I am counting myself blessed that I got to read Ken Shigematsu's new book. It is called "God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God". I mean, I'm pretty sure he wrote this book for me!
How many times have you said, "Reading this book changed my life". Well, I am saying that about this book and I literally mean that it has changed my life. I am telling everyone about this book. I read this book and then two days last my pastor preached a sermon on living "intentionally". I felt like his sermon and this book went together incredibly well, and I felt like God was telling me to make some decisions.
I'll be honest, when I started this book I wasn't that impressed. It took me quite a while to get into it. I was reading it just to be able to give it an honest review. Then, about halfway through, I "got" it. I understood where he was going with this whole idea of God being in my everything. And when I finished the book, I sat down and created a Life Plan. Seriously. Don't laugh, because like I said, it's changed my life.
The author got these ideas about God being in everything in our lives from the monks. He talks about making "rules" for your life, but assures you that these rules must bend. For example, although the monks fast, if a visitor comes to their door, they will greet the visitor and break their fast, because the fellowship over a meal is more important than their fast. After I read this book I literally sat down with a notebook and wrote down things for each chapter that are discussed. Shigematsu gives you helpful directions when creating your "rule" for each category, so you're not lost.
The first category is "Sabbath". The author's Sabbath rule is "Take a 24-hour Sabbath once a week". This means no technology, no work. Focus on God and family. Another woman's Sabbath rule is to rest and have worship either on Saturday or Sunday, depending on what is going on. You do it to fit your schedule and what you need to feel rested and have that reflective time with God. My Sabbath rule states that my Sabbath will be on Sunday. This means no shopping and no school work unless absolutely unavoidable. Sundays will consist only of church, friends, family and rest. It is my day to recharge. Since making this plan I have been doing this and it is unbelievable what a relief I feel on Sundays now. I can totally focus on church when I'm at church and my family when I'm at home. I'm never thinking about what I "should" be doing or "could" be doing, just what I'm doing. It's a beautiful feeling and I think I am more there for my church and family than I had been in the last few months.
Other categories are prayer (making a plan for your prayer life), the Word (devotions, meeting with other believers, etc.), friendship (how often you fellowship with friends intentionally), sex (if you're married), family (intentional time with family and extended family), "eat, sleep, swim" (your physical plan), play (yes, sometimes you have to remind yourself to schedule some play time!), money (how are you being a financial steward?), work, being a witness for Christ, and one of the most important thing he discusses - finding your one thing. Find your thing that you are passionate and focus on that. Do it incredibly well and passionately for the cause of Christ instead of pulling yourself in ten different ways and feeling pressured and burdened.
I literally have a spreadsheet now that has what I am now calling my "life plan" and I have felt more relief in the last few weeks than I have in a long time. I am saying "no" to things that are asked of me. I am making it a priority to walk around our house (like, really, outside our house) and pray specifically for things in our family. I want to be more intentional with time spent with our families. I want to have play dates with Christian friends. I want to get to know my neighbors. I just want to be more intentional in everything I do. Everything on my spreadsheet is something I am passionate about. None of it is something I "have" to do.
It may sound a tiny little bit crazy to have a spreadsheet and a life plan. But let me ask you this: Do you know your life goals? Do you know your goals to spend time with your family members? Do you have goals for how you spend the money God has given you? Do you say "yes" to everything and take on too much, or do you know how to decide what's really important to you?
You may not need this book and this outline. But I think you do. I think everyone could learn a lot from reading this book and going through and creating a plan. I am a huge proponent of this. I highly, highly recommend this book.
Here's a 2-minute video where Ken Shigematsu talks about the book.
Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and Zondervan for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.