What Gives You Clarity on What Matters?


clarity-on-what-mattersI have been binge watching the show Alone on Netflix.

My husband and I watched the first season of this when it aired years ago. The premise of the show is they take 10 survival experts and drop them individually in different areas of a super harsh and remote place in the world.

Whoever lasts the longest before “tapping out” gets $500,000. They do not know when others tap out, so at any given time, they do not know how many people are still competing.

It’s kind of an extreme version of the show Naked and Afraid. The Alone contestants do all their own filming, as opposed to having a comfy film crew tagging along capturing their every move, which is the case on Naked and Afraid.

The Alone contestants are given some basic items, including a first aid kit and clothing of their choice. And then they can pick just 10 survival items. Most people pick a fire starter, knife and cooking pot. Some choose to bring a bow and arrow, wire and fishing line. I assume they can’t choose a gun, because no one ever has a gun.

Of course, the physical survival stuff is mind-blowing. These people are definitely the friends you would want to have with you if you were camping or trekking over harsh terrain.

They know how to build snares and shelters. They know how to forage and fish. They know how to track squirrels, rabbits and large game. Despite all they know, they understandably do make mistakes. They aren’t perfect.

One guy killed a moose, so he had plenty of meat for weeks on end. But even he as an expert hadn’t anticipated how lean moose meat is. Virtually no fat in moose meat. The guy still lost 30 pounds of body weight in one month, even though he was eating moose meat every single day. Go figure.

Some are wiser than others, so the first few people who tap out usually don’t come as too much of a surprise.

The medical team of the show does regular med checks on the participants. If their body mass index falls below a certain level or if they are having blood pressure or heart rate issues, they are pulled from the competition. 

Good to know the show creators won’t let people die, all in the name of entertaining us viewers sitting comfortably in our homes with our fridges, microwaves and bazillion entertainment options.

But wow, doesn’t that ramp up the stress—it’s not just that you have to survive, you have to meet certain expectations of what “surviving” means. So you could be alive and still want to stay out there, but they won’t let you if you aren’t doing a good enough job surviving. They won’t let you starve to death.

Obviously, the contestants spend quite a bit of time figuring out how to get food. But they have to balance exerting energy with having some down time too, so they won’t fly through calories exponentially faster than they replace them.

That down time alone in a desolate environment gives the contestants time to think.

A lot of time. Practically to the point of going insane in moments.

Not gonna lie. It is super fascinating and humbling to watch this. In those moments, their guard and filters fall away and they get real about what matters in life. They cry. They struggle to express themselves. They talk about their loved ones. Parents. Spouses. Kids.

They find a raw clarity that is terrifying and comforting, all at the same time.

What gives you clarity on what matters?

Certainly the vast majority of us are not survival experts. And of those who are survival experts, incredibly few would actually go off on their own for months on end, regardless of a big prize incentive for enduring.

So as average every day people who get our food off shelves and who crawl into warm beds each night, we have to figure out how to find clarity. We have to find clarity without the external pressures of being isolated, alone, bored and hungry in a desolate forest.

We have to find clarity amidst the noise, distractions and stress of our daily lives. I don’t know about you, but I find that super challenging at times. So. Hard.

I told my husband when we got married that I didn’t want just an average marriage. I wanted an extraordinary marriage. In all our years of marriage, we have hit that mark a lot less than I thought we would have. I don’t think that’s commentary on us per se, as much as it is on our vast underestimation of the sheer noisiness of life.

So noisy.

It takes concerted effort to not only tune out the inconsequential noise, but also to keep the consequential noise from drowning you when your back is turned. And let’s not forget that we spend a considerable amount of time just trying to figure out what is inconsequential or consequential.

What gives you clarity on what matters most?

I know that when my husband and I are intentional—with our marriage, our boys, our friends, our dreams—we find those sweet spots. Life comes into focus. Everything comes into focus. 

If you have followed my blog this year, you know we have been navigating two huge stressors that have worn us down at every turn. I mean, they probably aren’t on par with trying to survive alone in a harsh wilderness, but you get the idea. 

Worst year ever.

And that was before the pandemic chaos showed up on the scene.

So I increasingly have new resolve to reclaim something of this year before it is over—and to make 2021 a lot more about clarity than distraction and mediocrity and crushing stress.

I want clarity on what matters most. I want to live in that direction. What about you?! What gives you clarity on what matters most?

For more reading, you can cruise through my list of past posts, as well as my page with a bunch of posts on orgasm.

Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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3 thoughts on “What Gives You Clarity on What Matters?

  1. David says:

    wow, this is really good!

    Maybe it was just in the knick of time (before 2020 began) that God simplified some real clarity in my marriage.

    We had to stop treating our cars better than we emotionally treat ourselves.

    We see a yellow light and we calmly step on the brake and come to a complete stop. We see someone cut in front of us and we instinctively slow down, swerve or stop.

    So if we can prevent ourselves from harms way in a car, we can instinctively see (then avoid) “danger” in a marriage when frustration, voices or anger elevate.

    To instinctively place more value in the emotional health in our marriage but also ourselves, more than our car.

    To agree in a thought provoking conversation and say “we agreed not to do this to ourselves”. Suddenly what happens, we allow ourselves to find solutions with a clearer mind. (clarity) Which stimulates one another’s mind.

    We can even do that when we are alone, if a bad memory floods our mind, instead of allowing it to consume us, we can say “I agreed not to do this to myself”.

    In spite it being a stressful year, we need to calmly step on the emotional “yellow light” as much as possible as we know running emotional red lights is hazardous to our relationships, but also hazardous to our emotional health as well.

  2. Running Deeper says:

    Ah Julie, thanks again. Reflection is so good, so important, if we want to keep growing and keep gaining better clarity.

    For me, my moment of greatest clarity came when we moved to Asia to serve the Lord amongst those living with HIV/AIDS. Towards the end of our first year (20yrs ago!) my wife was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma. Our lives were turned upside down. We sought the Lord and sense Him encouraging us to stay and not return to Oz. So we did. We also both sought the Lord for His word to us. Mine was that she was going to live and not die!

    My wife got weaker and weaker and I was soon pushing her around in a wheel chair as she was too weak to walk. In the natural she was dying but I had to keep holding on to what I believed God had spoken to me.

    Through this whole ordeal God was doing an incredible work in my own life. I began to gain clarity in life and ministry. I began to see that my life needed to be all about Him, bringing Him glory. That needed to then flow through into my relationship with my wife and kids and those around me. I began to see how selfish I really was, how conditional my love really was.

    So began my greatest transformation!

    Now I can clearly see how Jesus must be my all in all. Jesus is the one who gives me purpose, not my ministry or calling. Jesus is the one who gives me worth and value, not my wife or kids. Because of Jesus I can love, truly love. I’m on this journey of learning how to love. How to love my wife better. How to love my kids better. How to love my neighbours better.

    Julie, it really changed the way I do life, how I do marriage and I am so grateful for that very difficult journey with my wife, fighting for her life. She did live on and not die. My clarity keeps growing and I am loving life, loving my wife, loving my kids & grandkids, and loving engaging with people in ministry.

  3. J. Parker says:

    The time I remember having the most clarity about what mattered was when I feared for my son’s life. He was born 6 1/2 weeks early and spent 5 1/2 weeks in the NICU, 8 days hooked up to a ventilator. There were a couple of specific scares in that time too, and I simply recall wanting every moment I could have with him, my other son, and my husband, and relying on others far more than I liked but being so grateful they were there. I’m glad that’s passed, but I don’t return to those lessons often enough.

    Praying for you! ♥

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