Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bless this Mess



My mess does not have to equal stress.

Today is my longest of the week at home with the three boys until we leave at 5:30pm for Local Youth. I realized in order to have fun and be creative (rather than watch TV) it means creating a mess. 

It means digging through the toy box and digging up all the Legos, it means playing "War" and having fifty-two cards scattered across the floor. It means digging up whatever you can find in he fridge to eat real food rather than a microwave meal. It means giving your little babe avocado for the first time.


I started pondering all of this as I walked through the kitchen and felt a lot of debris sticking to my bare feet. My first thoughts were, "gosh! You never clean the floors. What's wrong with you!? Such a mess." And immediately I grabbed that lie and pulled it down. 

"No, this is a beautiful mess. You have children to play with, a warm house to be barefoot in, real food to eat... This isn't stressful, you're not a screw up. This is the life. The beautiful messy life you are ridiculously gifted to live!" 

Today, I hope you can look at the messiest parts of your life
and find some beauty and blessing in their midst. 


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Holidaze

Okay, let's be honest. Something awful can take place during the holidays that is a complete joy stealer. Comparison. Yes that word we hear all the time right now... but man did I have to fight it like a bad habit this year. Every time it would show it's ugly face I felt like a total addict to something I couldn't break! Why does this keep coming up? Why can't I beat this? But I think it's something I will have to fight for years to come. I do have to say I've seen major growth in my heart in this area. Much more celebration than competition with others.

But let's talk about what happens on the holidays, because I had a few real-live conversations about this with people who admitted they dealt with it... which of course raised the "YESSS, I'M NOT ALONE!!!" feeling in my heart. The "I'm not crazy, so maybe I should write it on the wall so others can have that little piece of freedom."

So the holidays, can become a "daze" when we scroll through our feeds and then start to think what we're doing isn't enough. Our tree doesn't look like that, our table is definitely not that matchy-matchy, our family is not that put together, they look like they're having so much fun.... or we have too many parties to attend we don't have "us" time, we don't have any family here-- it's just us.

See what he did there, either way you slice it-- it doesn't measure up. The thief of your joy can manipulate your circumstances to always seem like they're not enough, you are not enough. 



That's what my friend and I ended up saying, she told me she was jealous that my pictures looked like we were having so much fun with just us... and I in turn confessed that the entire holiday I was thinking about how we have no family parties to attend, no family dinners, nothing like what my friends had. My immediate response to her what just a total STOP IT moment. Wow-- how our hearts can deceive and mislead us. Not only does he want to steal our joy, but to destroy our very minds and perspectives on the blessings we each have.

What's awesome is on Christmas Eve I came across this statement on my feed,
"Stop letting the worry of what isn't happening in your life, ruin what is happening." Carl Lentz
That nugget of truth really guided me out of moments of pity and into total gratitude and soaking up every blessing. It also reminded me of this I saw on my feed before:



See our "feeds" can actually feed us truth, so be careful who you follow. (Gosh, that sounds like another day...)

So I hope that as we wrap up this holiday season-- Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years-- you are able to seal your memories in your heart and mind as good enough. They are your life, your loved ones, your traditions and they are just enough for you. Probably more than enough-- that's how I feel. So let's take the "daze" of comparison out of our holidays.


"This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24 NLT

Listen

That's my word for 2015.                     I'm ready to listen Lord.

He speaks, it's just a matter if we are listening or not. Weeks ago-- I was in the shower-- and He spoke. Probably because this is one of the only points in my days where no one else can have my attention. There's not much to get distracted by in there-- no electronics, no voices... I just wish I could write down what I hear, dream, think up in there. Normally by the time I get out, crazy has happened.  Sorry-- #momlife sidenote. Where's your quiet place? Your secret place?



Do we simply listen? Rarely. When do we sit in silence? Hardly ever. Even in the car we have to have music playing. Or when we're home alone-- the TV on. It's always something. With our phones attached to us, it's almost impossible to disconnect. What if we took a daily inventory of what and who we are listening to every day? What do you need to "shake off"? And what do you need to "turn up"?

We listen to a lot of voices. I want to learn to tune my ears to hear His voice more often and above everything else. If you would say it's hard for you to hear or ask how do you? A good way to start is get into the Bible, dig in. That is His voice, constantly available to listen to, at any moment. This year I will find my "place" to listen, daily. I don't want to go a day without hearing from Him.

"Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track." Proverbs 3:6 (MSG)

I will also be sure to listen to those who are "wise counsel" in my life, to learn from "mentors" both near and far. Sometimes your "mentor" may be someone you won't ever meet. We can be lead by the words and voices that God is speaking through. I will read and chew on more truth this year. I seriously need to get disciplined to actually finish a book. 
"Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice. Keep my message in plain view at all times. Concentrate! Learn it by heart! Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they’re bursting with health." Proverbs 4:20-22 (MSG) 

I think with this practice of listening, I will be bursting with health-- body and soul. Let's go 2015! 


(Was just about to post and remembered this is the theme that Pastor Brian & Bobbie Houston have given this year. "Speak Lord-- we're listening!" You can read more here. So perfect.)