Dancing with Simplicity

Walking in Faith
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View from the Window

  • October 25, 2014 9:37 pm

dreamstimefree_207706[1]Every year I say I am going to …Declutter my house, journal, read more, bake, learn a new craft and organize paper clutter in my office.

And every year it does not happen. Well, not most of it anyway.

It’s like the view from my kitchen window. We have a backyard that is split in half, with a little gate in between. It is a long, narrow yard, very close to the neighbors. Since we acquired our little rescue dog four years ago, we have had nothing that resembles a lawn. Instead, we have a lot of odd trees and weeds that like to keep coming back every year. Let’s call it yard clutter.

This year we finally paid to have the overgrowth removed. We also tackled a downed tree. Everything was pretty, though still not grassy. The yard cleaned up nicely. Both halves were done, but the view from the kitchen window revealed the side that was the cleanest, and the most conquered.  Despite the lack of much greenery, it was something to behold.

Now however, months later, the weeds are back with a vengeance. Yard clutter.

So it is with our yearly, weekly, daily, goals, and plans. The space is cleared. We make room in our homes, our schedules our lives for all sorts of things. Unfortunately, before we know it the whole mess has grown back again. Weeds filling the schedule, our thoughts, our plans, blocking out our attempts to dream some big dreams. Some weeds show up because of our own bad behavior! Botttom line, our attempts to simplify, declutter, get rid of the weeds, are thwarted every time.

Now you might think this is a bad thing, but it really is no surprise to God. He knows we have no good thing in us, and He knows our sin will come back. Smooth sailing doesn’t last long in a fallen world. The weeds will come back. And with it, things like anxiety, stress, depression, pride, stubbornness, clutter. Notice these are not all blatantly sinful things. Sometimes, they are just time robbers. Sometimes they simply drain you and zap your energy. They grow in like those weeds, quickly, subtlely, unnoticed. Just like in my backyard.

The remedy?

 Romans 7:18-25 (NLT)
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.
19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.
22 I love God’s law with all my heart.
23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Maybe, it’s time to remember the weeds and clutter are simply going to be there. Instead of being surprised by them, clear them up and move on. And if they grow back, tear them down again. If it takes some repentance and confession, so be it. Ultimately, Paul’s answer, Jesus, will be the one who fights through the clutter. Let God’s presence fill up the overgrown messy weedy places. You may find opposition coming back, and taking over. Opposition to your plans and choices comes in all sorts of forms. Though it is a battle you may deal with every single day for the rest of your life, in the end He has conquered it all. And finally, things will be clear for good. For now, try planting His Word in the barren yard.

Next time you take in the view from the window; don’t be surprised by what is growing in the yard. Recognize it, expect it, and conquer it. Tear it down. Deal with it when it grows  and back better yet, let Him be the gardener. Simplify your life, by anticipating the opposition.  Be prepared for it, and keep moving forward.

 

 

New Bible Study from Kelly Minter

  • October 22, 2014 1:05 pm

 

What Love Is: The latest study from Kelly Minter. I love her Bible studies, and you will too. Perfect for small groups or personal study, this one focuses on I, II and III John. You will love the insight she brings to John’s topic of love. Simplify your life, and take time out to study God’s Word today. Refresh your soul! And enjoy the preview clips. Study this summer online, via Lifeway (Summer 2015). Scroll through the playlist for some sample clips.

Psalm 19:7 (NASB77)
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul

Really? Are You Questioning God’s Direction?

  • October 17, 2014 8:40 pm

Really?

Look around, and listen. The latest expression, which may be getting old already, is really.

Everyone is using the word, from celebrities, to newscasters, to friends and family. Really, is the new buzzword. Online definitions state that really means you are surprised by something someone has said. However, for our purposes, let’s go back to the slang term that everyone is tossing about. Essentially the word means, “are you kidding me?” “You have to be kidding!” “Are you serious?”

And such is the expression I myself used when I felt God telling me to start writing again. As a teenager, I had taken journalism courses and creative writing courses in school. My father’s uncle was the creator of a small publication based on gold mining in the Wild West. Though I was not thrilled with the subject matter, his work inspired me to pursue writing. He shared insight on tools and resources, and he gave me inspiration. The inspiration paid off. In high school, I won a state sponsored creative writing award. Really.

I don’t know why I ever continued to be attracted to writing. Ballet and crafts were the things I cared about. Perhaps I tucked this into my back pocket for a day when ballet was no longer physically possible for me. For such a time as this. The craft addiction is still there, but the writing interest has returned after being set aside.

As I start focusing on writing again, I have been reflecting on writing as a gift from God. It’s something He has been asking me to do, and this is just one part of a journey of obedience. It has taken me a year or better, just to get this blog off the ground. Really. I did not want to let Him down, but I did not want to be unauthentic either. As a small business owner, I spend far too much time on mindless paperwork, and too little on following after Him. I seek to use His gifts so much more than I currently do. I don’t want this to be a meaningless, mindless blog. I hope to move from my frustration with mindless living, to a purposeful place where a simple, faith based life of creativity thrives. I hope you join me in this journey.

I’m wondering what God has asked you to do, that makes you say “really?” He may be asking you to buy a meal for a disadvantaged family. Really. He may be asking you to speak to someone in the grocery store, someone who needs to hear what He has to offer. Really. Anytime we are asked to do something out of our comfort zone, really becomes the key word. It can be an excuse, or a jumping off point to get moving and start sharing, caring, and helping. Try changing your tone from the slang really (“you have to be kidding God!”). Change it to, “really?” Joyfully accept what He is asking you to do.

So next time you feel God asking you to do something, share something, follow a certain path, even if you find yourself saying “really?” know that He never asks us to do what He does not equip us to do. Jump in, with a preliminary prayer for wisdom. Keep seeking Him along the path as you journey into the actual doing of the thing. It may be a very short-lived task He is asking of you, or it may be a very long journey. After all, I pretty much shelved my writing after junior high and high school, and here I am forty years later. I’m feeling the slang really, but prayerfully, thoughtfully crossing to the other side of the word. If it truly is His direction for me, soon I will be saying “yes, really!” with a definite conclusion and confident determination.

Help me Lord, to seek the path You have for me.  To glorify You through the use of the gifts You have given me, every day.

 

Are You Stuck?

  • October 8, 2014 4:57 pm

Get-Unstuck_13-300x300One of my favorite authors has just released a new book.  Valorie Burton inspires with her latest work, Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable.  Pay a visit to the book site for further information.

Valorie always inspires me.  If you want to pursue simple living, based on faith, she provides you with the tools and ideas needed to get there.  It’s all about focusing in on your goals and passions, and then following through with them.  Moving forward is easier because she wants you to succeed.  I would not be working on this blog without the inspiration I gained in her Monthly Momentum coaching program, another resource she offers.  The following comes from the author, and gives you a glimpse into the new work.  I’ve just purchased my copy and will be reading right along with some of you.

Start Moving and Inspiration Will Come

One of the most common misunderstandings that keeps us stuck is the belief that we need to feel inspired to get started. So we wait for inspiration. We wait to feel like moving forward before we move forward. Days, weeks, even months can pass without that feeling showing up, so we stay right where we are. Paired with that idea is often a simultaneous, erroneous belief that the people out there forging ahead– unstoppable in their progress –are somehow more inspired. Well, that is partly right. They are more inspired. But not for the reason we insist on believing. Those who are more inspired didn’t get that way because inspiration finds its way to them more often. They are more inspired because they don’t wait for inspiration to move them. They understand that if they start moving, the inspiration will come. So they get moving. They start uninspired. They see the work that needs to be done and realize it must be tackled. They must dive in. They don’t always feel like diving in. They, too, are bombarded by more instant –gratification distractions. However, they have disciplined themselves to not be lured by those distractions – at least not for long. This single piece of wisdom is worth taping to your desk or using as the background on your laptop or posting somewhere you can be reminded: Start moving and the inspiration will come. Declaration – I choose to move toward that to which God is calling me. I don’t have to have all the answers up front. I just have to have the faith and self-control to get started.  Today, God, help me take a step forward. Right now. Not an hour from now. Not tomorrow. When I start moving forward in faith, inspiration comes. Thank You for what is about to happen as I take a step forward in faith! Amen.