These are the 7 Rules For Life that matter most to me right now-- I've learned them from in my life and hopefully I'm teaching them right back to everyone else that I overlap with.
p.s. If you're up for a challenge, I wonder how many of the people you can identify in this post. I believe there are 76 friends featured in these pictures. How many can you name?
Do something because you're passionate. Do it because you want to do it, not because you're trying to please or impress someone else. Do something you believe will make the world a better place. The last time I heard Shauna Niequist speak, her main idea, "Do your thing with great love right now," stuck with me. Don't wait, don't grumble about it, don't imitate someone else-- figure out what lights you up and then go do more of that. I find that my life is brighter and more full and meaningful when I'm doing more blogging, more friendship braceleting, more counseling, and more leading.
Take care of your home team. I learned the idea of a home team in Shauna's book Bittersweet years ago. She writes, "Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.”
I'm working hard to take care of my home team the best that I can. At the beginning of the school year I make a list of the people on my home team, because I find that it shifts a little each year. Then I post that list of names by my desk as a reminder to give some extra care and love to those people. That might look like a prayer, a text to say I'm thinking of them, a letter in the mail, a coffee date or a trip across the country. I'm doing my best to make sure I'm giving my best self to the home team.
Now I do my best to show up. I want people to remember me as someone that was there for them. I show up at volleyball matches, Young Life and Wyld Life, plays and musicals, early morning bible studies, track meets, birthday parties, bike rides, concerts, confirmation, lunch dates... I show up as much as possible. All that showing up, and being present, has made all the difference in my relationships with people.
Choose joy. During CILTs the summer of 2010 we had several conversations about the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is dependent on your circumstances, joy is independent of those things. Happiness comes from what's going on right now, joy comes from Christ. Happiness happens to you, joy is a choice. Those conversations helped me become aware of whether I was seeking and valuing happiness or joy. There's absolutely a difference.
I hope that when people see me they can see my joy. I want to have joy like Maggie Shadid. To shine joy like Julia Dewolf. To share joy in conversation like Annie Houghton. To have joy come through my writing like Glennon Doyle Melton. Life won't always be perfect, or even good some days, but I can always choose joy. The more that I practice choosing joy, the more that it becomes second nature and an intrinsic part of who I am.
Leak Jesus. My faith grew because of the relationships and conversations I had with other christians. Living life with my family, countless counselors, my church family and friends in my youth group all shaped what I believed. I don't remember a time when anyone "preached" at me to make me believe. I think most of my friends would say the same thing-- transformation comes through relationships. I hope that my life and my words leak Jesus to the people around me.
Today is worth celebrating. The habit of blogging every day has profoundly impacted my life. Not only do I take pictures every single day and lose hours of sleep (especially during camp) so I can stay on top of posting, but I'm intentional about how I spend my time. It's become a natural habit to find things to celebrate, to take opportunities, to make the every day into a holiday. I want to be excited about this life of mine and invite other people to join in. I can't remember the last time I was bored, it's just not an option anymore.
p.s. If you're curious you can check out the posts from years FOUR, THREE, TWO and ONE too.