Friday, February 27, 2015

Operation: Simplicity, Part 2: Peace


If I had to choose one verse from the entire Bible to be my "life verse", it would be this one.  I have struggled with depression for years now, and have always been comforted by the truth that my Jesus guards my heart and my mind.  He gives me true peace; a peace that passes all understanding.

As God has been leading me through lessons on simplicity, I have come to realize that simplicity is a state of being at peace.  It is the ability to live in the Lord's truths.  To not live life with a spirit of fear and timidity, but in the spirits of power, love and self-discipline (2nd Timothy 1:7).  Instead, to dwell on those things that are true, noble, right pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy!

I'm pregnant. This is #3, and anxiety has been unwelcome, but present this go around.  To combat the anxiety I have turned to Jesus and nesting.  Combine those with lessons on simplicity and no room in my house is safe.  The word that best describes it is "purging".  I have a deep..DEEP...desire for peace and calm, and to obtain that peace I find myself placing less value on my possessions.  You see, when I have a lot of "stuff", it occupies my mind.  It clutters my brain.  It strips me of the peace that I so desire by replacing Godly thoughts/time with stuff-ly thoughts/maintenance. It robs me of time I could be spending with Jesus, or my family, or my friends. so, I get rid of the things we don't need or use. Adios!

A while back, I came across this quote in a pin on Pinterest:

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." 
                            -William Morris.

As an overly-practical person, I can accept the first part of this quote with ease, but the latter half left me a little frustrated.  Beautiful?  Beautiful.  Here is my former definition of beautiful: girly. Pretty self-explanatory, and being the only female in the house led me to believe that anything girly, and therefore beautiful, was outlawed in our home. Beautiful isn't practical.

Enter: God's Truth.

True beauty is anything that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy!

(Here's where God's lesson on simplicity comes into play recently.)

Beautiful things draw my focus to my Creator.  He is the source of true beauty. He is also my source of peace.  If something draws my attention to Him it is worthy to be in my home!  If it draws my focus towards Jesus, then bring it on!

I will put a vase of flowers on the table (albeit, the discounted ones from the grocery store, because remember I'm overly-practical!).

I will surround myself with photos of my family. They are the truest beauties of my life!

I will plaster the walls with the words of truth God gave me.  To remind me of His beauty: those things that are true, noble,right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy!

I will surround myself, and my family, with things that are practical and things that are beautiful.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Operation: Simplicity

I just did a search for "Simplicity" in the Kindle Store n Amazon. 43 pages of books about simplicity.  43 pages, you guys.  That makes choosing simple, doesn't it? GAH!

God's been gently leading into a season of simplicity. Most of the time, I get pumped about it!  Woo hoo!  Less complicated life? Yes, please!

Sometimes, however, this is frustrating to me.  I don't think we live in extravagance.  We don't have 800 TV channels. We don't have a huge house. Our cars are used, older, and paid for. I donate clothing we don't wear regularly. When we're done with something, we pass it on.  This is all essential to simplicity, isn't it?

Sure.

So, what place of simplicity is Jesus calling me into?

A place of abiding.

To abide.
To wait.
To remain stable with Him.
To be in a place with Him.
To just sit still and be with Jesus.
To simply enjoy His presence.

This is the conversation that then ensues with Jesus...at least this is how I imagine it in my head:

"O good Lord, you've got to be kidding!?  Sit still?  Wait patiently? For Heaven's sake, when do You want me to do this, Lord!?  When the laundry is piling up? When the kids are hungry?  When dinner is ready?"

"Nope. Not then."

"When?"

"You could wake up early."

"Riiiiiight...."

"You could put your phone down. Or get off the computer."

"I could."

"You could abide with me and your boys at the same time.  You could get on the floor and play cars with them."

"Mmmmm hmmm."

"How about turning the TV off and listening to worship music while you fold laundry or make lunch?"

"Good thinkin'."

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me." (John 15:4)

"I seem to recall you mentioning that."

And we go on like this until I realize I have complicated my life. I have put things in my day that keep me from the simplicity Jesus is calling me to. I have filled my hours with Pinterest and Facebook instead of the Bible. My phone is my constant companion, not the children God has entrusted to me.

Well, crap!

Because here's the reality. Simplicity is simple. It's not complicated. It's about enjoying what you have. It's about enjoying who God gave you. It's about living in the moment and soaking it all in. It's about abiding.

Once I get to this point in my thinking about abiding and simplicity, I usually hit a brick wall. This is when I'm supposed to actually put my phone down (or in another room completely!). This is when I should stop typing and go play with my son.  This is when I should turn off the TV (that I'm not watching). But, so often I don't. Why? Beats the heck out of me!  Laziness? Probably. Gosh that hurts to admit!  But, I have to stop writing now.  Because I truly have no reason to keep typing. I have no advice except to start abiding.

So, here goes.