Leap Year is one of those oddities that occurs every four years with the addition of a day to February. Julius Caesar came up with a plan in 46 BC to compensate for the fact that Earth’s orbit doesn’t fit precisely in a 365-day window. At the time, the seasons and the calendar were a full two months out of sync so Caesar increased that year to 445 days!
By the 16th century, the alignment of seasons and calendar were again noticeably off, so Pope Gregory XIII came up with the current schedule of adding leap days.
Most people don’t think a lot about Leap Year, unless you or a family member were born or married on February 29, but the word “leap” brings to mind jumping forward. Here are some ways to use leap year as a reminder to move beyond what holds you back:
Like the imperfect division that doesn’t allow earth’s rotation to fit snugly in 365 days, things in our lives rarely go perfectly. Even with in-depth planning, scheduling snafus, unforeseen complications, or human imperfection often conspire to throw our plans off course and sidetrack efforts. Flexibility is key to forward motion because it allow you to reassess, rearrange, and reformulate without coming to complete halt.
From relationship issues to social media to entertainments, our lives are full of distractions. Developing focus requires intentionality. Many things lure attention and it’s up to you to employ self-discipline and set priorities to prevent distractions from winning.
Additionally, stop watching and worrying about what others are doing, or saying, and focus on your goals and personal development. Our lives, talents, and interests are different and trying to compete or force yourself into a mold not meant for you creates frustration and sends you sideways.
Sometimes we place undue demands on ourselves or allow others to load us down with requests or expectations. Be especially aware of this if you are a pleaser. People who are users are adept at sniffing out pleasers and will engage all their skills to keep you constantly “doing” for them.
Take an honest look and determine if and why you are allowing others to usurp your time and energies, and then take steps to extract yourself from those obligations. Follow up by examining excessive expectations you place on yourself, and scale back. Freeing yourself of encumbrances leaves room for new pursuits and rest.
Unforgiveness is crippling, yet those who do not forgive fail to see it holds them back. Many people go through life with an attitude of unforgiveness toward multiple people whom they feel have wronged them. In their minds, not forgiving punishes the people who have hurt them. In fact, the reverse is true. Failing to forgive is like shackling yourself with heavy weights. The more bitterness you harbor the more you are glued in a quagmire of resentment and anger. Thoughts and feelings center on hurts and negative perception prevents you from seeing beyond the past. When you forgive, you free yourself to leave bitterness behind and leap forward.
Julius Caesar’s idea of adding 80 days to the years sounds crazy, but who hasn’t wished for more time to accomplish tasks, vacation, or spread things out and move at a slower pace? In order to make the most of each day, it’s necessary to plan, stay focused, factor in delays, and be flexible. Many things vie for priority, but here are four areas to focus on redeeming time:
Sleep – This year, I’m making an effort to back up my bedtime by an hour. Even if I read a few minutes after getting in bed, I at least give my body the signal that it’s time for rest by assuming a sleep position. Adding hours of rest aids mind, body, and creative processes.
Reading/Study – Reading and study fuel the mind in a way screen time doesn’t. Enjoy a novel or nonfiction on a subject about which you’d like to know more.
Creativity – Recently, I found a journal from twenty years ago, when I first started writing. I was surprised to remember my writing journey began with penning poetry. Although my first efforts will likely never win any prizes, they remind me to stretch my writing muscles in different areas and engage in other creative pursuits.
Prayer – Prayer is powerful, yet an untapped resource for many. Often, we spend countless hours worrying about life issues, or fearfully pondering scenarios that never take place, instead of taking matters to God in prayer. Work toward making prayer a habit. Even if it means giving up a meal, redeem time for prayer.
“I’m not there yet, nor have I become perfect; but I am charging on to gain anything and everything the Anointed One, Jesus, has in store for me—and nothing will stand in my way because He has grabbed me and won’t let me go.” Philippians 3:12 VOICE
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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