Organizational matters >>
I continue to find more junk around my house that needs to be dealt with.
Can you believe I still have terribly written stories from my early elementary years packed away in binders?? I finally realized that there's a big difference between those that are really cute and worth keeping and those that are just taking up space. Looks like I really need to just read through the ones I don't remember so that I can gauge which category they fall into. That's gonna take awhile, but I think I'll eventually be able to pair down my 3 folders to just 1. Some of the really good ones that I wrote in middle school and beyond, I need to start retyping into my computer and back up on my external hard drive so that I can not only clear up space, but also make it possible to easily edit them in the future.
In the same vein, I've been going through my art work for the zillionth time and am finally making those hard decisions, that I couldn't make before, on what's actually good enough to keep and what's actually memory-filled enough to keep.
Same goes also for my theatre notes and such. I'll keep scripts and playbills of plays I've been in but notes from activities that I did in classes...yeah, recycling bin!
Oh, and last but not least, I had loads of English papers from high school and college - WHAT?!? I'm not even interested in English. Once again, a huge pile to the recycling bin, lol.
That's pretty much been the extent of my cleaning for the past 24 hours, but that kind of stuff takes forever for Ms. Packrat...
And on to spiritual matters >>
I finished Chapter 5 of Unstuck and want to mention a few more great finds from the chapter itself.
First off, the authors give a 4th equation to add to the 3 equations of Paul's theology:
Relationship (with Christ) + Truth (in the Word) = Spiritual Growth
Additionally, as I mentioned in Day 12, we grow in and become more mature in our faith when we come face to face with our weaknesses. I love this passage from Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:
9 But he said to me,
"My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly
about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me.
And from the authors of Unstuck: His grace is free; as we acknowledge our brokenness, we allow Him to work in our hearts on all levels. He moves into our hurts, hopes, resentments, desires, mistakes - each and every last "region" of us. He alone truly knows our most private thoughts, longings, and struggles.
I can't think of a more uplifting message than this - that our failures and hurts are exactly what brings us closer to God. Turning to him in our times of brokenness and need makes ALL the difference as I stated in Day 8 in regards to bad things that have happened in my life. Because I welcomed God's working through me during those difficult and heartbreaking situations, I can now, on the other end, honestly tell people that I am thankful these things happened to me. I don't regret them one bit because if they had never happened I would not be where I am now. In my opinion, this is one major difference between Christians and non-Christians - I rejoice in my pain because of the grace and divine closeness that it leads me to :-)
The Message's translation of Romans 12:11-12 puts what we must keep in mind quite nicely:
Don't burn out;
keep yourselves fueled and aflame.
Be alert servants of the Master,
Don't quit in hard times;
pray all the harder.
In other words, we must always be vigilant to recognize the hard times and to treat them for what they are - amazing opportunities to grow more in Christ.
I serendipitously ran across 3 different blog posts this morning that relate really well to today's post. Check them out to read more on trusting God in any situation:
Is Your Mindset About God Flawed by Jamie - She takes sort of an opposite approach to this whole topic by reminding us that sometimes when we surrender all to God, He does give us great blessings - that it's not always about learning through suffering.
Liabilities and Assets by Sarah Markley - She gives a candid account of how while she would love to go back and change the mistakes that she made, she also wouldn't give them back for the world because of how they have changed her life in Christ.
A Reminder to Depend Like a Child - On how God wants us to depend on Him the way a child depends on his mother.
I'll finish today by quickly covering the chapter's end questions.
Malachi 4:1-3 : What healing touch do I need from the Lord?
2 But for you who fear My name,
the sun of righteousness shall rise
with healing in its wings.
You shall go out leaping
like calves from the stall.
-Comfort in the fact that He has a plan for my future family.
Deuteronomy 4:32-40 : Do I live as though God truly is all-powerful and all-loving?
35 To you it was shown,
that you might know that the Lord is God;
there is no other besides Him. 36
Out of heaven He let you hear His voice,
that He might discipline you.
And on earth He let you see His great fire,
and you heard His words
out of the midst of the fire. 37
And because He loved your fathers
and chose their offspring after them
and brought you out of Egypt
with His own presence, by His great power, 38
driving out before you
nations greater and mightier than you,
to bring you in, to give you their land
for an inheritance, as it is this day, 39
know therefore today,
and lay it to your heart,
that the Lord is God
in heaven above and on the earth beneath;
there is no other.
-Not when I fall into the bondage of lonely thoughts and disconnected feelings.
Matthew 15:21-28: Do I live as though Jesus loves me fully, no matter my hang-ups and imperfections?
-Yes, I would say that the vast majority of the time I truly do.
It's what gets me through every day :-)I'd also like to mention that this story of the faith of a Canaanite woman is a fantastic example of how Jesus just wants us to show unwavering faith in how we approach our lives. I'd never looked at the passage in this way before but since Jesus started off with chastisement of the woman for expecting something from Him even though she was not a Jew then ended, after her display of faith, by offering her full access to Him, the meaning of this story really opened itself up to me.
State-of-mind pic of the day:
Tarangire National Park in Tanzania
(taken by me)
That's all for now! Good luck in cleaning and have a fabulous Sunday night :-)