Life is Messy – Unexpected Lives

Life didn’t turn out the way I expected. In some ways it has exceeded my expectations, and in other ways it has disappointed them. Never in my wildest dreams as a child would I have imagined the life I have lived. The adventures, experiences, and opportunities, the love I have given and received, and the success I have enjoyed have all far exceeded my expectations. But I also never imagined in my worst nightmares the dark side of these bright lights.

We all end up living unexpected lives.

There are hopes and dreams that didn’t materialize that I grieve, but I have been surprised and delighted by other unexpected gifts. And there are hopes and dreams that I am glad did not come to fruition. The unexpected goes both ways.

But these are not the things that make life most unexpected. It’s the truly unexpected things, those we don’t hope for or fear—particularly those that come out of nowhere and break our hearts. You wake up one morning and discover that your life has been changed forever, because of something you did or something someone else did. It’s the things we don’t plan, the things we never imagined would happen. It’s those unexpected events that slap you so hard in the face that you can taste blood in your mouth.

Nobody’s life turns out the way they expect it to. We shouldn’t be surprised. Nobody looks back on life to discover it unfolded exactly as they hoped or planned, but I found myself particularly unprepared for the inevitability of the unexpected. That’s the paradox: It is inevitable that we live unexpected lives.

Life doesn’t unfold according to our plans. But sooner or later, we each have to decide how we are going to make the most of our one, brief, unexpected life. It is then that we come face-to-face with two enduring truths: We cannot live without hope that things will change for the better, and we are not victims of our circumstances.

Hope is not always as accessible as we would like. It often seems just out of reach at those times when we are most in need of it, when our hearts are broken, our minds downtrodden, and our souls crushed. Yet, even in those moments, we have a choice. The unexpected is either a curse or an opportunity. We get to decide.

Matthew Kelly

From Life is Messy

Life is Messy – How Honest are You?

Video Transcript:

“We live in a culture where truth has been devalued. Personal preference and opinion have been elevated above truth and objective reality. Beyond that, small instances of dishonesty have a tendency to lead to larger deceit… and if we are not mindful, it is easy to find ourselves being dishonest with ourselves, dishonest with others, and dishonest about others.

Gossip is often at the core of our daily dishonesty. Willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously, when we talk about others, we are often participating in a spiraling episode of dishonesty. Why do we do it? Not usually out of any malicious intent. More often than not, it’s because we simply don’t have the emotional energy to fight the battle or walk away, because we want to fit in and feel accepted, or because we don’t want to get on the wrong side of certain people. But all of this brings us to wonder how honest we are. So, let us ask ourselves three questions today:

Am I honest with myself?
Am I honest with others?
Am I honest about others?

If the truth will set us free. Everything other than the truth will slowly but surely enslave us. Be mindful and take note of how honest you are with yourself and others today.”

Life is Messy – How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

Video Transcript:

“If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. It is one of the most common emotions in our society. Here are seven ways to get beyond overwhelmed!

1. Take a walk. Exercise clears our minds. It literally helps our minds rearrange thoughts and ideas in our minds, relieves stress, and releases happy hormones in our bodies.

2. Talk to someone. Just telling someone what we are experiencing can change everything. Even leaving a voicemail saying, “Hey, Just wanted to chat, feeling so overwhelmed today!” can be liberating.

3. Do. Delete. Delegate. Divide your to-do-list into these three categories. Divide and conquer. This will help you focus on what’s essential.

4. Tidy your space. Organizing your work or living space has a way of reorganizing our thoughts and feelings too.

5. Ask for help. It’s a sign of strength and genius, not a sign of weakness.

6. Cancel everything that is non-essential on your schedule for a day or two, or a week if that is what is required

7. Do something. Start doing something, don’t allow feeling overwhelmed to paralyze you. Inaction will only take you deeper into the overwhelmed state. Pick one thing on your to-do list and do it. It’s amazing how taking purposeful action can shift the momentum of your day.

We all get overwhelmed from time to time. This isn’t the last time it’s going to happen to you, but it is time to develop a strategy to deal with it.

In Part Two of this Series we will discuss 10 Things We Forget When We Feel Overwhelmed.”

Life is Messy – Finding Your Truest Self

How are you carrying your cross? Are you dragging it behind you begrudgingly, or ignoring it altogether?

Today, Jesus shares his biggest reminder about carrying our crosses, one we tend to forget.

Listen to Matthew’s reflection and learn the one critical conversation that will change your view of the cross and lead you towards your truest self.

Life is Messy – Do You Like Who You’re Becoming?

“When we are healthy in a holistic sense, or in any one aspect of our lives, we are driven by the dream to become the-best-version-of-ourselves. Why are there so many products and programs available that help people transform different areas of their lives? Because there is an enormous demand for them. Marketers know that people have this insatiable desire to improve themselves. This desire is what drives us when we are healthiest.

When we are unhealthy, we tend to abandon our true selves, often wishing we were more like someone else or that we were someone else altogether. This is often most noticeable during adolescence, when people grapple with identity issues. But many of us develop a permanent contempt for ourselves (or for certain aspects of ourselves) during this period of development. This contempt for self stifles our dreams.

Living the dream and striving to become all we are capable of being is the only thing you ever truly need to answer for, and our only regrets come from abandoning our true selves. Are you celebrating your true self, or are you still trying to be the person you think other people want you to be—or the person you think other people will like?

Now is your time. There will never be a better time to begin. It is time to peel back the layers of conditioning and expectations that have encrusted your heart and mind. It is time to become perfectly yourself.

Are You Empathetic?

“Empathy is a sign that you care about other people, that the well-being and happiness of other people matters to you. It’s all about being able to tune into other people’s feelings and emotions.

Here are 11 Signs You are an Empathetic Person:

1. You are a good listener.

2. You have a keen sense of how other people are feeling.

3. You care deeply about other people.

4. You go out of your way to help others who are suffering.

5. People are comfortable opening up to you and sharing their problems.

6. Tragic events, even those that you are not directly involved in, stir a sadness in your soul and can even feel overwhelming.

7. Social situations sometimes drain or overwhelm you.

8. You consider what feelings your words and actions will provoke in others.

9. You struggle to set and maintain boundaries in relationships with other people.

10. You sense when people are being dishonest.

11. Other people seek you out for advice.

Empathy is a sign of high emotional intelligence. In our quest to become the-best-version-of-ourselves empathy is an indispensable tool.

Have a great day, and remember don’t just be yourself, be the best version of yourself!”

Life is Messy – The #1 Reason You are Unhappy

“There are four aspects to the human person: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.

Physically, when you exercise regularly, sleep regularly, eat the right sorts of foods, and balance your diet, how do you feel? You feel fantastic. You feel more fully alive. You’re healthier, happier, and you have a richer, more abundant experience of life.

Emotionally, when you give focus and priority to your relationships, what happens? You switch the focus off yourself and onto others. As you do, your ability to love increases… and as your ability to love increases, your ability to be loved increases. You become more aware of yourself, develop a more balanced view of life, and experience a deeper sense of fulfillment. You’re healthier and you’re happier.

Intellectually, when you take ten or fifteen minutes a day to read a good book, what happens? Your vision of yourself expands; your vision of the world expands. You become more focused, more alert, and more vibrant. Clarity replaces confusion. You feel more fully alive, and you are happier.

Finally, spiritually, when you take a few moments each day to step into the classroom of silence and reconnect with yourself and with your God, what happens? The gentle voice within grows stronger, and you develop a deeper sense of peace, purpose, and direction. You’re healthier, you’re happier, and you have a richer experience of life.

Physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually, we know the things that infuse our lives with passion and enthusiasm. We know the things that make us happy. We just don’t do them.

It doesn’t make sense, does it?

On the one hand, we all want to be happy. On the other hand, we all know the things that make us happy. But we don’t do those things. Why? Simple. We are too busy. Too busy doing what? Too busy trying to be happy.

This is the paradox of happiness that has bewitched our age.

Perhaps it is time to slow down. Maybe a better future involves less rather than more.”

Life is Messy – When the Problems of the World Overwhelm You

“The world is a mess… again. The news each day brings news of war and famine, destruction and dehumanization, people behaving like animals and people being treated like animals. All of this can lead us to experience stress, anxiety, depression, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed.

The problems of the world are a summons to reassess the way we are living our lives and an invitation to participate in the much-needed situations.

Feeling overwhelmed makes us feel helpless, but we are not helpless. None of us. Ever. There is always something we can do to improve our situation and the situation of others. It may seem small, but even small efforts radically alter our psychological, emotional, and spiritual health.

When the problems of the world overwhelm you do something besides worry.”