Battling the Busy-Man

As I get older, I’m learning that if I don’t intentionally prioritize things, my subconcious will do it for me. When I say, “I don’t have time for that”, what I’m really saying is, “Something else has a higher priority than that.”

Right now, my highest priority is a quiet life.

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 NLT

I made this my top priority this past December, while we were in Florida; I was realizing just how burnt out I’d become. So upon our return in January, I made changes to ensure a quiet life. Oddly enough, life has a lot to throw at me to equally ensure it doesn’t happen! I’m amazed at how naturally my ‘yeses’ come out and how deliberate I have to be if a ‘no’ is going to come out.

I really, really hate being busy. I’ve hated it for a long time, but when I saw this verse hanging up at my mom’s house, it was like a heavy burden was lifted— I no longer felt guilty for wanting a quiet life!  And it gave me the sovereign permission I needed to start simplifying. Fewer commitments, fewer engagements, less busyness.

If you’re like I was, feeling busy and burnt out, here’s 7 tips I’ve picked up so far, in my quest for a quieter life. :)

1. There are too many good things out there for me to dip into a little of everything.
2. God created me with a unique combination of temperament, abilities, stamina and desires. He doesn’t waste anything and neither should I. It takes time to find the thing I can best serve at; serving in little things while I work it out is better than being a bump on the log while I work it out. I can start with serving the people I share a house with, at the very least. (Doing a chore that isn’t mine, spending extra-quality time with someone instead of mindlessly entertaining myself, etc.) This helps cultivate a servant’s heart (something I really struggle with, for a variety of reasons) so that, when I *do* figure out what I’m cut out for, I’ll have a headstart in having a willing heart. ;)
3. It’s okay for me to say no to lots of things! It’s not okay for me to say no to everything.
4. My blog, friends, husband and family are FABULOUS sounding boards for figuring out what needs to get cut, what my talents are, what my weaknesses are and how all those things play into or against leading a quiet life.
5. Leading a ‘quiet life’, I’m finding, is not dull and it’s not sitting around doing nothing! It’s using my God-given Combination of Everything as efficiently and productively as possible. There’s still emotional stress to my day; there’s still work to be done. But I’m fulfilled at the end of the day, I’m not burnt out, I’m not frantic.
6. The enemy will fight this endeavor of mine. For starters, his top priority is rebellion against God and His ways. But I’m also figuring out that ‘busyness’ is one of his most effective tactics for stifling spiritual growth. ‘Distractedness’ could be another word for it. But being aware that he’s trying to sabotage me is half the battle and renews my resolve to be intentional about how I spend my time.
7. There are seasons of God sowing into our lives and seasons of harvest. The sowing times are the hardest for me; they involve a lot of…nothing. At least on the outside. But it’s also a resting time, a time to take it easy, savor the moments and rest. I’m slowly learning not to be afraid of resting time or feel guilty for it. It’s productive in its own way, although visible results are slow in coming.

Ironically, it’s hard work to have a quiet life. But it’s so worth it…

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7 Comforting Truths For The Christ-follower

These are some truths that God has been bringing to light over the last few days. They have been really encouraging to me so I wanted to share them.*

1. I’ve been a child of God for a long time. I’ve been a dedicated Christ-follower for a couple of years. I will never “arrive”! No matter how long I do this life with God, I will never completely understand Him. I will still get confused. I will still feel lost sometimes. I will definitely screw up. It’s okay. God knows that I am dust; His grace is sufficient for me; He *will* finish the good work in me that He started. :)

2. Jesus has given me permission to badger Him. (Luke 18) So I don’t need to feel guilty when I pray about that one thing AGAIN. In fact, persistence is a good thing! God wants to know the desires of my heart and He is a refuge for me. I am to present all of my requests with thanksgiving but there is no limit to how many times I am allowed to present my requests! God wants me to approach His throne with courage and boldness. He is a loving Father who loves to give good gifts to His children.

3. If I am not getting what I’m asking for, is it because God isn’t good or is it because what I’m asking for is not good for me? ;) This question has changed the way I approach prayer. I ask Him for everything and then rest in the knowledge that, if I don’t receive it, it is because it wasn’t good for me. This doesn’t mean I always love the answer He gives me; for example, I am badgering Him to provide a job for my husband and a house for us to live in. I am not loving that thus far, He has said ‘no’. But I know He is GOOD—there is GOOD wrapped up in the situation I am not loving and one day, I will see it and be grateful for it!

4. The Christian life is not for ME to live. It is for God to live through me, when I surrender to Him and allow Him to fill me with His Holy Spirit! I need to stop spinning my wheels trying to accomplish “good things” and instead, ask Him to fill me with His power and live His life through me. He gives me grace and strength for each moment if I remember to receive it! Right now, the only thing on my “Christian To-Do List” is: Remember to receive God’s power moment by moment! Staying aware of this keeps me from losing my temper with my children, husband, or malfunctioning technology. ;) It keeps me from panicking when a rug gets pulled out from under my feet. It keeps me MOMENT-oriented, instead of “overwhelming Big Picture”-oriented.

5. I don’t know what God is up to. AND IT’S OKAY. I don’t NEED to know! I need to live! To pray! To rejoice! This is the hardest one to get through my head. I don’t need to know what God is up to. I don’t need to figure it out.

6. I am weak. Weak, weak, weak. It’s okay to be weak. God’s strength is made perfect because of my weakness. I need to STOP trying to buck up! Stop trying to buckle down! GOD is the one working—in and through me. I need to sit back, be weak, and glory in His strength, grace, and mercy. It’s never about me!

7. This too shall pass. No, it really will. If things are tough right now, they *will* get easy again. If things are easy right now, they *will* get tough again. And when one thing finally starts coming together, something else will start to fall apart. BUT IT’S OKAY!!! I can be at rest, I can be joy-filled regardless of my circumstances. It’s a moment-by-moment process. The Christian life is not a gas tank that gets filled up all at once and then gradually used up. The Christian life is a lung, that gets filled up and emptied *each* moment. BREATHE. Trust. Believe that He is good, He is capable, He is working. And, He is smiling. :) God smiles at me. God is smiling at me. God is smiling at you.

* If there is anything here that you would like scriptural back-up for, please let me know. Almost every sentence is based on an actual scripture that God has shown me recently. I was going to include the references as I typed but it was going to be very cluttered so I’m including this disclaimer instead. ;)

Tell-Tale Signs Your House Contains Tiny People

1. There are moltings of Tiny People Shells everywhere. Especially the pieces that cover the torso, the legs, and the feet. See fig.1 below.

2. The toilet is always pre-filled, saving you the trouble of having to put something in it before you flush.

3. Various surfaces that were formerly smooth are now sticky, so you really CAN re-use those Post-It notes over and over, in specific spots.

4. Miniature versions of everything are taking over your house. It’s like a miniature invasion of miniature armies, whose nefarious schemes are so tiny, they’re happy with just taking over the house, rather than the whole world. See fig.2 below.

5. The following description sounds more glorious than a trip to see the Seven Wonders of the World:

qui·et /kwīt/
adjective: Making little or no noise.
noun: Absence of noise or bustle; silence; calm.
verb: Make or become silent, calm, or still.

6. The carpet has built-in massage capabilities, if you walk over it barefoot, and the windows have ‘privacy facilitators’, also known as ‘smudges and fingerprints’.

7. And last, but most definitely not least—there is never a dull moment; rather, there are moments of tears, moments of temper, moments of craziness, moments of mess, moments of “WHAT did you just flush down the toilet??” and moments of negotiation (i.e. “Eat this half and you can go play”, “Play nice with your brother or you’re not playing at all”, “ALL the toys have to be picked up, not ‘some’—this is not a negotiation!”). However, there are also moments of sweet, moments of precious, moments of hilarious, and moments of “You did not just say that in public!”—that last one fits into the Sweet And Precious category because, years from now, it WILL be a treasured memory and a favorite at family reunions, first dates, and wedding rehearsals.

If you can relate to one or more of the above, your house most likely contains Tiny People. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the day), there is no remedy. It’s a condition that must run its course and, more often than not, it’s a condition one gets so accustomed to, that oddly enough, it is missed when it has finally gone. ♥

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7 Things I’ve Learned From Social Media

1. If the person can’t see you, it’s okay to talk trash about them. In a public setting, this works best from under a table or around the corner.

2. Real names are not required.

3. If someone puts something out there, it’s up for grabs. You can comment on anything and everything, even if it’s a “private” side conversation on someone’s Facebook status.

4. Nobody cares about your personal opinion but everyone thinks you care about theirs.
     4a. Hiding behind a computer screen is free license to propagate your pet agenda.
     4b. Propogating your pet agenda in a public setting makes you an extremist.

5. Cool people “retweet” but being retweeted doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cool. It can definitely mean you said something reeeally stupid.

6. Everything is a contest. It’s imperative to your social standing that you constantly tag people in your status updates while listing all the cool stuff you did with them and/or how much fun you’re having with them. The last person to post a status like this is a rotten egg who has no friends. Unless you’re like me and you rebel against social trends – then you’re just a rotten egg and people who aren’t your friends don’t like you.

7. “Social networking” is just a fancy term for “I wanna be all up in yo biz.” “Friendship” is just a fancy term for “I want you all up in my biz.” Generally speaking, social networking and friendship don’t happen in the same place.

Share what social media has taught you! If you tend to go on like I do, limit your “lessons” to 7, too. ;)