Each week I write several posts in which I nervously share my thoughts with you. Out of all the posts that I have shared, I cannot think of a single one that went without at least one edit. Often, I edit my first draft, three, four, or even five times. Sometimes my edits focus on the minutiae of grammar and word choice. Other times, I am reframing the entire core that I am trying to communicate. Others help me with edits, which I need, knowing I am blind to my patterns and idiosyncrasies. Even with these edits, my blogs contain grammatical errors and non-sensical phrases. Without these edits, the message would be undecipherable.
What might it look like in this new year if we edited our lives? Just like these posts, an unedited existence risks flitting about not knowing where it is headed or where it might land. An unedited life threatens to become a wasted life.
Where do we start an edit of our lives? Consider these three areas as a beginning:
- Edit your mind – To a large degree, we are the product of our thinking, which is the result of that which we allow into our brain. Our eyes and ears are the receptacles of the mind. What we watch imprints indelibly on the heart, which encompasses our thinking, our emotions, and our will. These days the assault on our eyes and ears comes from every side. Eventually, we mirror that which we feed our minds. To an unsettling extent, we are the product of what we see and hear. Garbage in, garbage out.
- Edit your time – The world around us is over-committed, over-scheduled, and overwhelmed. How might we intentionally do less and enjoy life more? Where are we wasting precious time? What life-giving practices should we add to our schedule? A morning routine? Reading? Praying? Coffee with friends? A date night? Time for hobbies?
- Edit your health – Is our health sabotaging our thoughts, our emotions, our energy, and our effectiveness? What might we eliminate that would improve our health? What do we need to start, even with baby steps, that will move us in the right direction?
Editing has three necessary steps. First, any quality edit begins with a plan. What precisely will we change? What is the desired end result? Second, edits require red ink. Remember getting papers back from professors? We knew immediately from the amount of red ink what they thought of the work. Then the laborious task of editing began. Third, a thoughtful, intentional edit creates a clear, compelling message. This is the fun part! Whether we are talking about a new way of thinking, a fresh, emotional perspective, a more effective way of handling our time, or a heightened commitment to improving our health, editing our life changes our life.
Consider the place in your life where you most need editing. Take one area at a time. Form a plan. If you need to, consult a good friend, a counselor, or a coach that will help you with the process. Focused attention, coupled with a good plan and support from those around you, transforms aimless plodding into purposeful progress.