Dancing with Simplicity

Simple Living, Walking by Faith
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Tangles of Weeds: Can I Conquer Life’s Clutter?

  • January 25, 2020 9:47 am

Conquering Life’s Clutter

Tangles of Weeds: Can I Conquer Life’s Clutter?

Every year I say I am going to …de clutter my house, journal,
read more, bake, learn a new craft, and organize paper clutter in my office.
Sound familiar? You too? And every year it does not happen. Well, not most of
it anyway. It’s like the view from my kitchen window. Our window looks out on
our long, narrow yard. Our dogs have seen to it that no grass remains. Instead,
we have a lot of odd trees and weeds that like to keep coming back every year. A
tangled, hot mess. One year we finally paid to have the overgrowth removed. Everything
was pretty, though still not grassy. The yard cleaned up nicely. My view from
the kitchen window revealed a conquered yard! Despite the lack of much greenery,
it was something to behold… for a season. A very short season. 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 (including some me time.) Unfortunately, before we know it the
whole mess has grown back again. Weeds start filling the schedule, our
thoughts, our plans, choking out our attempts to dream some big
dreams. Bottom line, our attempts to simplify, declutter, get rid of the weeds,
are thwarted every time. Life clutter.

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
entangles. A manicured yard doesn’t last long in a fallen world. The weeds will
come back. Cluttering tangled messes like anxiety, addictions, stress, depression,
pride, stubbornness, disobedience. Notice these are not all blatantly sinful things.
Sometimes, they are time robbers. Sometimes they simply drain you and zap your
energy. They grow in like those weeds, quickly, subtly, unnoticed. Just like in
my backyard. Creeping clutter.

Maybe, it’s time to
remember the weeds and clutter are simply going to be there. Instead of
being caught off guard, pluck them up and move on. If they grow back, tear them
down again. If it takes some repentance and confession, so be it Let
God’s presence fill up the overgrown messy weedy places. You may find
opposition coming back, and taking over. Opposition to your plans, dreams, 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.
For now, try planting His Word in the barren yard. Do not let the yard take you
by surprise. Recognize it, expect it, and conquer it. Tear it down. Deal with
it when it grows and better yet, let Him be the gardener. Simplify your
life, by anticipating the opposition. Be prepared for it, and keep moving
forward. Behold the view from the window. He is making all things new.

II Cor 4:16 (MSG) So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the
outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside,
where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.

Dancing with Creativity: Daily!

  • March 8, 2019 4:53 pm

Dancing with Creativity

Having been a recent recipient of two art classes, a member of two mentoring groups and a lifelong craft and writing lover…well, I have not been generous with my time and attention to these arts. Life gets in the way. I had a thought recently:  why not create something every day? This is probably not a new concept to anyone.  I quite often hear writers stating that they must write every day in order to keep moving forward. I suppose artists say the same thing.

If I begin a project, I can give myself permission to keep it going a day or two before moving on to another endeavor. Why not? If in fact, God has gifted me to create and I am not doing it, then perhaps I am not being a good steward of the gift. What do you think? Can anyone relate to putting off the use of these kinds of gifts because they are too time consuming? Isn’t life too short to wait?

When I started this blog, my thought was that we are often dancing around the very thing we are called to be doing. Dancing with, toying with but not doing. Walking by faith is more stable, or should be. But life it seems, is a dance and we are swirling around the very things we want to do but cannot seem to ‘get to.’ I’m going to attempt this. Create a time for colorful art, writing or creating something. Dancing with creativity…daily.

 

What Are You Seeking in 2015?

  • December 31, 2014 6:14 pm

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

There is no greater goal, no greater resolution than to seek God more in 2015. The world is obviously a little bit stressed out lately. 2014 saw a whole bunch of chaos. No matter what your political views, there’s no denying the chaos was and is there even on this last day of the year.

You may have had a wonderful year, or one filled with struggles. In any event, the new year brings a new opportunity to set some goals and work toward some changes. Now you probably know from the past that most of these changes  just do not get done. It’s like decluttering your house.  How many times have you vowed to do it, and how many times have you failed? That’s what I thought…me too!

The only thing I can guarantee you and myself, is that seeking God first is the real solution for everything. Check out the following:

Matthew 6:25-34 (HCSB)
25 “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?
27 Can any of you add a single cubit to his height
by worrying?
28 And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread.
29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these!
30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith?
31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’
32 For the idolaters
eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Notice how the seeking part, is buried in the worry and the stress? Matthew has it smack dab in the middle of the mess.  Why? Because it works. The emphasis though, is on what to seek first. In the middle of 2014 and 2015, lies the chance to do some serious seeking. One day at a time.  It may be a little late to recover the time from 2014, but tomorrow is just a few hours away.  Start now, seeking Him in prayer as you offer Him your new year.

If you don’t know how to seek Him, or what it means to have a true relationship with Him, visit the Knowing God page on this blog. Feel free to research and discuss what it means to seek both His kingdom and His righteousness.

If Christmas taught you anything, it’s that all the stuff you may have been seeking either didn’t show up under the tree, or it didn’t make you happy.  I write from reality and I can tell you you will always have struggles and chaos in the midst of peaceful days. Happiness is never lasting. The choice though, is to seek Him through every year you have on the earth.  There is no other way. Seek Him first. Not Facebook friends, not alcohol, not drugs, not money. Seek Him first. Not status, not the perfect career, not toys and the fastest greatest car. Him. First. Above all. Right now before you land in the middle of a new year. And for the record, can you believe another year has come and gone already? Start now!

Ephesians 3:20-21 (HCSB)
20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us—
21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

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.