I’m a firm believer that wisdom is everywhere, waiting for us to find it–even among pop culture. It just takes perspective.
For example, Jay-Z has taught me that I should get that dirt off my shoulder. Similarly, Taylor Swift encourages me to shake it off.
Life has and will hand us countless situations that throw proverbial dirt all over us. Every single day there are situations and circumstances that threaten to dirty up any attempt at cleanliness. Too often we become shackled by these opinions and expectations, leaving us stagnant. The dirt keeps piling up.
This morning, as I was reading in one of the Gospel accounts, I saw similar language from Jesus as he was teaching his disciples:
“…shake the dust off your feet.” Matthew 10:14
Who knew Jesus was a rapper and pop culture inspiration? I hear Jehovah Jireh, Himself, spitting first century lyrics that remind us of a truth:
Dust doesn’t collect on complacent feet, it doesn’t settle on stationary sandals. It’s time to shake it off.
Is there a way we can live–habits that we can create–that will allow us to better manage the dirt of life?
Anything But Routine
A few years ago, we were given the gift of three kids within fifteen months of one another. Up to that point, I knew the luxury of free time. My morning routine wasn’t very routine at all. I woke up when I wanted to, took my time getting ready, and managed to find time for the whatever I wanted to do.
Kids change things.
I found myself throwing waffles like frisbees and pouring juice cups, all while finding Disney Junior on the television, just so I could have a free minute to put my pants on. After that, my wife and would compete in the Olympic event I affectionately refer to as wrestle dressing. This is when you try to put clothes on a child that would clearly prefer nudity. You mismatch shoes, change diapers, and drink cold coffee because…caffeine.
In both cases, it felt like I was simply reacting to life’s circumstances.
Somewhere around the twins’ eighteen month mark, I found myself strung out, ungrateful, and quite frankly, frustrated. Longing to avoid the dust of life, I started embracing a few practices that helped me prepare to shake it all off.
I don’t consider these the end-all-be-all tips, but they are the factors that have allowed me to enrich my daily life. They are also the foundation of the life change that led to my first book, Redefine Rich.
5 Keys to Rich Living
1. Rise early – I have learned that if you want to be intentional about your life, you must not constantly react to it. There are countless books, opinions, and series on this topic so I don’t want to belabor the issue. In short, it is a common theme among almost anyone we would collectively consider successful. God intended us to sleep, but that’s not where we do His work.
2. Journal – This was the catalyst to the life change I experienced. When I began writing down my thoughts, questions, prayers, and ideas it began changing how I thought about the things that were happening in my life. It gave me the gift of clarity. Where have I been, where am I, where am I going? More importantly, what is God doing in me?
3. Read – For starters, I read the Bible. Why? Because it is the roadmap for who I want to become and it gives me wisdom from the source of all wisdom. Secondly, I read books and blogs from people that are much smarter than I am. Wisdom must be sought after and this is how I seek. I also consider great podcasts or digital books a part of this process. Remember, garbage in, garbage out.
4. Heart Check – Is it beating? Is it grateful? Is it engaged? Those are three questions we can ask ourselves every day. If you fail to live with gratitude and engage your heart passionately, you’ll likely end up waiting for another year so you can start over. You have the decision now, right this minute, to engage your heart in your life. Passion and gratitude are two of the most powerful tools you can learn to harness.
5. Pick a Word – You can read in detail about the concept of “My One Word” here. My testimony for 2013 will guide me for life at the power of this practice. In short, pick one word as a lens through which you will live this year. What word best describe who you would hope to become?
These five practices have helped me prepare for the dirt of life and have given me a better perspective on how to manage its challenges. I hope they provide you with a foundation to create an exceptional year.
What is it that you hope to accomplish next year? How will you be intentional about making those goals a reality?
Matt Ham is a best-selling author, inspirational speaker, and small-business owner helping others gain perspective for an enriched life. He writes weekly at mattham.com and hosts a bi-weekly podcast titled, Redefine Rich. For weekly perspective, subscribe to the Live Richly Newsletter.