"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Friday, June 7, 2019

Enough

In this season of life, sleep is not always a given.  There are many mornings when I feel heavy and exhausted after the restless or sleepless night.  It had become a daily habit of mine to tell the family at the breakfast table how much sleep I had gotten...  "I only got 3 hours of sleep last night" ...longing for those around me to take part, sympathize, and understand.

It was only a few weeks ago that I had the thought... why am I keeping track?  What is the point?  Is it helping me in any way to know?

Brene Brown in her fabulous books often talks about a 'mentality of scarcity'.  We walk around struggling with the "not enough" feeling all day long.  Scarcity.  I am not enough... or I don't have enough.  Not thin enough.  Not smart enough.  Not tall enough.  Not funny enough.  Not enough time.  Not enough sleep.  Not enough energy.  Not enough fun.  Not enough money.

This 'not enough' mentality--- scarcity--- haunts us and follows us around throughout our days. But, it's a lie.  This way of thinking is absolutely false.

In contrast, we are told that we have "all we need for life and godliness"...  (2 Peter 1:3).  Scripture tells us that God gives us all we need...

It is false to say I don't have enough for life.  No!  In Christ, I truly have all I need!

"The way to slowly die is to believe you live in scarcity---not abundance" ~Ann Voskamp

According to Scripture, when we live in Christ, we live in abundance.  Abundance of grace. Abundance of strength.  Abundance of peace.  Abundance of life and light and truth...

So, I have decided to stop keeping track.

An older friend here told me she read an article that said it is helpful to not look at the clock when you wake up in the middle of the night.  The news article stated that it helps you fall asleep quicker if you don't know... or don't look.  I started there one night.  (and this was quite a discipline)

Now when I am tossing and turning... or wide awake... I just don't look.  I cover my clock with a book!  Why do I need to know?  It only brings trouble to my mind, it never helps.

I just stopped keeping track entirely.  I don't count.  I don't keep track and I don't tell my family how much sleep I got, or didn't get.  I actually don't know!

My goal in the morning, instead, is to swing my feet around, plant them firm on the ground and stand on the truth that I have enough.  For today.  For life and godliness, today, I have all I need.   In this, I can be very thankful for any and all sleep.  Slowly, I am trusting I got exactly what I need.  Jesus is my enough.  He has given me all I need today for life and for godliness...

Today, I had just enough sleep.  If, in fact, I didn't get much; then, He will give me enough energy for what He is calling me to today.  In Him, I have enough.

I speak to my soul...  Trust the Lord, Stephanie.  Trust that He is Your enough.  Trust that in Him you have abundance.  He has given you what you need.  And, indeed, He will give you what you need for today.  


------- This will be the last post for a few weeks, as I will be on the road.  

Unedited and re-posted from February 2017

Friday, May 31, 2019

Stop the Madness

I can get pretty locked up in my head.  My thoughts can be so busy, random, critical, and full-on.  Through the years, I have become more and more aware of this buzzing reality that can be my brain...  awareness has been key to freedom from it, for sure.

But, even attentiveness and practicing God's Presence, doesn't always stop the madness.  I can go from peaceful knowledge of God's now Presence and, in the blink of an eye, I find myself lost again in the fast paced brain buzzing.  Before I know it, I am locked in a cycle of hurried thinking--- way too much thinking and very unproductively.

I find that there are different ways or kinds of thought.  This cycle of buzzing is not helpful, it is harmful thought.  These busy, burdened and even berating thoughts are unproductive thinking.  They feel more like chaos than order.  They are filled with lies and falsehood instead of truth.  And, often they cause anxiety, as opposed to peace.  The enemies of my soul play a huge part in this battle---  the adversary and my flesh--- fighting against the love, joy, peace and patience of the Spirit.

I found myself in this very cycle this week.  It doesn't really matter the topic or topics of thought--- it is just that my mind is bursting with unproductive and busy thoughts.  Like Martha of old, I am "worried about a great many things". 

Psalm 84 caught my attention on Wednesday...  the whole of the Psalm.  But, also one particular phrase jumped at me with clarity.  "whose hearts are set on a pilgrimage...they go from strength to strength" (Psalm 84:5-7).  The Psalmists are talking about the Presence of God.  They are rejoicing in their experience of dwelling with Him--- or in Him, His temple. 

In this Psalm, the Sons of Korah, are sharing about the blessedness ('esher'=happiness) that is with those who remain and abide in God.  We know that, as His people, we are now His temple.  He dwells within us through His Spirit!  We, then, have this happiness always available to us.  We can abide in His love.  Always!

With the phrase "whose heart is set on pilgrimage" the Lord seemed to be reminding me that the direction I was pointed was important.  A pilgrim is going somewhere.  She is pointed in a very clear direction, with purpose in their journey.  I could feel the gentle rebuke of God's heart...  Where or to Whom is your heart, your mind and your soul pointed, Stephanie?  Where is your mind headed?  

In most cases, when my mind is buzzing with unproductive and unhelpful thought, I am most definitely pointed inward.  I am looking at me...  either in the negative, the positive, or just the practical... my eyes are downward or inward.  If I am not inwardly focused, I am focused just on my immediate earthly reality:  the very same "many things" that Martha was buzzing about.  I am headed in a circular race to get the next thing done, to fix this or that, only to start over again to fix the next thing and do this or figure out that.  It is a rat race in my head.  My own personal torture device!

The old adage comes to mind:  "Worry is like a rocking chair.  You move but go nowhere."

It is good to look up and out.  It is very good to stop--- to Sabbath ("to cease")---and look at Him.   It is not only good, it is essential and life giving.  I must stop the madness.  Just cease.  Just cease, sit, and ask myself, prayerfully, "What do you actually think?! What is true?"  In response to this question, I wrote in my journal today: I think and know He is---  and then followed it with all that He is---all that is True about my amazing God and Savior.

He is righteous.  He is good.  He is loving.  He is faithful.  He is covenant and steadfast.  He is wise.  He is aware.  He sees.  He knows.  He loves.  He judges rightly.  ... the list went on and on.

When I get locked in the hurried and heavy thinking of my running mind, this productive truth-thinking stabilizes me.  His truth---who He is, and who I am because of Him--- is an anchor for my soul and most definitely for my mind.  I can feel the order and equilibrium immediately.  This is indeed my "one needful thing" (Luke 10:42).  Every day.  Every moment of every day.

"You will keep in perfect peace all whose thoughts are fixed on You!" (Isaiah 26:3)
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