Friday, July 18, 2014

Life & Style: Quality of Life

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On any given day, you'll likely hear Jason or I say "quality of life" at least once. Each.

It's something that is behind every decision, every thought, everything in our lives. I wanted to share this philosophy with you all in the hopes that it will encourage you to step back, examine your own life and determine what you need to change or keep the same to achieve the highest quality of life.

First, it bears noting that God is our definer of quality of life. We first exist to serve Him. In everything we do and are, our joy is in loving and serving Him. While quality of life drives our decisions, it's really God who's behind the steering wheel. I just wanted to make that abundantly clear.

Improving quality of life may be something as simple as drinking a cup of tea when you get home from work or before bedtime. It may be reading a few pages from a book. It may be tickling your little one and having a nightly dance party.

Or it may be something bigger. It may mean quitting your job. I shared this previous winter that I needed a job. I do need a job. That is still true. I took a job that was far from home with the thought that we would eventually move. I took a job far from home that had an actual career track and threw myself into it.

Only to realize it was all wrong. The job was wrong. The distance was wrong. Moving was wrong. Jason and I had both prayed and came to the same conclusion: quitting was the answer. It honestly made me heartsick because I had wanted the job to work out. But I chose quality of life over that particular job. I haven't regretted it once. Since I now have a better-than-I-imagined job, my decision worked out quite well.

Quitting your job may not mean a higher quality of life for you. Your job may improve your quality of life because it allows you to keep a roof over your head, food in your belly and it fits in with your life and the vision you have for it.

How do you decide if something improves or lessens your quality of life? First, take a simple inventory of what makes you happy and what doesn't.

Here's some things that make us happy:
  • Reading our Bibles and devotionals
  • Exercising
  • Gardening
  • Crafting
  • Playing with, snuggling with, overall just being with our girl 
  • Same as above with Preston, our cat
  • Game nights/movie nights/happy fun theme nights
  • Money to pay all of our bills and have a bit left over to help us reach goals 
Here's some things that don't make us happy:
  • Having two cars 
  • Too little sleep 
  • Eating out all the time
  • No date nights 
  • Moving away from our current area 
  • The opposite of all the things in our "happy" category
The items in our happy category are very closely connected to the amount of time we have in a day to spend on these items. If we're too busy doing A, we might not have time for B. We don't need time every day to do each of the happy things, but if we never have time to do any happy thing, something needs to change. 

If something in our lives is making us do the unhappy things or think about doing them, then the something needs to go or change so that it fits in better with our vision.

Besides quitting the job I took in April, there are other things we've done or changed to better fit with our vision. We finally purchased patio chairs for our balcony ($1 each at a garage sale!). This immensely improved our quality of life. I love sitting on the balcony, drinking tea, reading my Bible and praying. It's so peaceful.

I love spending concentrated, uninterrupted time with my Bug, building blocks with her, playing with stuffed friends, and chasing her around the house.

Honestly, it's pretty easy to make decisions when you have a defined quality of life. That doesn't mean I always make the right decisions (obviously). Sometimes, I screw up. I'm not perfect and I never will be (thank you God for your grace and mercy). But having a defined quality of life gives me a good foundation to work from so I can start to make decisions that are beneficial for my family.

Take a few moments and write down your own happy and unhappy list. Tape it up in your house somewhere or keep it stored on your smartphone so you can consult your list when presented with choices and decisions. 

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