Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com
I love sweets. I mean I really love sweets. Cookies, cake, brownies, ice cream, pudding, cereal, candy, if it has sugar in it, I cannot resist it. That’s why I have to limit how much of it I keep in our house. If it’s there, I will eat it. This is an area of my life where I definitely lack self-control. I realize part of the problem is that the more I try to stay away from it the worse I get. For a while, I had a good solid run of limiting the amount of sweets I had been eating. But that’s only because I hadn’t been buying them and hadn’t really been a lot of places where they were offered. But then summer happened. Going to this bbq and that dinner and then this holiday came and that holiday came and the desserts were bountiful. I can definitely tell by the way my clothes fit (or don’t fit now) that I went overboard. This morning I got a revelation. The reason that I lose control is because I haven’t allowed myself to practice self-control. By keeping sweets out of the house, I really wasn’t practicing self-control or exercising discipline. I never had to make a conscious decision to not eat the sweets because they just weren’t there. If I ever want to be able to truly resist the temptation I have to actively say no to the temptation when it’s right in front of me. The more I practice resisting, the easier it will become and that is when I will truly achieve self-control.
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT
This weekend I took on the project to clean out my office. For a while, it wasn’t my office. It had actually become a dumping ground for dirty clothes, junk mail, and a host of other things that I either didn’t know what to do with or was just too lazy or busy to put a way. It was a complete mess. What was meant to be a space for productivity became a place of chaos and disorder. Not much unlike my mind.
As a wife, mother of two toddlers, full-time worker and church volunteer my life can be pretty hectic at times. I am a creative person so I get some pretty fun ideas swirling around in my head but because I am also very detailed oriented all of the little pieces to all of those fun puzzles start swirling around as well. When things get busy, my mind starts looking like my office did, a lot going on but everything is out of order and out of place.
So determined to get my life back on track, I decided it was time to clean out my office. It is amazing how much cleaning out and organizing the physical space helped my mental space as well. Now that everything is in place and in order, I am way more productive. I’m learning how much the atmosphere around you really does impact you. When I was surrounded by chaos and disorder, I tried to function in that space but all I really got was more chaos and disorder. But now that I’m working in a warm, uncluttered space, I can see clearly and function more productively. Do you need to change anything about the space around you?
“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…” 1 Corinthians 14: 33 (NIV)
I listened to a sermon today that had some really great points that I thought I would share. You could probably describe me as a control freak, type A personality or task oriented. These are great qualities to have because like Martha in the New Testament, I get things done. But sometimes I allow my plans to get in the way of God’s plan and this sermon was a great reminder to keep the main thing the main thing and that is making sure that whatever I do I need to spend time with Jesus. Here are some points from the sermon that really hit home for me. I hope they will help you too.
- Not everything that you don’t plan on happening is a distraction. Sometimes the things we have planned are the real distraction.
- It is illogical to believe that what is important to me should be important to everybody else.
- You trying to control somebody else’s priorities could be a cover up that you don’t have yours in order.
- Know the line where your responsibility ends and God’s sovereignty begins.
Today was my daughter’s second first day of school. She started preschool last year and today was the first day for this school year. Since she is still in preschool, it really isn’t significant in and of itself but to me, it really stood out because I haven’t written a blog post in a VERY long time. Now had she been going to Kindergarten, that would be a different story. Kindergarten is like the official start of her educational career and everything from this point on is what really counts. But, it’s just her second first day of preschool. The reason it stands out to me is that it is still a second first day. This school year, although she is in the same classroom with some of the same children, she still has the opportunity to do something different. She has a new teacher, she can make new friends and I’m certain she will learn new skills.
So by now you are probably wondering, “Well, what does any of that have to do with your blog?” I’m glad you asked. Since, I haven’t written anything for this blog in well over a year, I’m going to consider this my second first day too. I wrote my first ever blog post on March 7, 2014. It was a very exciting day for me. I ventured out and tried something new. I didn’t know if anybody would read my posts or even care about what I wrote about but I did it anyway and I hope I touched at least one life in the process. Along the way, I got distracted. Several weeks passed. Then a few months came and went. Before I knew it a whole year had gone by and I somehow given up on what I once thought was a worthwhile endeavor. But today is special. I’m restarting.
This is the official second first day of my blog. I hope I can encourage someone today that whatever it is that you put down, pick it back up. It’s never too late to start again, start over, regroup or refresh. The key is just to start, even if you have to start small. It may not require all of the big hullabaloo of a first day of kindergarten, but if it matters to you, then it matters. I realize I may not be one of those blogs that makes a ton of money by having millions of followers and getting ad revenue but I’m still going to move forward with the goal of fulfilling my purpose. That purpose is to encourage people with my words with the help of God. So no matter what you stopped, today is a good day to be your second first day!
I love gospel music. Not only is it encouraging in its message, to me its personal. It’s like the artists were thinking about me when they were writing the songs. When I listen to gospel music it’s like someone is speaking directly to me, to my situation. Then I step back and think, someone is speaking directly to me. It’s God. He was thinking about me when the songs were being written because He knew at some point in time that I was going to need to hear from Him. He uses all kinds of means to reach us in our time of need. We just need to have open ears and open hearts. Your message may come through a song, a sermon, a prayer, a conversation with a friend, or even directly from God himself during your quiet time. I can’t hear my music unless my headphones or speakers are plugged into the device that is playing it. Make sure you are plugged in and connected to God our Father so that you can hear from Him today.
Photo of the sky reminding of God’s infinite presence
This past Sunday, our Sunday School lesson focused on looking for God in nature. To take that a step further, I encouraged my students to look for God in everything, even their day to day comings and goings. Well today, I got to practice what I taught. I saw God in something so small and seemingly insignificant. As I was preparing to go to work this morning, I packed my lunch and got money for breakfast. I walked out the front door and heard the Holy Spirit tell me to go back and pack some breakfast. So I immediately went back inside and packed something to eat for breakfast and headed to work. As I was driving, I saw a homeless woman standing on the side of the road. I had seen the woman before and had even helped her. But today was very interesting. The last few times I saw homeless people asking for help, I didn’t have any money on me but said to myself, “Next time I have money, I will definitely help them.” Well today, since I went back to pack some breakfast food, I no longer needed the money in my pocket so I had the opportunity to bless the woman. She also blessed me today though too. She actually remembered me and smiled and asked me how I was doing. It really meant a lot to me that even in her circumstances she 1.) smiled and 2.) was concerned about me. That just reminded me that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are in life, you are always in a position to be a blessing to someone. We have to be sure to listen to the Holy Spirit (that little intuition or gut feeling, yeah that’s God speaking to you) so that we know how God wants to use us. I was able to be a blessing and be blessed all because I saw God in something as small as going back to pack some breakfast. Be on the lookout and listen to what God is saying to you even in the small things. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to be a blessing and to be blessed!