a jam.
On the other hand, real friends are folks who truly have your back. There’s no ulterior motive or strings attached to helping you. They tell you what you need to hear not want to hear because they truly want the best for you in life. They want to build you up, not tear you down. When you win, they win. I can count on one hand the number of people in my life that fit that description.
Some may hear that and feel sorry for me, but those who know better understand why. You can’t guard your heart if you’re willing to let everyone into your world. You can’t take everyone with you on your journey to success. Some people are literally meant to stay in our lives for a season. If you keep the wrong people in your world for too long, they will bring you down or worse cause you to miss your shot.
I no longer entertain people, activities, or environments I consider toxic or do not align with my purpose. Life is way too short to allow someone else’s actions to determine my ability to win the game.
It took me a minute to learn this lesson, but once I did, it felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. Some folks enjoy living in the valley, but my goal is to make it up to the mountaintop. If you’re not sure what I mean check out Ep. 177.
When you have a good mindset, you want to keep that momentum going to ensure that the inside matches the outside, which brings us to our physical health. God said that our body is a temple (1 Cor 6:19). We honor God by treating our bodies with respect. The best way to do this is by keeping our bodies free from toxins. I don’t drink alcohol, smoke, or do drugs. I also maintain a healthy diet mainly because I have digestive issues. If you want to learn more about creating a healthy diet check out the list of episodes on the Hustle in Faith website, plus, I will have a couple of interviews with doctors this year that specialize in weight loss and diet. So stay tuned for those.
Now, even though diet is extremely important, you need to exercise.
I know many people hate to exercise, but I absolutely love it! Exercise will help you to lose weight, prevent or manage health issues, gives you energy and helps you get to sleep faster.
With benefits like that why wouldn’t you want to exercise?!
Many people say that they don’t have time to exercise. Yet, these are the same folks who can find the time to binge their favorite series on Netflix. Make it make sense…Nothing is worth watching if it is at the expense of my health.
You don’t have to have a gym membership to exercise. Walking is free. There are millions of exercise videos and programs available on YouTube. One of my favorite exercise programs is X-treme Hip Hop w/ Phil. It’s got a great variety of exercises, cardio, strength and my favorite is step day. I typically do that in the morning, go for a walk, and, depending on the day of the week, I hit the gym after work. Again, I enjoy exercising, so when I go to the gym, I tend to gravitate towards the weights, take a dance fitness class, or swim in the pool.
Another benefit I don’t see a lot of people talk about is that exercise helps boost your creativity. I get my best ideas when I’m exercising. God talks to us using a small voice (1 Kings 19:12), which you won’t be able to hear unless you are calm. I cannot tell you how often ideas have come to me when I’ve been on the elliptical machine, going for a walk along the lake, or stepping on my step board.
Many of the topic ideas on this show come from my workouts. I’ve got more ideas than I do time, money, and resources to implement them, but I write down every last one. When the time is right, I know some of those ideas will help me reduce the time it takes to achieve my financial goals, which is the last pillar that is important in helping you design a life you love.
One of the main reasons I want to achieve financial success is to have more control of my destiny. I want to work on meaningful projects that will help the community. I was very fortunate to grow up in a loving home that gave me a great education, which placed me in a position to have a great career.
You don’t need me to tell you that you can have all the skills in the world and still be treated like trash. Over the past several months, we have all heard about the increase in company layoffs. They seem to be happening left and right. The irony is that these companies are quick to say, “We’re family,” and have had no problems kicking their beloved “family members” to the curb by laying them off via Zoom or email.
Early on, I learned that climbing the corporate ladder was a waste of time. My experiences made it abundantly apparent that the corporate world was not designed for me to thrive, nor something I could depend on as my sole source of income. For more detail about my experiences, check out episodes 197, 199, and 201.
I have and will always perform my job according to Col 3:23, which states that we are to work as if we’re working directly for God. So that is exactly what I do. This may sound arrogant, but I’m really good at what I do. You will get 100% of my time and energy during my agreed work hours. If I have to work late every now and then, I will do so. However, what you will never get from me is for me to dedicate my life to companies that view me as nothing more than a number. That’s Kool-Aid that I will never drink. So the way I view my job is that it funds my life, but is not my life. I work to live, not live to work.
I know the dreams that God has placed in my heart. That’s why I’m very focused on my side hustles. I know that with God blessing my endeavors, it’s only a matter of time before I can leverage the money from my side hustles to purchase more real estate. I’m not looking to be a real estate mogul, but I want more passive income to have more time to work on projects that will impact the community. I want to pour into others the way my mom has always poured into me.
I already know that it is imperative to stay away from toxic people, but many of us also fail to protect our time and money. Remote work is an essential step in designing a life I love. I save time because I get a lot done between 5 to 8 am and later in the evening because I don’t have to unnecessarily commute to an office when I can do my job at home. I save money because I don’t have to pay for gas or lunch because I can cook at home.
Life has and will continue to throw curveballs our way, but my goal is to do what I can to increase my chances of hitting a home run. I want to be a good steward of my money (1 Tim 6:17-21). I don’t want to be like the fool in Haggai 1: 6 who earns wages, only to put them in a purse with holes.” Instead, I want to make my money count.
The theme for this month is dedicated to the topic of designing a life you love. I’m excited for you to hear how these guests took control of their destiny and the various components you need to keep in mind in your quest to do the same.
Don’t let yourself be consumed with the doom and gloom you hear on the news. Instead, allow it to serve as fuel to ensure your second act is one you enjoy.