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  • Writer's pictureAriel M. Pace

My 'No November': A Semi-Success Story

It’s almost to the halfway point of December and the days don’t stop for anybody. The clocks keep on ticking and my calendar is filling up quickly with things I want to do and things I have to do.

My goal for November was to learn how to set boundaries, and take time to rest. Did I succeed? Well, some days yes, and other days not really. Overall, I do feel I’ve gotten a better idea of how to put my day of rest as a priority. These are some things I’ve done to help myself get more organized and settled in my life. Maybe some of these things you do or are beginning to do. If you’ve become a master at any of these let me know and give some advice in the comments.

My Busy Calendar. I want my Saturdays back.

1. I’ve begun to write things on my phone’s calendar.

I am usually a paper planner, but I’ve been too cheap and too busy to go to the store to get a planner. Plus it’s the end of the year and I don’t need 2022 in my planner. Using my phone has been more helpful and efficient. That way I can check my schedule when others ask.

2. I’ve begun taking some time before making a choice.

Giving an answer later than in the moment is best for me. It gives me time to think, budget, and plan if it’s better to say yes or politely decline the offer. I’ve also been convicted because I know Jesus takes promises very seriously. That’s why I’ve begun to take my planning very seriously, if I say yes, I will do it. Let your yes be yes and let your no be no (Eccl. 5:2; Matt. 5:37).

My motivational snacks, Calendar, and Winnie the Pooh stamps

3. I’ve begun practicing self-discipline.

Among all the many things on my to-do list, I have to do a self-paced English Teaching and Japanese Language Learning course. So last month I’ve begun practicing self-discipline by working on these courses every night before I go to bed. I plan accordingly or it won’t get done. I’ve made myself a reward system to keep me motivated just like a little kid. I put stamps on my calendar, for all the days I do the course. And next to my calendar I hang up my snacks as a visual motivation. Jesus said those who are faithful in the little things will be faithful in very much (Luke 16:10). I want to grow and become a better teacher and more fluent in Japanese. It won’t happen if I don’t put any effort into the little things.

4. I want to reclaim my Saturdays for days of rest!

Not that I haven’t made time to rest during the week but I want my full-bummy Saturdays back! Having a moment of rest in the week versus having a day’s rest on my day off is totally different. Totally! I’ve been better this month of December, but it seems like everybody wants to go somewhere on a Saturday - that’s not me. I don’t want to go anywhere or see anybody. And traffic is worse on a Saturday going to Kumamoto city. No thank you!

5. I want to have a designated prayer time.

I’ve been wanting to have a set time where I get on my knees and just rest and pray. I haven’t been able to do that. I just talk with God in the going. I’m always on the go. I want to just sit, rest and hear His words for me. Today I had to repent and hopefully, I can be more faithful in praying just as I’ve been faithful with my classes so far.

6. I want to spend more time in my community.

I know it’s strange putting this on my list when talking about rest, but there’s something special about making time to serve in the community and making connections with people. I’ve been more preoccupied with myself in my own head, worried about my own schedule and things to do. I’m very task-oriented so making connections with people is usually last on my to-do list. I want to try to get out of my comfort zone and bless someone else. Not as a task, or chore, (though it sure can be! Shout out to people working in customer service!) but as a genuine decision to love others and see them as God sees them.

So this is a late post, it’s a testament to my busyness and lack of self-discipline. With God’s strength and wisdom, things are slowly changing. This is simply an update on how I’m doing in Japan and hopefully some helpful tips for you. If not, maybe you can share your wisdom on how to manage busyness with me and others in the comments on Instagram or Facebook. I pray that if you are busy, God gives you the peace that transcends all understanding (Phil. 4:7) and the grace that all perfectionists and imperfectionists need (2 Cor. 12:9).

Found a good church family!

Phillippians 4:7 NIV And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.


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1 Comment

Jan 05, 2023

Girl, I love that you started implementing a reward system! That's so cute. I would probably have to have a reward system for not eating the reward system early or hide the snacks haha. I have been trying to take time to respond to people also, I love that I'm not the only one who likes to do nothing for a whole day. On another token, balancing that with serving others and fellowship with church is also important to me. It is a delicate balance because I can quickly over-commit if I am not careful. Praise God that you found community there, as it is priority to have fellowship. I love how you consider fellowship and service as …

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