Thursday, June 30, 2011

Does it look finished?

I measure whether or not a job or task is completed by how it looks in the end. If there was a mess to clean up, is that mess now gone? If there were clothes to be folded, are they now folded and put away? If the dishwasher needed to be unloaded, is it empty now?

Those are the measurable things.

But what about those things that aren't so measurable? How do I determine when those things are done? And how do I tell how well things are going? When God asks me to pick up a responsibility and then tells me it's finished, what am I looking for to tell me whether or not I've done a good job, completed my task?

Am I looking with natural eyes or the eyes of faith? That's really the question.

I've been pondering lately how as Jesus hung on the cross - His disciples scattered and disillusioned, his family weeping and grieving at His feet, the utter darkness and depravity of every sin and disease laid upon His back - He was able to hear His Father's voice above the din of unbelief and hopelessness that raged about Him, able to see past what His human eyes saw and hold on by faith to what He knew His purpose to be, and able to cry out in a loud voice:

"It is finished!"

We, of course, have the privilege of hindsight. We know, because we are looking back, that those words were indeed true. That Jesus' work was finished here on earth.

But to the eyes of those around Him, and, perhaps, even to His own human eyes, it looked anything BUT finished. Jesus had to hold onto the truth of what His Father had told Him and walk in faith and trust, not trusting what His eyes and emotions told Him.

What I'm learning in this pondering process is that a completed job, a task well-done, does not necessarily mean that all loose ends are tied up nice and neat. Sometimes it looks super messy and hopelessness and despair could set in if I choose to not hold onto truth instead.

So today I choose to see with eyes of faith. To look at the tasks around me and to not judge how well I am doing them by how well things are turning out. To look to the Father, instead, and to be ok with loose ends, messy finishes, and unconventional outcomes.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Negativity Flood

For the last few months, I have been flooded with negative, stressful, overwhelming thoughts from almost the second I wake up. Mostly the thoughts are "reminders" of what needs to get done, of what I didn't get done the day before (or the day before that), of the mistakes I made and don't want to make again, etc.

I don't want to get up because of the day that these thoughts have painted for me and yet to stay in bed is to lie in torment, battling to not sink.

Usually once I get up the thoughts subside. I get busy on whatever needs my children have and start thinking about meals, errands to run, and fun things to do during the summer. They quiet. Because I'm busy.

The Lord did give me a tool last fall that has helped tremendously, but I had lain it aside...for no particular just fell off my radar. He reminded me that I needed to be writing in my gratitude journal every night before bed. He'd shown me that before during my negativity fast.

So, I started back diligently writing down things I was thankful for every night before going to sleep...even if it was just one thing.

And the barrage of negativity slowed, but it didn't cease.

Yesterday I was walking and asking the Lord to please show me how to make it stop. They weren't ruining my day, but I sure want to wake up to different thoughts so I can get a running start.

It wasn't until later in my day when I was cleaning out my inbox and came across an unread newsletter that the Lord revealed at least the next part of the process of ridding myself of the morning barrage of stressful thoughts.

In the newsletter, Trevor Lund says:
What do you do when all your thoughts are negative? What do you do when you agree with the voice of the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy more than you can agree with the One who comes to give you life and to the full?

I help people deal with this every day through but this week I felt hopelessness replace the joy and peace of the Kingdom.

So what did I do?

I asked God to forgive me for agreeing with negative thoughts and asked Him to show me what He thinks of me...

That was it. I had been, at least on some level, agreeing with those negative thoughts, particularly because they just wouldn't stop. It was true that there were things I didn't get done, needed to do, or had done poorly. But what wasn't true, and what I wasn't catching that was slipping in with those thoughts, was that there was any shame or condemnation in those things.

So I did what Trevor did. I confessed that I had come into agreement with the lies of the enemy about me and about my day. I repented and asked the Lord to come give me His thoughts about my day.

And something lifted.

This morning I woke up to relative quiet, and it stayed quiet in my head for the most part. I have a bit to go. I think there's another layer that the Lord will address at some point, but for now I'm so thankful to be walking in even greater freedom than before.

Friday, June 3, 2011

"I Don't Have Time to Be Busy!"




Or at least it feels that way. In fact, I would say over the last year the sense of busyness has increased dramatically. If I stopped and listed what I do, I don't think the length of the list would be that much longer than it was several years ago. Definitely not longer than when I was working full time. Or when I had babies to nurse and diapers to change.

But I feel busier.

So when I saw the chance to review "I Don't Have Time to Be Busy! a primer for simplicity" by Trevor H. Lund, I jumped at the opportunity. I need simplicity. I crave simplicity. I buy books on how to simplify, how to organize my time more efficiently, how to be more disciplined.

I keep hoping I will find that "magic" moment when all I know to do (declutter, say "no", don't schedule more than I have hours in a day, etc., etc., etc.) will click and my life will be more simple.

That's what I was hoping for when I picked up Trevor's e-booklet.

It is different than anything I've ever read on simplicity. Ever. And those of you who know me know that I read a lot. I have bookshelves and bookshelves of books I've read (and re-read) over the years.

And it's the best. Why?

Because Trevor didn't give me a list of things TO DO to simplify. He exposed the root of my busyness, and he was spot on. I already feel less busy just by revealing the root. And I'm actually more busy since reading it.

I'm not going to tell you the root because I really want you to scoot over to visit Trevor and buy the e-booklet from him and support what he's doing to help release freedom. Nothing happens for me whether you do or you don't.

If you do, though, greater freedom is at your door.

While you're over there, go ahead and sign up for his newsletter and download the free e-booklet titled "How to Steward Your Destiny." It totally rocked my world. And who doesn't like free? I also HIGHLY recommend his negativity fast 40-day emails. That's how I actually stumbled across Trevor's website.

And I'm so thankful I did.

To greater FREEDOM!