Necessary Endings: 5 Ways to Clean Up Your Life

As I eagerly await the beginning of a new semester and school year (t-minus 1.5 hours!), I am thankful for the quiet time to metabolize the experiences of my summer with the intent of building upon those bits of life learning gained throughout this next year.

In June, I read a book called Necessary Endings. The book lays out and expounds on some basic principles:

1) Things end.

“…endings are a part of life. they are woven into the fabric of life itself, both when it goes well and also when it doesn’t.” pg. 6
2) Endings are natural and needed and should be made normalized.

“Just time and activity alone brings more relationships and activities than you have time to service.” pg. 47

3) It’s easy to get stuck BUT pruning leads to thriving.

“But sometimes people get stuck in a type of misery in which they are prone more to inaction than action.” pg. 58

4) A lack of action is a decision.

“Time is working either for your or against you in terms of your needed ending. If you are stalling or waiting, then you are tacitly agreeing to more of what you already have or worse.” pg. 150

5) You attract what you are.

“The clearer and kinder you are in your communication of endings and bad news to people, the better the people you will find yourself surrounded by in life and work.” pg. 209

BONUS: Metabolize experiences and create closure for what you leave behind.

“Keep what is usable to you, and eliminate what is not…The pain, the bitterness, the feelings of failure, the loss and grief, and the resentment all need to be eliminated and left behind. But left behind consciously as opposed to just denied and forgotten.” pg. 217

If my rough summary and out-of-context quotes left you wanting more, I highly suggest you find a copy of the book and read it. It has revolutionized my perspective on senior year, my e-mail inbox, my schedule, and my closet.

Loving Better

Since May 15th at 7:00 pm, when I triumphantly handed in my last final of my Junior year, I’ve slept in 8 different beds with 2 more to go before I return to my bright raspberry creamsicle room.

I never expected to stay in (multiple) strangers homes, co-author and self-publish a childrens’ book, go to Boston, or take up kickboxing during this past 3 months span.

Through a series of  conversations, packing up and moving out, getting caught in the rain (always), making friends at the Y, learning how to write (again), learning about what makes a family, Skyping Siberia, and waiting tables at barn weddings, I finally picked up on God’s creative ways of teaching me to love better by:

Loving Myself Less
I’ve always had a surplus of confidence, allowing me to walk into almost any situation with the assumption that I will not only learn quickly the necessary skills to thrive, but that I would come up with a better way of doing things.  Being an intern for HOPE International, an excellently run organization with competent leadership and a vision way beyond my overly confident self, was incredibly humbling and refreshing.  I was valued for my skills but expected to stretch myself and learn from those around me.  Not hard to do, when surrounded by some of the most intelligent and faithful servants of God I have ever had the pleasure of working alongside.
Loving Change More
Even though I’m leaving the summer with more to-do lists than I came in with, I’ve learned that plans not only can change on a dime–they will.  It’s part of life and being able to embrace the unpredictability of not having the world under my control (who knew?) has released me from the impossible burden of always arranging everything just so.
[This book helped immensely.]
Loving Others Better
 
It’s only because I am a mere 4 days from seeing my fiance again that I can say that this summer has been a wonderfully growing experience in learning how to one day (soon!) be a godly wife and in the meantime, love and serve to the best of my ability.  Of course, a month ago, I would have just whined about time zones and distance.  Thank you to all who have showed me examples of Christ-centered marriages and shared their candid advice.   More on this to come.
Loving Life Fully
 
Its a crazy adventure, but it’s worth living.