I’m joining the Five Minute Friday word prompt for this week and today’s prompt is the word “simplify”. This should be fun, because my life is anything but simple!
It’s at this point in the year where we start to struggle with the New Years resolutions that we have made, especially if we have made unrealistic ones. I decided not to do one this year, and I’m so pleased that I didn’t. I get too bogged down with feelings of guilt when I realise I can’t carry on with resolutions I have made.
I used a very well known search engine *cough* Google *cough* to look up simplifying life. There are so many websites that offered advice and countless lists of what needed to be done. I came across one website that had 72 ideas to simplify your life! Seriously? This doesn’t sound simplifying at all.
There are only two things that we need to do to simplify life, basically.
Firstly, sort out your priorities. What is important to you?
Secondly, say “no” to everything else! Simple!
I’m choosing to focus on one word to simplify my life, and that word is “Midst”. I want to keep God in the midst of everything that I do. I believe that if I do this, then my life will be a whole lot simpler with Him smack-bang in the middle of it.
If you enjoyed reading my 5 Minute word prompt on “simplify” and would like to read what other people have written, then come along and have a little gander! There’s plenty to read, and you can even have a go yourself at writing something for 5 minutes. Come and join us!
It’s come to the time of time of year where we start to think about the different traditions we do when celebrating Christmas. Something which is familiar to us that we have always done. Maybe it is a particular decoration that is hung in a certain place in the home, or the type of food we eat.
I love to go to the midnight service with my husband at our church on Christmas Eve, something we do every year and is now very familiar to us. This is always then followed by the mad dash of getting the remainder of the Christmas presents wrapped before we go to bed, with a glass (or two) of sherry on the side for help. This is something else that is very familiar, but we try and change it each year (and I’m referring to wrapping the presents really late – not the sherry drinking!)
~oOo STOP oOo~
Familiarity brings about a sense of security. It’s about knowing who we are and where we have come from. It’s comforting. When people lose familiarity, they sometimes also lose a sense of identity and control.
I struggle with this time of year because of the familiar stress Christmas brings (and I’ve gone and done it big time this year with extra EXTRA things going on). I am finding that the familiar stress that Christmas brings is what causes me to lose my identity and control.
However, over the last year or so I’ve had a longing to make things different. Something special. I have needed something to focus on to slow me down in this hectic period to get me focused on what is the most familiar reason for this season.
Maybe you feel this too?
So, to overcome this familiar stress, I am creating a new familiarity to be intentional about focusing on the real reason for this Season. After all, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas if it wasn’t for One person…Jesus!
Somehow, this kind of gets forgotten in all the hustle and bustle of organising and preparing for the big day. I’ll admit that myself too, that I am too busy wondering what presents I need to buy and who am I going to send cards to. I forget, momentarily, that we celebrate Jesus coming to this world.
I want to change that.
I’m still going to buy the presents and write those cards, but what I need to prepare most is my heart.
To slow myself down and create a new familiarity – one that will prepare my heart – I am going to be reading “Come, Lord Jesus” by Kris Camealy. This is a very timely book that is much needed for anyone who is in a “waiting” period, and also for anyone who wants to prepare their hearts over the advent period.
And what is better still, Kris is hosting a book club for her book where we can gather together with other like minded people who want to be intentional about preparing for Christmas.
Stand in silence in the presence of the Sovereign LORD, for the awesome day of the LORD’s judgment is near. The LORD has prepared his people for a great slaughter and has chosen their executioners.
We live in a world filled with noise from the moment the alarm wakes us up in the morning with that irritating ring tone, to the kids screaming and shouting at each other about who got dressed first!
We leave the noise behind in the house only to be greeted by the hum of the traffic on the roads of people rushing to work. We switch on the radio to fill the void of emptiness in the car, only to be met with the noise of the world in the news.
When at work we are then bombarded with the noise of busyness around us…phones ringing…typing on keyboards…radios blaring in the background…machines turning away to produce things, as well as the noise. Noise is never ending!
I often pray to God in the midst of my noise to help me, but often I am confronted with noise inside my head and I end up hearing nothing. I think God is silent and He doesn’t want to speak to me.
When times get really hectic and the noise around me, and in me, gets too much I know it’s time to be in silence.
I take myself outside and go somewhere for five minutes to a place I know will be still. It’s only when I am alone with Him in the silence do I then hear Him the loudest.
I don’t need to shout above all the noise to be heard by God. God hears the faintest whisper of my heart. He hears yours too.
Why not take yourself out to be in silence. You might just be amazed at how loud God speaks in that moment.
My life, at times, has been filled with circumstances that has certainly made it feel like I have been on a roller coaster ride. With its ups and downs and twisting turns, I’ve had to hold on tight in each moment with the fear that one day I will come off the rails. Somehow, I seem to hang on, and I overcome each situation I am faced with.
I’m not like that when it comes to being on a real roller coaster. In fact, I’m quite the opposite. I don’t hold on to anything and I throw my hands in the air. At each turn that is made I am free to let go. I have nothing holding me back and I am safe in the restraints that are holding me.
When I look back on what I have been through in my life I often wonder how I got through those hair raising moments. It’s only when the ride has finished do I then see where I have been. I also see Who has been holding me safely in it all.
The twists and turns that have sent my head spinning…God was there.
The dark passages that I’ve been through…God was there.
The steep hill that had to be climbed…God was there.
The moments that I had when my world was turned upside down…God was there.
God was there in my roller-coasting life and He has been my restraints to keep me safe. He has been the One that has been with me on the tracks of my life and has helped me to overcome my fears and face whatever ride comes next.
To depend on someone means to rely on them. I’m quite an independent person, so to rely on someone else for help very rarely happens. The only exception for me is my husband of course – I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.
Since I have been back from holiday, which was only 4 weeks ago (but seems like it has been half a year), I have hit the ground running with the busyness of life and what it throws at me. I have been relying totally on myself, and my husband, to get me through to the next day.
Anything that life has been throwing at me, I have been placing into a box and shelving it to one side hoping to deal with it later. Honestly though? Maybe I was hoping those things I was shelving would deal with itself and get lost in the process! Don’t tell me that you’ve never felt like you wanted to hide away from life, or to brush things under the rug hoping no-one finds it to dig it back up again.
We can’t keep sweeping things under the rug, or putting situations into a box and shelving it. You know what happens when you just keep piling things up? Eventually, one day it will over flow and topple over and make a complete mess…And it takes longer to clean up!
This happened to me last week. I was so busy with life that I didn’t take as much time out as I needed to depend on the One who can really sort my messes out. I couldn’t even go to church one Sunday because I was too busy doing something else.
I rely on going to church to set me up for the week. I depend on it. I know I shouldn’t. It’s not church that I worship – it’s God. I should be able to worship God anywhere. I have no excuse though when I am at church and I guess I saw this as my “fix” for the week. God isn’t a one day of the week kind of God – He’s in it for the long haul.
Every. Single. Day.
I should be able to run to Him to depend on Him whenever I want to (and need to).
Last week, events finally caught up with me and I reacted in ways that I shouldn’t have done. Instead of depending on God first, I shelved it and tried to ignore what was happening. Until…BANG…it was too late and it all came crashing down around me. Or rather, I just flipped out and made everything crash down.
I lost it.
Not completely though. I shut myself in the office and put on worship music and sang as loud as I could. I didn’t care in that moment if anyone was listening. I came to my Father because I knew I needed Him.
I rely on Him.
I depend on Him.
There was one song in particular that really helped, which is Waves by Worship Central. (See clip below). Just letting the waves of God’s love wash over me was all I needed. Maybe it’s all you need too?
Something to think about…
Are you feeling really overwhelmed at the moment and struggling to make sense of what is happening? Don’t leave it too late for life to come crashing down. Take some time out to breath and depend on God for a little while. If it helps, play the clip below, close your eyes and just let the waves of God’s love wash over you. If necessary, find a friend you know that you can confide in and just talk.
Lord, once again I have lost my way and I have forgotten that you are there for me to depend on. Once again, I have tried to get through life by my own strength and abilities. I thought I knew what was best, but once again I was wrong. You are the One that can do anything, and I need to remember to trust in your abilities to get me though what I am facing. Amen.
I originally wrote this post as a response to the Five Minute Friday word prompt “depend”. Click here to see what other people wrote when they were prompted with this word.