Living Outside the Box Returns: Doing It When You Don’t Feel Like It

secret to living fully alive

Rise up and Walk, Run, Live!

Three years ago I wrote a post entitled “Living Outside the Box. Doin it When You Don’t Feel Like It.”

The comments on that post inspired hundreds of people, me included.  Many of you are new to this site and I would love to get your input.  Based on the response last time, your comments will brighten the day of more people than you can imagine.  Enjoy, and please leave a comment.  

People often ask me, “How do you do comedy and present a message of hope on those nights when you don’t feel funny and you’re not exactly bubbling over with enthusiasm?

Benjamin Franklin hinted that some people give up.  He said, “Many men die at 25 and aren’t buried until they are 75.”  How do YOU keep from throwing in the towel. How do YOU stay out of  “The Box?”

I am convinced  that YOU who actually “live everyday life” have some of the best answers to how to keep “living everyday life” when you are tempted to “box it up.”  I am also convinced that some of us authors and speakers miss out on your wisdom because we spend more time creating than living…..  SO….

If you are a stay at home mom, I want to hear how you get kids ready for school and coordinate a household and family during those days when you don’t even feel like getting out of bed, those days that your daydreams run contrary to your reality.

If you are a career person, how do you continue to hammer out the work required when you feel like you have run out of ideas and energy at the same time, when you have lost the passion for your job?

Pastors and spiritual leaders, how do you continue to preach and inspire when you feel spiritually dry and doubt’s shadow flutters at the edges of your brain?

Writers with an empty mind, when you’re staring at an empty page, how do you fill that page and then another, and another?

How do those of you who are facing a new career, a new family, or a risky adventure move beyond fear and step into the unknown?

Where do you find the strength and inspiration to continue if tragedy has interrupted your life and now you must find a way to move forward?

If I have missed your calling or situation, feel free to fill in the blanks and have at it.  I found the insights so valuable three years ago that I want do this again and post your comments in a future blog post. Of course I will not use your name.

I guarantee someone will find your insights a great motivator to wake up and live outside the box so…

Leave a comment, help someone live.


  1. Your enthusiasm for life is contagious and awesome. I think it’s our expectation of “arriving” that trips us up. We have been conditioned to think that we find happiness in things. Not true. It’s a journey to find your calling and strengths that can activate your spirit for God’s will. I joke that I’m in a permanent midlife crisis to find my purpose. I have been thinking lately that in this consistent seeking I am missing out on the very arrival of my daily blessings as a mom, wife, friend, encourager and follower of Christ.

    1. I often miss them too, Erica. There are times when I have to fight my own cloudy thinking in order to find joy right in front of my face. Your struggle is not unique. So glad we am not alone.

  2. I’m an at-home mom of a tween and an Asperger teen. I’m also a humor writer and do crafting and sewing on the side, when I’m not tearing my hair out between the kids and story characters. I have no problem with you using my name- please do! (it’s Beth Brubaker)

    I still have to get my son (the older child) up for school. I’m still wondering if this is an Asperger thing, or a teen thing; possibly both. As for their childhood antics like The Baby Powder Incident, Not Me Momitis, and The Underwear That Could Win Wars, I’ve combined my writing talent with momming and included them in a book that I hope will be in print soon. I’ll save a copy for each of them for a wedding gift, just to let them know what they’re in for- because the mother’s curse WORKS.

    I once dreamed of those Shangri-la days of Disney life, where the forest animals help me clean the house. I now live in reality where the birds don’t help when you invite them in, they shriek and poop all over the house- though I admit the cats are very, very happy when this happens.

    My home-town snarkiness is transformed into humor on the page when I’ve had an especially trying day. In fact, the worse the day is, the funnier the story! Life has been downright hilarious at times- especially during pregnancy- and right after when, much to my dismay, there was no instruction book that came with the baby when he was born.

    Sometimes I get up in the morning I feel like a slug caught in the molasses in January. Other times I’m sick, but if I can blink, I can get these people ready and out of the house so I can get back to sleep. Most of it is self-motivated; get up, get done, get peace and quiet. Other times it’s self-preservation; get up and make them something before they destroy my nice clean kitchen, stain the rugs, or blow up the house.
    There’s also motivation in knowing I can write down the days adventures, and learn something about myself in the process. God is funny like that- after all, what does a mom expect to learn from messy kids, two cats, and a husband in ministry?

    A whole stinkin’ LOT, Buster. And I wrote them all down to prove it. 🙂

    1. Okay, Now I am going to follow your writing. Thank you for this funny and honest comment. BTW My mom used to force me to put on clean shorts, in case I was in an accident. Evidently EMTs refuse to treat teenagers with racing streaks.

      1. Just remember what Bill Cosby said…someone is going to hit you with their car…whether they actually do or not doesn’t matter- you will have soiled underwear! Because first you say it, then you DO it! 😉 I think I’d be suspect if the guy actually DID have tidy whities and didn’t just get new ones to impress me….so you’re okay by me (as long as I’m not the one doing the laundry!)

  3. The Bible says that God inhabits the praise of His people. SO…when I don’t feel like going on, like when our son was passing from this life into Glory, I praise Him, I worship Him and I spend time with Him in His Word. I also believe it has helped me a lot to be honest with the Lord about how I’m feeling but I also then surrender all of my thoughts and emotions to HIM. That’s when the inspiration to keep going comes in like a flood. I don’t get it “right” all the time, but when I do, the blessings are indescribable!

    1. Thank you Donna, In the Bible, God’s message to those who were going through difficulty was always the same, “Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.” OR as my 4 year old granddaughter prayed as I was headed for the hospital critically depressed years ago. “Please don’t let my Grandpa be afraid…. Don’t let Grandpa forget about Jesus” Whew!

  4. Every time I get down God throws in a little comedy relief. Mustard? why did he make my cream soda taste like mustard? where was I? Oh that’s right, God’s comedy of life keeps me going, I just wait for his next practical joke.

    1. Oh, Roger, how you make me smile. You are my lighten up Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. What a heart God has given you.

  5. I keep dreaming and enjoy the journey to our home in heaven. I know that I’m just passing through. So I wake up every morning asking God to guide me and except what He brings my way. Then I say ok. I will do that. And live life with out regret which is my theme for 2014. I’m a mom of 5 and a wife of an awesome man. My oldest is 11 my youngest is 9 months. So for today they are my purpose. Love is the reason to press on.

    1. Katie, You will never know how much I needed this…..> So for today they are my purpose. Love is the reason to press on. Thank you.

  6. What do you mean when writers are empty headed?—-All writers are empty headed— God is the source of anything anybody ever thinks that is worth reading or saying. I always enjoy your empty headed ravings! Blessings, Bud Atkinson ( Empty headed Southern Gospel Songwriter)

  7. I’m a medical educator/writer turned minister/chaplain who is again doing medical writing. Sometimes when I’m down, blocked, etc. I point out to God the irony of my journey, especially in light of my expectations. Standing back, looking at it all, telling God off? That picture brings a laugh, relieves some stress and often opens the way through to wherever I’m needing to get. Other times, I distract myself completely from the task at hand until something pops into my mind, some answer, some “do this.” And then there are times when I just go on auto-pilot. For example, I was the on-call chaplain and I was exhausted. I fell into bed praying there would be no calls that night. Of course, you know what happened. I made my way to the patient’s room praying simply to stay awake during the visit, and pretty much doing so throughout the visit. At the end of the visit, the patient related how helpful my visit had been! Okay. I have no idea what I did but you’re welcome (said to self, not patient!) As my supervisor pointed out when I shared the experience with her, I’d showed up, trusting my training and more importantly, that the Holy Spirit was awake and working. Sometimes just the willingness to ‘put ourselves out there’ and then stepping forward is what it takes to get there.

  8. I have worked in the Trust business for almost 49 years now, I love working with people and enjoy the work that I do. The fact that I learn something new everyday inspires me to teach something new to the younger people. I have also found out that when I started teaching VBS it opened a new world for me to teach kids about the life prepared in Jesus, and they just soak up the stories you tell and make you look forward to everyday.

  9. I am 58 years old I accepted Christ as my savior 50 years ago on march 20 the 2014 I have had a lot of valleys in my life but I can honestly say God has always carried me back to the top of the mountains.the journey has been great .l have always received beauty for my ashes and have learned that when I go through a difficult time in my life God uses those times to allow me to help others in the future .you can’t honestly tell someone you know and understand what there going through if you haven’t been there yourself I thank God for people like you who send smiles my way I pass them on to is hard but if you know Jesus you will have a great journey and great life even in trials I can’t imagine life without Him in the end of life we are victorious thanks for being in my journey and my friend May God Bless you and yours.

  10. I try to keep in mind a principle J.R.R. Tolkien described in chapter 3 of The Hobbit: “Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.” So when I’m going through a rough day, I try to think about how much the fans will enjoy it! 😉

  11. I am a wife and a mother in the home of a blended family. I am also an aspiring artist and I desire to use any gift or talent that God has blessed me with to glorify Him. I grew up in a large family. I am the oldest of 7 children. My parents started fun and out if the box traditions with us when we were young and they are still traditions we do not only with them but with our children now too. No matter what we faced in day to day life, we always made the extra effort to take time out for our traditions. One in particular is valentines day. They decided that showing love to the family was more important than some flowers and chocolates. Every year we make extra effort to make that day special for the whole family . We take turns putting the event on. One year it’s my parents and the grand kids. And the next year my siblings and I host’s a simple yet wonderful way for us to show each other love. Use our creative outlets and take time out from the stress of life. We all know that the moment we arrive at the event, we leave our stresses at the door and have a good time. We laugh , we cry, we simply take a moment ( a few hour sabbatical from life) and enjoy the company of those we love… I think it’s important to take moments in our lives, whether it’s a trip to see something new or to a small house by a little lake where u can paddle boat and fish or game night with the kids and friends that makes you laugh till ur sides hurt. Or even an annual event that brings your family together in a new and adventurous theme and environment every year …my family loves to laugh and it’s those crazy little moments that inspire us and keep us going when life seems to be going all wrong or when it just seems full and weighs heavy. ( I’d like to say thank you to you ken for sharing your gift and helping create some of those laugh together moments! )

  12. I fit in 2 of your categories: mom of 3 who sometimes doesn’t want to get out of bed and hit by tragedy. I’ve loved God all my life and started to truly follow Him at 28. He blessed me with a wonderful husband and 3 daughters. At the peak of my relationship with the Lord my youngest brother died in an accident. Same year my father died in surgery. I had to forgive…God. Secretly I blamed Him for taking them. Now, when enemy tries to whisper depression and “your life is blah” back into my mind I remember my family is my miracle. It’s what I asked God for. It’s not easy to be a stay home mom and active leader at church, but it’s so worth it. How does my faithful and good Father reminds me He loves me and knows my every tear and thouht? I hear my 4 year old singing our church songs, I see my 5 year old dance praise and worship, my 1 year old sings “Hallelujah”. They’re the reason why the enemy tried to convince me not to get married or have children. They’re the reason why the enemy wanted me dead. My future generations are marked to serve the Lord. Devil whispers “look at you, you haven’t done anything with your life” I laugh at him, sing praises to my King get up and dance with my girls. Dirty dishes can wait, laundry can wait, HE HAS TURNED MY MOURNING INTO DANCING, HE HAS TURNED MY SORROW INTO JOY : )

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