Self Care, Crazy Busy, Productivity & The Truth

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I’ve been on a reading binge this year, knocking out a few books that have peaked my interest in recent years. One reading priority I made toward the beginning of the year was to read a few books on productivity and time management.  As I have mentioned time and time again one of my biggest struggles is self discipline. It’s not that I don’t get things done it is more that I often feel overwhelmed as I am getting those things done. So I set out to read a few books that might aid in my endeavor to be less overwhelmed and more disciplined. While I cannot wait to share about the books themselves, this post is more about my response to the reading of these books in general.

So far I have finished The Fringe Hours and Crazy Busy. I am working my way through Do More Better. The Fringe Hours is really about making time to take care of yourself and do things that you love so you can be better at what you are called to do. Jessica Turner encourages readers to find what fills them up. That may be a book club, craft project, dinner out with friends, taking a nap or anything of the sort.  The focus is very much centered on taking care of you. It is a self care book after all. Crazy Busy dives into the problem of busyness and some reasons we are busy. Kevin DeYoung really focuses on diagnosing the busyness so we can better deal with the busyness. Do More Better is doing what the subtitle claims to do, it is a practical guide to productivity. Tim Challies practically walks the reader through how to figure out what you are suppose to be doing and doing more better.

All three of these books have blessed me in some way and challenged me in others. As I am walking through Do More Better after reading the other two books I am feeling a little overwhelmed. Let me explain, Challies has the reader list their responsibilities, roles and to create mission statements for each role. I have been working through this over the course of a few days. As I was typing this up for my benefit I was struck by the reality that there is NO way I can do all that I am responsible for. ABSOLUTELY, NO WAY.  I looked at the list and was struck by the reality that I was suppose to take care of myself, cultivate relationships within my four walls and outside of my four walls, manage my household, educate my children,  and serve our local homeschool community. This exercise also showed me all the things I’m not doing that I should be doing.   My natural inclination is to throw my hands up and run for my bed so I can pull the covers up over my head and pretend life is easy and there is no balancing act that is required. I often opt for blissful ignorance. But, by the grace of God, He shined light into what was about to become very dark.

 

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8:12

 

Truth is what dispelled the darkness that was seeping into my mind. I am thankful that when we spend time in the Word we are making deposits into a deep well that we can draw from when we are weary. My flesh and the world wanted me to believe that I wasn’t enough and couldn’t measure up. Truth told me that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) and I was reminded that my identity was not found in what I was doing or was not doing but in Jesus Christ alone.  When my flesh said “I cannot do this, I am not enough” Truth told me that I wasn’t suppose to be enough and my boast can only be found in my weakness because that is when Christ is made strong.  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) After coming to the realization of who I am in Christ and that a weak vessel is what we are called to be I still wondered how I was going to get it all done. Again, Truth spoke life into my soul reminding me that “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

As I saved the document I was working on my heart was full. It was full because the Holy Spirit breathed life into my dry bones. Self care, curbing busyness and productivity are all worthy endeavors within their right place.  As I prayerfully move forward seeking to honor God with my endeavors and time, peace has quieted my anxious heart. That peace is found in knowing that God is working and I am a long for the ride. I am trusting the power of the Holy Spirit to continue to convict and change me so that my productivity is measured not by what I get done but on WHO I am getting it done for.

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Fighting Back Mondays | Finding Beauty & Showing Grace on the Hard Days

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What is it about a Monday? When you hear someone utter the word Monday it is almost thought of as a curse word. Something one should not speak of.  The thing about Monday’s is that one occurs every 7 days. You would think we would be prepared for Monday as we know it it coming however, it sneaks up on us like a thief in the night and steals our joy and our maybe even our faith. (Or so it seems because of how we act!)

Maybe your like a very good friend of mine and LOVE Mondays because it is a big fat reset button for the week. If you are, I am so very thankful for you. You encourage people like me to think about it as a fresh start.  But if your like me and Monday is a struggle because you are still hanging onto Sunday, you need to know there is hope to overcome the doldrums that come along with Monday. Don’t get me wrong.

Not all Mondays are bad, actually mostly they are good. Filled with laughter, good books, and mundane moments. However, when that “typical Monday” arises it is fierce and rolls in with a vengeance. This past Monday was a “typical Monday” after a day of dealing with whining, bickering, bad attitudes (mine included), slothfulness, and just a general blah sort of day I was ready to throw in the towel. We had covered the gamut of “love one another, put on kindness, be patient, be gentle, etc” and I was done, tapping out, crying uncle, turning in my pink slip, done. D-O-N-E. Done.  Knowing God’s mercies are new every morning it was bedtime and I was looking forward to Tuesday.

When I sat down to read the word that night I opened my Bible to Colossians 3:12-17 and was confronted with the living and active word of God. I was convicted of my sin and called to repent.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

On this “typical Monday” I had forgotten who God is and who He has called me to be. To fight back Mondays, or any day for that matter, I need to remember who God is and who He has called me to be. I need to remember I am a chosen one, I am to be holy, and I am loved. I need to have a compassionate heart, be kind, be humble, be meek, and have patience. I need to bear with my children, I need to forgive them as Christ Jesus has forgiven me. I need to walk in love (remember love is is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things) knowing that through the love of Christ there is harmony and the peace of Christ can rule and reign in my life.  This will cause me to be thankful. When I let the word of God dwell in me I can teach and admonish with wisdom, encourage with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs which will cause me (hopefully us) to overflow with thankfulness. 

I can do these things because of what God has done in my life through Christ.  At the end of the day I realized I threw my faith out the window the minute the bickering started. I began looking to my solutions not God’s. I pulled out my best parenting techniques rather than resting in the grace of God and extending that same grace to my children.

Fighting back Mondays means looking to Jesus the author and perfector of my faith and resting in His good work.

Fighting back Mondays means having a compassionate heart. 

Fighting back Mondays means being kind.

Fighting back Mondays means being humble.

Fighting back Mondays means being meek.

Fighting back Mondays means being patient. 

Fighting back Mondays means bearing with one another. 

Fighting back Mondays means forgiving one another. 

Fighting back Mondays means walking in love. 

Fighting back Mondays means letting the peace of Christ rule.

Fighting back Mondays means being saturated with God’s word so that it overflows into my days. 

Fighting back Mondays means being thankful. 

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Friends, there is beauty in the battle, join me in fighting back Mondays!

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Women of The Word | Going Deeper

… a human mind is nurtured over time with hard work and discipline. – The Awakening of Miss Prim page 54.

Discipline is something I have have battled, no, been at war with since I left the halls of my hometown high school. I have struggled to be on a consistent schedule since life was planned out for me. This has been especially true when it comes to studying the Bible. Over the years I have sat through Bible classes, started countless reading plans, participated and led numerous Bible studies only to be waylaid by life. Something came up or the bible study ended.
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//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsI recently finished Jen Wilkin’s book Women of the Word and walked away changed. I rarely finish a non-fiction book, usually, I drag my feet kicking and screaming all the way to the last page, but once I started this book I completed it in an afternoon. I sat the book down feeling admonished, corrected and equipped with a deep hunger to study my Bible. To truly love God more by knowing Him better. The whole premise of the book is “the heart cannot love what the mind does not know,” (page 31). If we truly desire to love God we must KNOW Him and we cannot do that apart from His word. Here is a favorite excerpt,

The answer lies in knowing God, in loving him with our minds. Never has the phrase “to know him is to love him” been more true. As we grow in the knowledge of God’s character through the study of his Word, we  cannot help but grow into an exponentially deeper love for him. This explains why Romans 12:2 says we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. We come to understand who God is, and we are changed — our affections detach from lesser things and attach to him. If we want to feel a deeper love for God, we must learn to see him more clearly for who he is. If we want to feel deeply about God, we must learn to think deeply about God. – Jen Wilkin, Women of the Word, page 33

The challenge to love God with our mind is one God has been calling me to and after reading Women of the Word I feel equipped to tackle that challenge one day at a time. Jen lays out 5 P’s to study God’s word. She calls women everywhere to study with purpose, perspective, patience, process, and prayer. She provides helpful tips on how to dig into God’s word, what resources to use, and how to get started. After completing the book and spending some time reading through a few of the Epistle’s of Paul I decided to study Colossians. I have a burden to see my children better equipped than I was to study the Bible. My daughter is looking forward to studying along side me as we learn more about God. I am looking forward to learning more about God by digging into His word and coming away changed. september2015_0015ed

Linking up with Intentional At Home @ Creative Home Keeper

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Walking Through the Word ~ Romans 2

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 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? – Romans 2:4

It is amazing how many times I have read and considered this verse yet I have missed the main point of what Paul is saying to the Jewish readers.

Do you presume is probably directed against Jews who thought that their covenant relationship with God would shield them from final judgment. After all, they had often experienced his kindness and forbearance and patience. They thought such blessings showed that they were right with God and had no need to trust in Christ, but Paul says the opposite is true: God’s blessings should have led them to repent of their sins. – ESV Study Bible Notes

So often I too am like the Jews. I presume on my initial salvation experience and neglect to remember it is by that same grace that I am walking with Christ today. Repeatedly I find myself taking pride in “all that I have done” rather than rejoicing in God’s goodness and blessing which truly should lead me closer to Him.

Romans 2 also reminded me of the weight of the law and the holiness of God. The law is a reminder that I can’t in and of myself keep it perfectly. This caused me to reflect on the goodness of God in sending Jesus into the world who kept the law perfectly.

Walking Through the Word ~ Romans 1

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I love how the Apostle Paul jumps into chapter one of the Book of Romans describing in length who he is and who God is in him. Paul does not waiver in sharing his credibility with the Romans nor does he waiver in sharing what God has done for him through Jesus Christ. Paul is eager to share with the people in Rome about the gospel of Jesus Christ and he boldly puts forth his mission in Romans 1:16-17.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17

Paul is about the gospel, knowing it is only through Jesus that a person can be saved and can continue to follow Jesus Christ. This is one of my favorite passages in Romans 1 because it serves as a reminder to me that the message of Jesus Christ is what brings initial salvation but what also keeps me walking in faith daily. Instead of pulling up my boot straps and seeking to “do more, be better” I can trust that the gospel has the power to save me and keep me! That is good news!

Another passage I spent some time considering is Romans 1:21

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21 ESV)

“The root sin is the failure to value God above all things, so that he is not honored and praised as he should be. Human beings are foolish, not in the sense that they are intellectually deficient but in their rejection of God’s lordship over their lives. They knew God not in a saving sense, but they knew of his existence and his attributes.” – ESV Study Bible Notes

I realize this passage of scripture is referring to those who have never truly experienced new life in Christ but I was convicted about how quickly I value other “things” as greater than God.  The way I live day to day, at times, would seem to say that I reject God’s Lordship in my life and I live as one who “knows of” God but does not truly “know” Him.  I am thankful the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to convict and change me and that I can trust that gospel has the power to save me and keep me.

Growing Deeper

Have you ever had that longing, that unsettled feeling in the bottom of your belly that screams to you that there is more to life. The desire and yearning to grow, to be changed, to be different.  You know you have been called to more but you feel like that more you have been called to is unattainable. This is where I have been. Honestly, it is where I have been for a long time. Chasing babies, cleaning house, homeschooling, working, and general staying busy has kept me from the “one thing necessary”. Over the past few months God has awakened a desire in me to grow in wisdom and knowledge of His word. To walk in a deeper relationship with Him. Truthfully, I have fought it. Not because I don’t desire to walk with Him but because I know it takes much of me. It takes discipline to open the word and sit under it. It takes slowing down and sitting at the feet of Jesus through spending time in God’s word.deeper

I always have good intentions. At the start of the year I was reading through the Bible along with a biblical theology book. I was doing that with the Mr. and Miss K but that was derailed due to life circumstances and instead of pressing forward I stopped all together. It was easier to stop than to keep going.

So that brings me to today. Desiring, longing even for change that can only occur through the life changing word of God.

Choosing where to start when considering the whole of the Bible is overwhelming. When one doesn’t know where to start they often turn to the beginning. However I unsuccessfully try that every year. So instead I am going to start in the Book of Romans and ask God to deepen my understanding of the power of the gospel in my life and those around me. I am looking forward to using this blog as a platform to grow deeper with the Lord.

Light out of Darkness

Like most people I love a good story. There is something a story does deep in our soul that nothing else can touch. Homeschooling has given me the opportunity to reclaim my education as I am educating my children. I am attempting to catch up on all the great literature, especially children’s literature, that I did not read as a child. I recently finished The Wing Feather Saga by Andrew Peterson. While not a classic, this beautifully written series stopped me in my tracks on a number of occasions due to the deep truth that was conveyed. This is one quote in particular caused me to marvel about the goodness of God and stand in awe of His plan to send a light into a dark world.

Artham is speaking to the dragons, who are one of the oldest created beings,

“Of all creatures, you should know that the darkness is seldom complete, and even when it is, the pinprick of light is not long in coming — and finer for the great shroud that surrounds it.”

North! Or Be Eaten, page 311

What hope this should bring to those who have trusted in Christ. I know it can often feel like the darkness or worldliness have overcome but there is always a pinprick of light and it truly is finer, brighter because of the shroud around it. 

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Have you ever been in a room that is completely dark but yet there is one stream of light you just cannot keep out? That stream of light illuminates the rest of the room, just like the Light of the World who will bring the darkness to light.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the
light of life.”

– John 8:12

The Great, The First & The Second

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 22:37-39

Many people have a life motto, a word they live by, or a verse they claim as their own. I, however, inadvertently stumbled across mine.  I didn’t realize the commitment I was making to these verses when I stuck them on our wedding invitation over a decade ago. Truly I just wanted to love God and my husband!

These verses have followed me through the mountains and the valleys. Learning to love God with all my heart, soul and mind has been a journey that has wrought repentance, obedience, awe and joy. Learning to love my neighbor as myself is something I cannot do in and of myself. These commandments are an ever present reminder of my need for a perfect savior, Jesus Christ.

Though I still have a deep desire to love God and my husband this blog is about my pilgrimage of loving learning how to love God with all my heart soul and mind and my neighbor neighbor as myself.

This is my journey toward more!