The podcast I plan to launch in January is called “Sing with Your Feet.” You who have been here for a long time know about my shoe problems. You also may remember that the fact that I like to stamp my feet when I sing is a running joke–to the point that I lost the heel of one of my shoes while doing so.
Well, that first time I got up and stamped my feet, someone made a joke. He said “Well, now we know what it looks like when we sing with our feet!”
This was very funny to all who were present, because of a very, very, very morbid worship song that we used to sing at my church. It had an upbeat, Zouk rhythm, and the very strangest words I’d ever come across:
Je te loue avec ma voix (I worship with my voice)
Et s’il me manque la voix (If my voice goes missing)
Je le loue avec mes mains (I worship with my hands)
Et s’il me manque les mains (If my hands go missing)
Je le loue avec mes pieds (I worship with my feet)
Et s’il me manque les pieds (If my feet go missing)
Je le loue avec mon âme (I worship with my soul)
Et s’il me manque l’âme (If my soul goes missing)
C’est que je le loue là-haut (It’s that I’m worshipping on high.)
So, yes, I am conflating worshipping with singing. I do know that they are not the same thing. But let’s be honest. It’s still a weird song, and you, too would think more than once about those words before gladly singing them
Back to Albert again!
It is our friend Albert Einstein, you may remember, who said, “Folly is repeating the same things and expecting different outcomes” (pardon me for paraphrasing.)
How often in our lives do we prove our folly by repeating exactly the same things and hoping for a different outcome? What I have come to love about that weird weird weird song is how it encourages us to keep trying. Keep doing things differently. Keep trying new things until you literally can’t try new things anymore.
Can’t sing with your voice anymore? Sing with your hands! Can’t sing with your hands? Sing with your feet! Can’t sing with your feet? Sing with your soul? Can’t sing with your soul? Well, yippee, you don’t have anything to worry about anymore!
Many of us are (and I include myself in this!) tempted to say, “There is only one way to do what I want to do, and if I can’t do that, then I give up.”
That is how we fall out of love with our lives. That is how we get tired of trying anymore. That is how we lose our joy. That is how we resign ourselves to less-than-ideal circumstances.
Albert Einstein was not some sourpuss fatalist. He was the one that says we need to stop expecting change if we are doing the same things that aren’t working.
And that weird song tells us that we need to keep doing new things until we can’t do them anymore.
The Ideal Life Exercise
So…enough for the crazy preamble. We are here for the practical stuff.
By giving ourselves time to complete our In my Ideal Life I am a person who…statements, we are allowing ourselves to dig in and start imagining who we were meant to be.
Daily consideration, daily prayer about who we are becoming, opens up new avenues for us to start doing things a little bit differently. We become capable of gently changing the trajectory of how we are living our lives, with the wisdom that the consideration and prayer provides, so that the whole picture will start to look more like the original box cover and less like a purple on white mimeographed (am I dating myself here?) copy.
Real people, real statements:
Here are a collection of statements from ladies who have been willing to share their journey with me.
In my Ideal Life, I am a person who…
- goes to bed early
- who always has things ready ahead of time
- doesn’t freak out when unexpected things happen
- takes clothes that I don’t like out of my husband’s closet, rather than complaining about them when he wears them (I love this woman’s honesty!)
- reacts with kindness and patience when my husband falls asleep in the middle of a movie
- enjoys working out
- is on time
- follows through on what she starts
- makes time for friendship
- spends more time reading books than on social media
- has routines to keep her house decluttered
- stands up for herself
- gives herself permission and grace to make mistakes
- has great time management skills
- doesn’t stress eat
- reads with her kids
- chooses what she wants most over what she wants now
Look at your statements
Just re-reading these statements makes me smile, because they go perfectly with each of the ladies who wrote them.
But let’s I imagine for a minute that this little list was your list and not a compilation. Do you know what I would say to you? What’s your relationship with time like? Why? Cause just look at how frequently the word “time” appears.
Each of us have our sticking points. Each of us have little things (being on time, for example), and big things (choosing what we want most over what we want now.)
Often, some areas of our life take up more space in our thoughts than others. This might be because we have a lot more progress to make in those areas than the others, or simply because our ideas are much clearer about that area. It’s worthwhile to examine those areas and see which case it is. Having a clear idea about what we want is awesome! Being frustrated by how we currently are and who we currently shows us where we need to start singing with our feet.
Keep it up!
So, in our example, we noticed that time is a sticking point. Also, I would suggest that from the little we can see, relationships are important.
The more In my Ideal Life, I am a person who…statements we have, the more we can identify the larger themes in which we can make progress. We’ll start living our Ideal Life by setting small, sometimes tiny goals in those areas and regularly checking in on our progress.
Every tiny goal we accomplish brings us that much closer to our Ideal Life.
Also, we will get closer to our Ideal Life as we regularly pray about these themes and how we can make progress. Sometimes it is about facing temptation. Sometimes it is about maintaining discipline. Sometimes it is about decisions to be made. Making the process a conversation with God is a way to consent to the life he has planned for us. When he has our consent, he can deploy the divine resources necessary to bring us closer to our Ideal Life.
It starts, though, by spending time completing the sentence:
In my Ideal Life, I am a person who…who what?