As we move through this process of simplify, it is important to maintain your goal and decision making.
For instance if my goal is to be healthier in three months, lose a bit of weight and get a better lab test, then I would need to decide what has to take place to accomplish this.
The discipline of doing what needs to be done, writing it down and keeping the task ahead becomes less overwhelming.
Lately I have been going to the store with a list, and I follow it as I shop.
Keeping that task easier removes the wandering around trying to figure out a meal list in the store.
How and what needs to be done in order to accomplish that is just as important as the final outcome.
If I want to have a better organized office space; then I have to focus on how would I do that and what would work more efficiently.
The hardest part for me sometimes is the decision making process and maybe the motivation.
It cannot be another day for me to say, “Oh I have loved this sweater I have had it for 25 years.”
Really? yes I am pretty sure there are those in my closet.
Emotions can’t be a part of this process because it only will bring me to a complete stopping point.
In the past I have said, “If I like a pair of pants I will buy three of the same in different colors.”
Is that even necessary? How many do I need?
Oh and don’t get me started on the paper issues. Bills come in the mail and then get stacked in a disordered pile.
Many people love online bills, I do not. I lose track of them, I want to see them in person, read the print and follow the tracking.
I have them come by mail in paper form then shred them when I am done paying them.
There has to be a system that works. Each of us do many different ways and some may work better than others.
Finding and maintaining your goal will be much easier when trying to do this tough work.
I am going to begin with rooms. Each room will have a unique need, the den is different than a bedroom.
So each will need to be organized in such a way that it is clean and uncluttered at the end of the process.
Are we all ready for this monumental task? If you have already done this, that is awesome.
It is a plan of mine to get this disorganized space finished in less than six months.
That allows a lot of time for purging, destroying and organizing.
As we move through this process of simplify, it is important to maintain your goal and decision making.
The first thing we need to do in this simplify process is make solid decisions final.
In order for the simplify process to begin; one needs to carve out time to do the purging.
Pick one day of the week then start in one corner and move around within the room you are in.
That is what works best for me.
If I try to tackle too much it makes me more disorganized and frustrated.
Begin with one box at a time. Set up a shredding bag, give away bag, recycle bag, save bag.
Each bag has a purpose and don’t spend too much time with any of them.
The point of the process is simplify.
You can even do this in your every day routines.
The other day I looked at my bathroom counter said to myself, “how many lotions, face wash creams, make up brushes do I need? How many do I use? How long have I had them?”
Oh and let’s not forget those drawers full of stuff and cupboards under your sink?
A goal is to make it so easy to see and know what we have and don’t have, so we are not into the guessing game.
I have often purchased items only to realize when bringing them home I already had them.
It used to be a family joke about me shopping in my closet. Now I am thinking it is more of a budget issue.
I think for me I will try to set up a particular day of the week and make that day just for organizing.
By nature what has worked in the past for me is a three day window. If I start a project it needs to be done in three days or less.
Whatever process you or I have to figure out, then let’s make sure we do it.
The other thing that will be really helpful is to determine the final goal, and what must be done to finish it.
If I want less clutter then I have to purge out the collectible stuff.
If I want organized shelves or desk drawers then I have to think of what needs to be done to accomplish that.
How many times have I reached for a pen and couldn’t find one? or a stapler or a roll of tape?
Organized spaces would make life so much smoother and would feel very calm when finished.
So the new goal is making final solid decisions, without remorse and creating time to get it done.
Shall we encourage each other in this process?
Now that the new word has come the next thing to do is to acknowledge it and decide how it is going to change your year.
Have you ever done a focused word for the year? It’s very life changing. Last year my word was breathe and it really showed me how much I didn’t stop and pay attention to my breath.
This years word is good for me personally.
There is a lot of cleaning and purging to do in my writing room and also within many boxes that are stored.
Then there are closets still full of clothes that don’t fit right or are out of style.
I don’t worry too much about style but comfort is a huge issue for me.
Oh and the books, lots of books that have been read once. Do I need to keep them?
Not unless they are meaningful to me on some level.
I am planning on doing something every month.
We are also remodeling bathrooms and creating better space for us now that we have decided to stay in our home for a few more years.
When I think of simplify it brings to me a vision of counters cleaned off and bookshelves emptied.
A new kind of freedom in letting go and giving away.
When I was in counseling I had lots of journals that were written throughout the years.
It might be time to purge those too and make use of our noisy shredder.
Some things can be left as a memory only for me, and no one else.
Last month I turned 63 and it makes me really want to get ‘things’ taken care of so other’s don’t have to.
Ultimately when we all pass away all that is left is just a few ‘reminders’ of who we were.
Simplify is a good challenge for me. In every aspect I long to keep it simple.
How about you? Ever thought of how you could simplify your life on a daily basis?
For the last few years I have spent time listening to receive what the ‘new’ word would be for that year.
There have been a variety of words that have come; each giving meaning to what the year might represent.
Not always knowing how the ‘word’ would come to me, I wait and listen and see if it feels right in my ‘heart’.
The other day I took a 2018 find your word of truth test by dayspring and it gave me a word based on my answers to these questions.
1. A year from now looking back on 2018, what would you be most proud of accomplishing?
I decluttered my life. I prioritized God and His calling on my life.
2. Which of these do you most often need to be reminded about?
Slow down. Tune in. Look up. Make sure your heart is where your feet are.
3. Out of these sets of words, which ones are things you want to prioritize in 2018?
Intentionality, purpose and quietness
4. Which bible character do you want to be like in 2018?
Ruth she loved her mother-in-law with selfless devotion and chose joy through multiple hardships and disappointments
5. Which verse resonates with where you are today?
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:16
6. What is something you wished you had done more of in 2017?
Went for it. stepped out of my comfort zone more.
7. What is God calling you to do the most in 2018?
Make time for his plans in your life
The word I received after answering these tests.
Simplify – so I looked up the meaning to see what that would mean for me.
Simplify: to make less complicated, clearer, or easier
Simple: easy to understand, deal with; not elaborate or artificial; unaffected; unassuming; modest:
I actually like this word.
I might not have chosen it for myself; but it does go along with the calm I am trying to create both in my internal spirit and the external space I Live in.
The goal to purge out extra things and to clean goes well within this concept of simplify.
Each month I could try to do one thing that would be part of this process.
I also find my personality has always been these traits, of easy to understand, real and not fake, modest.
So it might be a great fit on many levels for me.
I have found that after choosing the ‘word’ it seems to flow well in the year and I could see it’s purpose.
Do you ever choose a word for the year? How has it worked for you?
I cannot imagine another year beginning, it feels like we had Christmas way too soon.
Getting older has it’s share of problems and watching time move in a very swift way is one of them.
I just had another birthday, and so far the sixties have been pretty good.
We are financially set, health is good, and we are emotionally well.
I have no complaints. This has been a pretty smooth year, with not a lot of intense losses which is good.
As the new year begins I find myself thinking of what can be done to make this one different.
I’m not making a new years resolution for they usually don’t finish or succeed.
What can be done is to write down and prioritize the things that have worked for us and find ways to make them integrate in the life we choose to live.
There is a goal of maintaining better health, which includes changing the way we purchase food.
We have been moving in the direction of organic and healthy now for a few years.
It is more expensive but also more healthy and with long term results.
I need to get in a more ‘regular writing’ space.
It is important to keep this open and to challenge myself to find the words and encouragement for others.
I am beginning to clean out dressers, boxes and closets and purge out the old and worn.
By nature I am a sentimental messy but that does not mean it has to control my every corner.
Order brings calm and in creating this calm I need to focus on how to get it done and how to keep it.
New goals are exciting bringing to us new visions of what change may look like.
I am not only anticipating our personal goals to succeed but also goals as a couple.
We have plans for redoing our home and just as the physical space needs refreshed; our spiritual space can be also.
When I think of the air of expectancy surrounding the birth of Jesus and the Christmas story.
I am reminded of the air of expectancy for Jesus to return as he promised he would.
The story is not over. Even so we can still plan for a new year and for change to happen.
Until the Lord comes I will continue to write, continue to share and continue to pray for the lives of others.
The ending of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 is upon us.
May we anticipate a new awareness of an exciting year to come. Let us be intentional with purpose.
Are you ready?
As we have moved through the Christmas story, we find that whose who were a part of it shared an air of expectancy.
I read somewhere that the time frame between the Old Testament and the New, were over 400 years.
Generations had come and gone and none had seen the ‘Messiah’ who was to come and save them.
It had been Prophesied in the book of Isaiah; 7:14
[14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.]
There was silence… A quiet stillness in the heavenly realm until it was time for the birth of a baby.
Immanuel, God with us, The Holy Son of God, Mary’s baby… Jesus. Was coming soon.
I imagine the angels were excited and perhaps guessing who would be chosen to say the words,
“Do not be afraid.”
This is only a guess on my part but one can imagine the expectancy even in heaven.
The time had come and the anticipation and preparing for the son of God to come to us must have been amazing.
The orchestration of players who were chosen to be involved even without knowing their perfect role.
It began long ago, the planning. The details and the way it had to be for scripture to be fulfilled.
We learned of Zechariah and Elizabeth, they had an air of expectancy for their miracle child was to be born.
We learned of Mary and her deep faith and intense role in the birth of her miracle child.
An air of expectancy for sure.
We learned of Joseph and how he was chosen and spoken to by an angel. An air of expectancy for him too.
We learned of the sequence of events when the roman emperor Augustus called for a census the first in many years.
How it was important for the ‘journey’ back to Bethlehem, so scripture could be fulfilled.
Then we learned of the baby born in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. Even that was significant.
An air of expectancy surrounded the shepherds as they were told in a ‘field’ to go see the one born.
We are told in Luke 2:14 that Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
Then we learn about the moments in the temple when Jesus was 8 days old and ready to be dedicated.
Simeon took him and held him in his arms and prophesied over him.
He had an air of expectancy for years before and it was finally the time.
Luke 2:34 [Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother:
“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,
35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”]
Can you imagine Mary and Joseph? Their expectancy of what was to come?
Then Anna saw and heard it all in the temple. The air of expectancy for her was present and prayed for a long time.
[38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.]
Then later on the Wise men found them after journeying for almost two years. They had an air of expectancy of what they would find.
It all shows us how deep the Fathers love is for us, that HE would orchestrate all of this, so scripture could be fulfilled.
The Christmas story is full of expectancy. I pray it is that way for you too.
As we have journeyed through the Christmas story we find it amazing how many characters represent the ‘story’.
We learned of Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph and the assorted angels who spoke to them.
The Shepherd’s and the wise me, Anna and Simeon who had waited all their lives to meet the Messiah.
We learned of the miracles surrounding each character chosen and appointed to be a part of the Christmas story.
Each were unique in the part they played within the birth of Jesus.
I don’t believe any were coincidental, each were orchestrated just as the continuation of the life of Jesus and the cast of characters who play it to the end.
Even the donkey who carried Mary to the manger scene had a role. A very important role.
To carry the mother of Christ Jesus was a role that was tremendous in this story.
When we sing, “Oh Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining,” even the skies played a role in the birth for we know the stars shone bright for all to see.
Nothing was without reason or importance.
It was all orchestrated and ordained, chosen by a God who loved the world so much.
I have always loved the song, “Mary did you know?” for it brings life and a question to the whole miraculous birth.
Did she fully know, could she fully know, she kissed the face of God?
Joseph found himself in a situation of life changing acceptance.
From that moment on, he would always be Joseph the earthly father of Jesus.
Mary has been known throughout history and portrayed in many ways as the mother of Jesus.
What a life changing and life altering situation for her, to start out as an unknown and finish as a name in history forever.
She had acceptance because of her faith and because she knew the ‘old story’ of a Messiah coming.
I do believe when Elizabeth confirmed her babies ‘reactions’ to Mary, she understood more of the power of the moments.
The Christmas story is full of prophecy, miracles and wonderment.
I pray that as you allow yourself to experience the story perhaps for the first time, your life will be changed too.
[God sent his son into the world so that all who believed in him would not perish but have everlasting life.]
The Magi Visit the Messiah
[2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.
5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.
8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.]
In most of the nativities we have sitting in our living rooms we will see the wise men often in close proximity to the nativity.
Many scholars now say, in reality they didn’t arrive till Jesus was close to age two.
In the text above it say’s, “coming to the house they saw the child.” That does not say ‘infant’.
It took them many months to travel by camel to go to the ‘house where they found Mary and Joseph and little Jesus’.
If we look at the meaning of the gifts it is also a ‘orchestrated part’ of the story.
Gold was for royalty, frankincense was a fragrant incense used in religious ceremonies and myrrh was a spice often used in burial.
If Mary and Joseph knew those meanings the gifts would bring deep thought to them.
Remember Mary pondered all this in her heart. This was a unique baby of hers, a son from on High.
The wise men brought gifts that added depth and meaning to the story and the reason was clear.
This child was a savior and not only would Mary experience his birth, it said ‘a sword will pierce your heart’.
For that is what grief feels like when a love one passes from us.
The wise men had to bring these gifts so that the story could be completed.
Let us continue to move through the ‘orchestration of God’ as we read the Christmas story.
Can you even imagine the orchestration it took to get all the players in the Christmas story?
It’s much like an orchestra playing beautiful music, each had a part; each has a ‘place’ and a purpose in the story.
We begin to learn the depth of this when we read about Simeon and Anna.
In Luke 2:25 we find these words:
[5 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.
He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.
26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.
When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required,
28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.
34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother:
“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,
35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.
And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old;
she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,
37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.]
Simeon was an old man. Waiting for the very moment of seeing the MESSIAH. Can you even imagine his ‘feelings?’
He knew. He saw. He was aware that this baby coming to be dedicated was not just a ‘baby’.
It was the reason he waited and prayed. Have you ever had a long anticipated prayer answered?
It’s amazing when it happens and when you can finally ‘let go’ and watch God work.
Anna was just as devoted to her worship and prayers, waiting for the ONE to come.
They were part of the orchestra God was drawing inside the circle of chosen ones.
It was no accident that they were there. It was no coincidence.
It was a moment not to be missed.
[8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.]
The shepherds were a rough group of men, known for fighting off predators and other threats to their sheep.
So when we read that they immediately left their sheep and went to go see the Baby that was amazing for they never would leave the sheep unprotected.
Then it said they were frightened when seeing the angels. really?
This was a group of rough and tough men where nothing scared them.
This non cultured/non accepted group of men were not only selected by God through His choice but they were also used by God in the Christmas story.
Behold we find that nothing is without a reason, or purpose.
HE USES those least noticed. He calls those who are not ready, to complete the Christmas story.
Also He not only uses their willingness to go see, He uses their words as credible witnesses.
They told others and people wanted to not only hear but to go see because of their believable words.
A baby was born and changing the hearts of others already.