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simplicity

unmuddle the simplicity of the gospel

Posted in faith

All of this I suppose is just a way to say to you that if what’s in your eyesight when you look up is what everyone else is doing or thinks you ought to be doing, clear the way, friend. Clear the paths around you, unmuddle the simplicity of the gospel. It is Christ who cares for you and cares for your provision, far more than you can ever care for it. So let the dead things drop, find out what they are and let them drop. via

Clear the paths around you, unmuddle the simplicity of the gospel.

Is the theology I live by rooted in God’s Word, or my own version of the gospel?

Driving home the other night, Holy Spirit impressed, You can’t manufacture spirituality, growth, or intimacy. 

Gracious conviction.

Listening to all the podcasts, reading all the books, being aware of others’ opinions and learnings gives an air of growth, because I feel knowledgable or capable. But knowledge doesn’t always champion intimacy in my relationship with Father God.

OR… am I listening, reading, and spending my energy to honestly and desperately use them to enlarge my God-lens?

Every time you close another door—be it the door of immediate satisfaction, the door of distracting entertainment, the door of busyness, the door of guilt and worry, or the door of self-rejection—you commit yourself to go deeper into your heart and thus deeper into the heart of God. Henri Nouwen

Encountering God minute-by-minute is what changes me, not continually stuffing my mind with others’ words, or measuring faith by someone other than Christ.

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striving for a more intentional holiday season

Posted in inspiration

I have already heard it from a handful of friends, Here comes the busy months! or Our calendar is already so full. or How will we do everything?

All good, beautiful things! My heart is feeling this tug, though, as I look ahead to our own holiday plans, to be more intentional with my choices and my attitude.

What are a few ways I can make it a little simpler? And with simplicity, even sweeter?

Focus on the real meaning of the season

Thanksgiving – gratitude for all of God’s many gifts. And if it’s been a season of hardship, then thanks for His person, life in Christ, and the fresh mercies for us every single day. Jesus born as a child, a beautiful image of humility. Coming to live a perfect, sinless life, to then die on a cross, taking God’s wrath in our place, to later rise from the dead, giving us new life in God. Father, help me not get caught up in the spending and decorating, the planning and rushing. Give me eyes to see Your beauty and glory. 

Plan simpler gifts

I am not that great of a gift giver. You need encouragement, prayer, or a pep talk? I’m your girl. Gifts? Not my strong suit. But, in this aim for simplicity, I’ve already started a list of gift ideas for family members and friends. Thinking a little more in advance give me freedom, and time for creativity, and also time to save and set aside money for said gifts. On the other hand, I’ve found how much I love to create unique things for people…  giving small pieces of myself, your time and energy and joy.

Be thoughtful and honest with our schedule

For me, a full schedule says lots of time with the people I enjoy — not at all a bad thing. But maybe we give ourselves grace, and choose to attend only the parties, events or gatherings that mean the most to us. Give ourselves permission to slow down and stay in with a cozy blanket, a crackling fire and our favorite Christmas movie once in a while. While sometimes I find myself wanting to do everything, be everywhere and see everyone during this time, I remind myself, and you, it’s also okay to say no.

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television is losing its lure

Posted in faith

“Idolatry is when you become the source of your own joy. Poverty of spirit is a wonderful thing.” Paul Washer

I’m pretty sure I’ve been slightly addicted to television. Or maybe not television, but the comfort of having my attention satisfied.

I could hardly be in silence.

Whether I was exercising, cleaning, creating, I almost needed a movie or show going. Or thought I needed. I had to be entertained.

It was almost like I couldn’t survive in the quiet, or the seemingly boring.

This, in turn, if I’m honest, made me mentally weak. In exercise, when I was tired, in making disciplined choices. It caused me to be distracted more easily when I was cleaning, to stop and watch for a few minutes at a time.

The worst part was that my mind became consumed with images of tv shows or movies, and I didn’t have much clarity of thought. Then, Holy Spirit started working something beautiful in me: a real treasuring of God, a real admiration for humanity.

Slowly, worldly entertainment began to lose its luster. I would turn on tv shows, get 15 minutes in, and be bored with the show! I’d even grumble about it.

Before, I thought the tv was a solution to my boredom. Now, I’m almost bored watching the tv!

There is a longing growing within me for deeper things. For sweeter things. I yearn for that which fills me up and refreshes me. Books, prayer, music, time outside, conversations with friends.

Isn’t it amazing? God has changed me.

I still have shows I enjoy watching. And movies are a way J and I unwind. But the unnecessary tv noise? It numbs me. I don’t like how I feel afterwards.

There is a quote by Paul Washer that I found relevant…

Avoid trivial pursuits. You are a child of God, destined for glory, and called to do great things in His Name…. Do not throw away the precious moments of your life on entertainment, movies, and video games. Though some of these things can properly have a ‘small place’ in the Christian’s life, we must be careful not to give undue attention to temporal and fruitless activities. Do not waste your life. Employ the time of your youth in developing the character and skills necessary to be a useful servant of God.

These are strong words. I definitely don’t think entertainment is bad in and of itself, but I had made it an ultimate thing.. an activity I turned to first for satisfaction and inspiration.

The more I sought His face, the more I asked for Him to change the desires of my heart, He did. Conviction set in, why are you looking for a seemingly constant but actually very flat joy in this television entertainment? When you know exactly Who the source of all true and never-ending joy and happiness? 

It’s just me though. If you love watching Netflix for hours, and you and Jesus are rocking and rolling, I’m happy with and for you!

But I needed a change. A change that greatly affected my soul, and my intimacy with my Father.

Praise Him. 

how I plan on living more fully

Posted in lifestyle

I plan to take my camera everywhere and take a lot more pictures.

I already have a wild passion for capturing moments and taking photos of people, but I have barely scratched the surface. I want to carry my big camera around more often, instead of simply using my cell phone. I want to capture the beauty in the mundane, and capture clearly the smiles of my loved ones.

I plan to go on more walks with my people.

Especially with the weather cooling off, I have found this fondness for walking. With my husband around our neighborhood, with my mom around our church campus, with my friends around a local park — super fun to catch up and also get our heart rates up.

I plan to journal every day.

Whether it’s two lines or two pages, I want to give myself the space to write and think. Not type, but write. Doodle.

I plan to love my body better.

I inherited dry skin, and it get 5x times dryer in the cooler weather. So I plan to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. I also have this bad habit of never taking my makeup off. I don’t wear a ton of it, but it can’t be good for my skin. I also plan on combatting my sluggish feeling of late by saying no to sugar and processed foods for a little while. Here’s an article to back that up.

I plan to stop looking at a screen at least 30 minutes before I go to sleep.

I think it’s a proven fact, but the brightness of a screen cannot help my brain get ready for a good REM cycle, right? It’ll be tough for me, if I’m honest, but I think good for me.

I plan to listen to the Bible more often.

I have only done it occasionally, but the past few times I’ve been driving and listening to it, it took on a different meaning to me somehow. Is that weird? Possibly. Oh well, I’m going to roll with it. Let the stories of Jesus and people like Moses, and the beautiful Truth of the Psalms or a book like Ephesians wash over me like a river of light.

Seems like a lot of things, but they are each changes I can easily make, if I make up my mind.

“What matters is not what I have been, but what God is making of me. When I realized, I began to feel secure in God’s work in my life. I do not know future, but I know God. I know that He will conform me to the image of Christ in particular ways so that Christ will be glorified and my service for Him will be complete.” T.W. Hunt

14 things I don’t do

Posted in lifestyle

“It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.” Shauna Niequist

From the minute I read this line in one of Shauna’s books, it stuck with me. As I get older, I realize how important it is to prioritize, to be intentional with my time.

It’s okay to say No, to not do things just because someone else does them. They are living a completely different life than you. Say No and feel okay with it!

Here are some things I don’t do:

  1. I don’t wash my hair everyday. It’s curly, which means it doesn’t get oily, therefore I can go about 2-3 days without washing it and it still look okay. This saves me at least 20-30 minutes some days. Plus I’m good with a ponytail.
  2. I don’t deep clean until things are noticeably dirty. Other than sweeping the kitchen and keeping the sinks/toilets clean, the gap between deep cleanings is large.
  3. I don’t comment about public events on social media. I’m passionate, but I’m not one to air out all my thoughts on the internet.
  4. I don’t purchase gift bags for every present I give. The bag you open is usually recycled from a past birthday or Christmas. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you!
  5. I don’t go to everything I’m invited to. Sometimes it’s because we’re tired or busy, other times it’s because I simply don’t want to. #honestytime
  6. I don’t iron. Ever. I hold shirts and dresses up to my sister and ask “Would I have to iron this?” If the answer is yes, the shirt goes back on the rack.
  7. I don’t Snapchat. I don’t check-in when I arrive somewhere. I don’t play trendy iPhone games. It’s just not me. But no judgment.
  8. I don’t wash my jeans until I’ve worn them for about a week. I don’t even wash workout clothes after each use. Especially if it’s yoga or a walk, I’m re-wearing that tank top and sports bra again.
  9. I don’t watch live tv. We have an antenna, and we watch television via Netflix and Amazon Prime when we want to watch.
  10. I don’t balance my checkbook.
  11. I don’t drink soda. Never have, probably never will. Carbonation is not for me.
  12. I don’t do yard work. That may change if we ever get a garden or flowers that I enjoy, but I’m happy keeping the inside of our home happy and clean. J handles the outside.
  13. I don’t leave the house without a watch. I usually only take it off to shower, and feel disconnected without one.
  14. I don’t go out after 9pm. At a certain point in the evening, I’m not leaving the house. I’ll stay out late if I’m already out, but besides that, you can find me at home.

A handful of Nos which lead to some sweet Yeses: 

Quality time with my husband. Hosting friends and family. A more generous life. Set aside time for reading, prayer, writing, or creating. Making our home a warm and peaceful place. Laughter and grace when things don’t pan out perfectly. Letter writing to friends. Focus on people instead of objects. Margin for rest. Daily exercise.

What do you say No to that makes space for a good yes?