When Your Vision is Too Small

When your vision is too small, you focus on what you do not have.

When your vision is too small, you tell others about all of your limitations.

When your vision is too small, you make your children even smaller, by assuring them they cannot rise above your inadequacies if even their own.

When your vision is too small, you are found complaining about everyone around you who seems fulfilled.

When your vision is too small, your excuse list exceeds your “to do” list.

 

When your vision is big, you focus on possibilities.

When your vision is big, you encourage others, and constantly communicate a bigger picture.

When your vision is big, you pack a lunch for your child, so in case he is in a crowd of 5000+ hungry people, he will have something to offer Jesus to feed the whole multitude.

When your vision is big, you run out of time for complaining because you are so busy being about your Father’s business.

When your vision is big, you realize that you are only a sail on a boat, but that God is the wind, and with Him you can go anywhere and accomplish anything.Jamin and Sitka

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The Final Straw

It’s the excuse that flies out of my mouth to justify my reasons on almost everything.  It’s the same excuse I hear from others around me.  It is the final straw, the deciding factor, the ultimate justifier.  “I just don’t have the time.”  It’s why we don’t exercise, eat well, plan for the future or live in the present.  It’s the reason we get rid of our pets and sell our toys.  It is the culprit behind the broken marriage, the unfinished project, the long-lost hobby, and the stressed-out student.  We just don’t have the time.  Sadly, it is the reason for our flailing faith, and our absence from our Father’s House.

In Micah 6:3 God, in an attempt to show Israel how far she has strayed from Him, asks a weighted question:  “How have I wearied you? What have I done to you?

I still hear this same question from the Spirit of God in the lives of my generation.  “What have I done to weary you?  Where are you going?”  I have found very few people who have accusations against God that they can articulate and point to in their lives, but more often than not, I find that the answers to ones drifting away from God are buried in an ambiguous ocean that carries them away slowly, quietly saying, “I just don’t have the time.”

You don’t know how far you can drift until you learn to make “time” your excuse.  The truth is that we you and I will always make the time for the things that are important to us.  Always.  So maybe our problem isn’t “time”;  it is just our excuse.  Our problem is more likely that our value system is constantly being skewed towards convenience, and the things that have become the most valuable to us are the things that come easy.

God still stands on the shore of our hearts asking us to evaluate our excuses, and prove our reasoning for rejecting our only source of oxygen.  While we live in this age of grace we can hear his voice and choose for Him or against Him.  There will be, however the day that our choices run out and we will stand before Him without excuses or options.  There will be no time, only eternity.

Isaiah 55:1-7

55 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
    a ruler and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not,
    and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has endowed you with splendor.”

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon

alders

No More Excuses

I have to admit that I am not a believer in New Year’s resolutions.  I figure if I didn’t have the ambition to do it in July, I won’t have the ambition to do it in January; besides I have so much life change that happens in my life on an almost monthly basis, that I don’t ever feel the need to change with any kind of deliberation.  Does this sound like an excuse?  Well, it is.  Believe me I have a quite a list of excuses that I have collected and added to.  All of them have validity, and some I am more adamant about than others.  I especially like the excuse “I am a creative person.  Creative people don’t think like that.”  Well, my excuse list is expiring and this girl is learning to change.

There was this “nudging” from my husband….well okay, sixteen years of pleading, for me to become more organized.    I usually met his pleadings with “You knew I was like this when you married me.  It isn’t even in my genetic make-up.”  (Excuses #27 and #32 respectively).

I’ve made several attempts at organization and honestly, I have made huge strides, but not at a consistent tempo.  Four children, one dog, and 12 or so moves later, I realized that we need a consistent tempo of order and cleanliness, and somehow I am supposed to be the one to lead it.

Coinciding with this pleading, has been a conviction from the Holy Spirit as He has been dealing with my heart in the areas of home management.  My personality, and make-up could no longer be my excuses for my lack of change, because I am supposed to be able to “do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)  But of course, I only want to be strengthened to do the things that I like. 🙂  So, realizing my need for some instruction in this area of life, I began talking to friends and asking for input.  I needed ideas, systems, help, and even someone to come help me tackle the hard things.

So, I began with a small plan.  Once a week, on Fridays, a friend and I would take an hour for each person’s home and help the other tackle a project that had gone undone and needed attention.  We gave each other permission to not like the other’s ideas, to try them out and change them if we needed to, and to speak honestly to one another in the process.  So the first Friday was at my home and we tackled my counter-top clutter.  For an hour or so we asked questions like:  “Could this item live anywhere else in the house?”  “Is this something you need to access often?”  “How badly would you miss this if it disappeared?”  With laughing, talking, and a furrowed brow here and there, we finished the project with ideas and a plan for purchasing tools to keep that area more organized.  The following Friday we spent at her house organizing her pantry and making better use of some kitchen cupboard space.   It has made me look forward to Fridays and tackling the projects I hate most.

While I was putting together this plan with my friend, another friend gave me a book to read that she claimed changed her life.  Her testimony was that she was not a “born organizer” either, and that she learned about this book from her mom who had read it and it had changed her life.  Well my interest was piqued.  She gave me a copy to read and that’s when this change thing really took off.  The book is called “Sidetracked Home Executives“, and was written in 1977.  I had never heard of it, but of course, I’m an artist and I don’t read books like that. 😉  It was written for people like me, by people like me and I could identify with every story.   The book came with instructions for a system that would keep me and my children on a steady course of organization that even I, an artistic, right-brained individual can manage.

Terrified, I struck out on this new venture, almost certain I would fail.  (I’m not a real optimist when it comes to organization), but nevertheless, I was determined to try.  All I can say is that after the first week of implementing the things I learned, my husband sat on the couch and said this to me:  “Cate, do you remember when you got saved?  I was only four at the time, and even though I didn’t live a life of deep sin in those first four years, I felt like a huge weight had lifted from off of my shoulders.  I remember how it felt.  I have to say that after this one week of your organizing and managing our home, I feel like I’ve just been “saved” all over again!”  Well, that was convincing enough for me.

The changes I was making were worth every minute, and even my son said to me:  “Mom, this is great.  Now we know what you are expecting from us and we’ll get grounded a lot less.”  That was some logic I had never connected, but caused me to reflect.  Yes, I have gone days ignoring home duties in order to finish projects, only to burst from my room yelling at the family to clean the house and get it done quickly, because I couldn’t handle the clutter.  The day would usually be fraught with tears, melt-downs and hurt feelings, and end with me spending hours doing most of the housework, because everyone knows that “It’s easier to do things yourself.” (Excuse #33).  That was all changing.

The truth is I like excuses.  Growth is painful, change is scary, and I am prone to fail.  I don’t like change, but I can’t stay the same.  I am on a journey of life that will change me physically, and emotionally whether or not I like it, and though I can’ t control all of life’s changes, I can, with the help of the Holy Spirit in my life, learn to manage my actions and reactions, and allow my creativity and personality to grow in new territory.  And so it is…..I am changing.  I am growing.  I AM ORGANIZING!!!!

P.S.  I highly recommend this book for all of you who just weren’t “born organizers”. 🙂  Order it from Amazon by clicking here.

So here is a list of my excuses that I use now to motivate me to change.  Some I borrowed from the book I am recommending, with my own personal additions:

  1. I don’t have enough money
  2. It’s too hot
  3. It’s too cold
  4. I’m not in the mood
  5. I’ve got too many kids
  6. My husband is working away
  7. I’ve got cramps
  8. My house is too small
  9. My house is too big
  10. We just moved in
  11. We just got back from vacation
  12. I don’t have enough time
  13. We’re remodeling
  14. Nobody cooperates with me
  15. I’d rather play solitaire
  16. I’d rather be on Facebook
  17. I don’t want to do it
  18. I’m too intelligent for such remedial work
  19. My mother didn’t teach me
  20. I hate housework
  21. Nobody appreciates it anyway
  22. Creative people are messy
  23. I’m on the rag
  24. I’ll start tomorrow
  25. I was up all night
  26. It’s the flu season
  27. It’s not in my genetic make-up
  28. I have too many interruptions
  29. I’m just too busy
  30. I don’t know how to
  31. It’s just too hard
  32. I was like this when you married me
  33. It’s easier to do it myself
  34. ………………………………………………

Feel free to add your own!