Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fits and Starts, Being Stuck and being true to who you are

I absolutely love Phil Ressler's "40 Things to Give up for Lent and Beyond." I'm super excited to be working through it this Lent. But something happened, I got stuck. Week 1 Saturday, Lesson number 10: Giving up Over-commitment. Whoa, that hit home big time.

Part of being steadfast, isn't just hanging on when things are hard, it is also being steady, consistent.

Ephesians 4: 3 The Message reads   And mark that you do this with humility and discipline - not in fits and starts, but steadily pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love.

At first I was angry at myself for getting stuck, for not finishing what I started, for getting days behind. But in the back of my mind I knew there was a reason for it and there was a big lesson coming. I was being tossed around in the sea of over commitment.

None of what I was trying to do were bad things within themselves. They are all good things on their own but it was too much for me all at once. I had started to experience fits and starts. The inability to take it all in and keep up. Ups and downs of energy levels. Not just incomplete tasks, but incomplete comprehension of all this awesome material I was learning. My brain was struggling to understand and remember what I was reading in 40 Things, Stephen Ministry and daily Lenten Gospel readings. I did not feel steady at all.

I actually tried to skip over Day 10 in order to catch up! But, I knew I couldn't move forward until I went back to it. While avoiding it I started to hyper focus on all the undone things in our home. I needed to complete this project or clean out this closet. It was like I was grasping at clarifying my environment in order to feel control in chaos.

In Day 10, Phil Ressler points out that if we don't have a portion of our lives that is NOT committed to something, we create an unsustainable situation. We aren't steady. We work in fits and starts. We become overwhelmed and stuck, with no freedom to move forward.

Learning to be true to who we are, to find joy in this amazing life God has given us, is learning to be present, slow down, absorb what He is showing you. Allow quiet unscheduled time in your life and mind to hear what He is saying. To discern what He wants you to pursue. To have peace in those pursuits. And allowing God to accomplish that peace and healing in you.

All this came about among prayers to learn simplicity. When I feel most myself is when I'm not bogged down by tasks and clutter. But trying to control those external things in order to feel peace doesn't produce peace. It's like it works backwards. You have to let go of those things and their control over you in order to have freedom. It is knowing peace and then modifying those things around me in order that they no longer act as an obstacle to helping make the world better.

1 Timothy 6:11 The Message reads  Pursue a righteous life - a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. 

Breathe that in for a minute and allow your heart to be in awe of every one of those words. That is what God desires for us. That is the life only He can give us. He doesn't ask us to produce it. He invites us to participate in it. He is telling us that He has already given it. If you aren't sure how, ask God to show you.

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