Thursday, July 5, 2012

Getting unstuck in my walk with Christ - Day 10

Decluttering went quite well yesterday as I found another hefty stack of books to give away and went through my calendars!
     Through your calendars? you ask.  Yes, I've already admitted to being quite a packrat and along with that comes saving the strangest things.  If there's a calendar with pictures in it that I really like, well, it doesn't get thrown away.  I found about 10 in my bookshelf that were all mostly over 3 years old.  In February of last year, I discovered a fun and unique DIY project that can be done with calendar's super simple but can create a lovely piece of art.  What am I talking about?  Frame them!! - lol - Like I said, it's simple, but look at the pictures below to see how pretty such a project can turn out ;-)
This is an amazing super rustic wooden frame I found at Hobby Lobby.  And yes, to continue the theme, I put a couple of my favorite bug samples down in the left corner.

A simple rectangular poster frame is all these crosses needed to become a work of art.  Notice how the pair of crosses on either end are color opposites - the color that's in the background of each of the pair is inside of the cross for its partner - I was super excited when I realized I could get creative with how I paired colors :-)

     These 2 pieces were done with calendars from 2011, without any thought to the "collection" I had tucked away in the back room...  Well now that I've ripped out all the pictures I like from ALL of my calendars, I think I should go back through that stack and decide which ones are worthy of framing.  If I decide that one doesn't immediately make the cut, then it's going in recycling because giant floppy pieces of "paper" are not all that easy to store.  If I can go ahead and get them framed before the end of the month, then I'll have new art work to put on the walls and not just another awkward thing to store :-)

     On a further book note, it's actually gotten substantially easier to pick books to give away now that I'm in the mode.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Is the synopsis so intriguing that I would want to start this book right now?
- How many PowerPuff Girl books do I really need? (I'm for
- Can the information in this book be found on the internet?
- Do I really need a book of quotes?  Can't I just pull out the quotes I like and put them in a word document? (You'll see a post of quotes soon)
- Would a child get more enjoyment out of this than me? (when considering books you still have not read)
- How many books that invoke memories of childhood is it worth to keep? (proportional to the amount of space they take up)
- Will this "textbook" be relevant to me in the future?  (if not, Rentscout it!)
- Did I enjoy this book enough to keep it, or should I release it into the world for someone else to enjoy?  (I have some favorites, and I definitely won't get rid of them, but others probably should find someone else who would actually consider them favorites...)

     If I come up with more questions, I'll be sure and share them later, but for now, on to spiritual matters...

     So I've finished Chapter 4 of Unstuck - "From Temptation to Turmoil" - and it turns out, I have quite a few addictions in my life.  Before I list what I came up with, I want to share a quote found in this chapter from Dr. Gerald May, author of Addiction and Grace:

I am not being flippant when I say 
that all of us suffer from addiction.  
Nor am I reducing the meaning of addiction.  
I mean in all truth that the psychological, 
neurological, and spiritual dynamics 
of full-fledged addiction are actively at work 
in every human being...
We are all addicts in every sense of the word.

With this in mind, I asked myself, "What am I addicted to?"  And this is what I came up with:
- my morning routine (waking up next to my cat, in my own bed, and then sitting on my balcony with a hot cup of coffee)
- TV (or rather, my "need" for multitasking)
- frugality (finding it hard to spend money on others when I frequently feel like I barely have enough for myself)
- Sudoku (my Kindle's app leads me to lose hours)
- negative thoughts (while this can always be blamed on brain chemicals, the Lord has the power to help us overcome anything!!)
- worry (I replay things I've said and/or done over and over in my head...daily)
- being the fashion police (It's like a psychological impulse to point out really bad clothes)
- overeating (just one more bite...ugghhh...I need to lay down...)
- making excuses (although I feel that they're all valid, there does come a point when sucking up feeling sick or setting aside a task for later is the right thing to do)

     Not your traditional list of addictions huh?  That's one of the points this chapter is trying to make, because as the authors later point out, "as enticements increase and surface more often, there is proportionate likelihood of their becoming more and more influential, and even consuming, as they push out endeavors that help us thrive spiritually."

     After considering the above list, I could think of numerous ways in which these addictions could lead me away from relationships with others, or into sinful actions.  So what can help us overcome the snares that these seemingly trivial enticements may catch us in?
     Psalm 94:16-19 says - -
16  Who rises up for me against the wicked?
Who stands up for me against evildoers?
17  If the Lord had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
18  When I thought, "My foot slips,"
Your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
19  When the cares of my heart are many, 
Your consolations cheer my soul.

     In other words, we must immediately turn to Jesus when temptations and addictions first rear their nasty heads.  If we don't, then James 1:14-15 makes it very clear what will eventually happen:

14  But each person is tempted 
when he is lured and enticed 
by his own desire.
15  Then desire when it has conceived 
gives birth to sin, 
and sin when it is fully grown 
brings forth death.

     We can rest assured in the fact that God wants to help us out of temptations.  He wants us to turn to Him, running with abandon, our arms wide open.  If he didn't greatly desire for us to cling to Him and have companionship with Him, then my favorite quote of His from the story of "The Fall" would never have been uttered.  Genesis 3:22-23a - - 

22  Then the Lord God said, 
"Behold, the man has become like one of us 
in knowing good and evil.  
Now, lest he reach out his hand 
and take also of the tree of life and eat, 
and live forever--"
23  therefore the Lord God sent him out 
from the garden of Eden

     The fact that God himself can't finish His sentence reveals just how strongly He desires us to not live in constant temptation.  Every time I read this passage, I imagine God rapidly sucking in breath at the thought of Adam and Eve living eternally in sin.  He sent Adam and Eve out of Eden so that they would not live forever in sin; so that they would instead have the opportunity to be reconciled in Him and return to His presence in glory after their death.  What a fantastic reality that is!!
[All scripture passages are from the questions asked at the end of Chapter 4.]

State-of-mind pic of the day.
Ol Doinyo Lengai, the Maasai's Mountain of God 
(taken by me)

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