Tuesday, October 30, 2012

In 100 Simple Words # 2

An all too familiar voice called to Kelsey. “Kelsey. How’s life.”
Kelsey took a deep breath before turning around. Why did Megan feel the need to talk to her every time they met? We used to be friends before …
“So how’s life?” Megan asked.
“Fine.” Kelsey managed, not wanting to commit to anything.
“How’s your project coming?” Megan pressed.
Kelsey stood shifting uneasily. How can I get out of this one? How could Megan be so thoughtless? Why do I have to be here?
Kelsey couldn’t take it anymore. Without explanation, she turned on her heel and walked away.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

In 100 Simple Words # 1

The other day I started writing a short story and thought that I might share it all with you. In 100 words I’ve tried to tell the first part of a story. I already have an idea for the next few parts of the story, and I look forward to seeing what you think of the first part of the story.

Time seemed to drag on. Kelsey took in a breath and exhaled it slowly.
How had it come to this? She asked herself for the hundredth time.
The party continued around her, the guests talked and chatted on happily. But Kelsey inwardly groaned.
I have to get through this. I can’t disappoint my friends. She mustered her best plastic smile. I have to act my way through this party.
Still it was getting harder to keep up the charade.
Kelsey stood and walked over to the punch bowl. Her cup was still half full, but she needed something to do.  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Simple Progress (If You Want to Call It That)

I'm not perfect.

Sometimes I feel so human and so weak. I mean I write a blog about living simply, I've  read books about it, I've asked God to help me be more simple-minded. Yet somehow, most of the time I still find myself getting caught up in this crazy world. I still catch myself running around trying to make things work.

But lately, I've  been surprised and pleased by the stirrings in my heart. A few weeks ago, I was worried about my future and trying to sort it all out. But then through the help of a friend and through listening to God, I find myself more relaxed. I haven't sorted it all out, but I know God will and that He will show me what I need to do.

So where I am I right now? I'm a strange mix of sorting out living simply and working out my journey with God. It's never easy, but it's always a wonderful adventure.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Simple Honesty: Part 8

Being honest all the time

Honesty isn’t easy. You have to admit that you don’t always measure up. You have to burst some bubbles. You have to tell it like it is.

Through this blog series, I’ve tried to just tell you some of my journey. I mean, let’s face it, life is messy. We aren’t perfect, but the sooner we accept that and move on the sooner we can start living the rich full and abundant life that we were meant to lead.

If you struggle, it only means that you are trying to serve God. Don’t worry about the pace of the process. Let God lead you on the journey of love. Let Him lead you on a journey of simplicity. Let Him lead you on a journey of honesty.

I hope that you have been encouraged by these honest confessions, thoughts, and ramblings. May God continue to bless and help you in your journey of simplicity.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Simply ... Me

Hello to all my dear blogging friends.

This has been a crazy wonderful couple of weeks.

To begin with, I had some lovely wonderful friends visiting. It was wonderful. But they have left now and I am trying to get back into the swing of things.

I splurged a lot this week, but I had fun. You there are times to save up and times to go out and enjoy what you have saved. Whether it's a few minutes to stop and smell the roses or some extra money, there are times to just enjoy the world around you.

Why not take a few minutes today and do some splurging. Save some time for your family or enjoy one of your favorite movies with some chocolate.

Just enjoy yourself and have some down time. I know that's what I will be doing part of the day.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Simple Honesty: Part 7

Movies, music, and more.

I like movies. Personally movies affect me more than books do. Consequently I have to be very careful about what I watch. I try to keep my standards very high.

But since we are being honest, I need to tell you that I’ve failed a lot in this area. I have caved to pressure (even self-made pressure) more than I would like to admit. And each time I’ve regretted it. To this day those images haunt me. Thankfully I have a God who is rich in Love and Mercy. He continually reminds me that no matter how I fail, He loves me.

Yet the question comes to mind, how much should we watch, read or listen to secular media? This is one question I am still trying to work out. Yet even here I think I’m making a mistake. I’m separating the media in my life by if it honors God or not. Everything that’s in my home whether it has a “Christian” label on it or not, should focus on the true, the noble, the lovely, the right, the lovely, the praiseworthy, and the excellent. Sometimes (more often than I would think) I find these things behind secular labels. The label shouldn’t be what we focus on. It should be the content. If the content is demoralizing, depressing, degrading of human life, has a lot of vulgarity, or characters that don’t honor and respect each other, we need to think seriously about whether we should put that into our minds.

It comes down to this. What I put into my brain will come out. If I put in good, good will come out. If I put in bad, bad is going to come out. So I need to be very careful what I put in. No matter what label it wears, we should watch or not watch movies, read or not read books, listen or not listen to music based on whether it puts good or bad thoughts into our head.

For the media that you just want to read, watch, or listen to because it gives you an adrenaline rush, don’t make excuses. There are things that I enjoy just because they’re fun. Enjoy them as gifts from God, just make sure that they are a small portion of what you take in.

Media is a powerful tool for good or for bad. Let it be a tool for good.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Simple Honesty: Part 6

Life and Dreams – Go with the flow

When I was young I had all these dreams for how life would turn out. I dreamed of being the lead actress in a movie, of being in a play, of meeting a handsome guy and …. The dreams went on.

And through the years, God has helped me make many of my dreams come true. I’ve been able to be in a movie, I’ve been in a play, and I’ve been able to make the strong friendship with other believers that I always dreamed about.

But in-between times of fulfilling dreams there have been times of preparation. These have been some of the hard times. I can’t see how God is going to work things out. I’m waiting for the next step. It’s in these times that God has grown me the most. It’s in waiting for His timing that I know where He wants me to use my talents.

There have been times when I’ve whined. I wanted it all now. I wanted to have the dream now. But some of my worst falls have been when I tried to take what God was not giving. It’s made me realize that it’s always better to wait on God’s timing.

And when dreams do come true, it’s been some of the best times of my life. One of the tricks I’ve learned is to go with the flow. No I’m not perfect at this either, but I’m learning. When you’re waiting, live in the moment and enjoy the growth process. When your dreams come true, live in the moment and enjoy what God is doing in you.  

Just keep living and enjoy what God is doing. Go with the flow. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Simple Honesty: Part 5

Beyond Logic

Why would God love us? Logically I can’t fathom it.

Why would that same loving God choose to live among us? Logically it doesn’t make sense.

Why would that same God who lived among us chose to die on a cross? Logically I can’t figure it out.

Why would that same God who died on a cross, rise again, and forgive me for all that I have done? Logically I can’t come up with an answer.

Why would the same God who forgives all my sin, raise me up to be one of His daughters? Logically I don’t know.

Why would this same God want to spend the rest of eternity with me? Logically, you guessed it, I have no idea.

It’s only when we strip away logic and look at His heart that we find the true answers. These answers go beyond with the mind is able to grasp, but what the heart cries out to accept. They have made men puzzled for centuries and caused seasoned Bible scholars to be dumbfounded.

The truth – that defies all logic – is this: God loved us so much that He freely gave His most treasured possession so that we could know His love for us. And by accepting that love, we may have life in Him and have it to the full.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Simple Honesty: Part 4


It was bound to come up sooner or later. No use putting it off anymore. I set out on a walk to talk with God about worship. Why is this a sticky subject for me? Maybe because I’m not quite sure I like doing it the way I’ve always done it before.

I used to be a great worshipper. On Sunday mornings I was one of the loudest voices in the pews, if I wasn’t singing up front. Now, what can I say? I’m starting to think differently about worship.

What is worship exactly? Worship is praising God with your life. No matter what you do, it’s making God the center of it. That encompasses so much more than just Sunday morning singing. It takes in all of life. Our lives are made to worship God. And we do that every day of our lives.

Now instead of trying to squeeze in worship, I try to live every moment of my life for Him. In making Him precious in the moment, we give Him worship and glory.

Lifestyle worship is, for me, has been so freeing. Instead of trying to perform for Sunday morning services, I am free to be honest to God about how I feel. Now I worship Him in all I do. Sometimes that is hard. Sometimes I get tried. But I find that when I am not trying to perform, when I am free to worship all the time, I find that praise and worship flow more freely from my life. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Simple Honesty: Part 3

My relationship with God
Photo Credit Mikayla H.

I danced slowly in the moonlight. My Abba whispered His love softly. My heart moved in time to the music. I know He’s there, even though my eyes tell me that there’s only air around me. There have been times in my life – like dancing with my Abba – when I can feel the presence of God surrounding me. And there are times I struggle find Him in the midst of my day. It’s not that He’s not there, it’s just that I can’t feel Him as much. But He and I have the best relationship I could ask for. I’m learning to relate to Him as a beloved to her lover. This is journey that has taken me through many twists and turns, through some of the hardest times in my life, and through some of the most joyful times I’ve ever experienced. Through it all God has been there helping me to see Him for who He is.

This kind of relationship isn’t easy, clean or perfect, But I wouldn’t miss it for the world. It’s one of the few relationships in my life that I feel totally safe, totally free, and totally loved inside of it. The more I open myself up to God and His love the more my life changes for better.

I wish I could find the words to describe how much love and acceptance I have found in Him. I wish I could find the words to tell how much He’s meant to me. I wish I could find the words to describe this wonderful relationship. But since I can’t, let me encourage you in your own walk. God is closer than you think. Keep relaxing into the love that he offers you every day. And don’t worry if you don’t see any fireworks right away. Just keep walking with God wherever He leads and you’ll see more than you ever imagined.     

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Simple Honesty: Part 2

At the risk of being real.

When we the last time that you were perfectly honest with everyone? Think about it. The last time that someone asked you, how are you, did you smile your best and answer, fine. Were you really? Or were you just saying that because it’s what we are supposed to say?

This is the generation where pretending is rewarded by praise and applause. Not only on stage and movies, but in everyday life. We shun those who don’t have it all together. We think that being real isn’t cool and look up to those who appear to have it all.

Sadly though, those who seem to have it all together are the ones who lie the most. Life is messy. With my sinful nature, the a broken world, and girl trying to live in God’s love, life is bound to be full or challenges and joys. There are days when I feel less than holy. On other days I feel like I can conquer the world. Life is not a clean and tidy affair. It’s more like a journey that you are learning the way as you go. And sometimes as we learn things get a little messy.

Now I can chose to lie about this messiness and pretend I have it all together, or I can accept the fact and live as I am. But this brings joys and dangers all its own. Yes I said danger. Being real isn’t in vogue. People can more easily handle lies than honesty. Telling someone the truth will either open you up to sharp criticism or harsh advice. But sometimes being truthful can lead to stronger friendships and a fuller relationship with God.

So next time you get the urge to put on a mask, whether for God or others, take a moment a really think if that’s what you want to do. God doesn’t want robots, He wants children. Sometimes kids are human and make mistakes. Embrace the life that you’ve been given. Don’t try to act like things are okay when they’re not. Be real with God and others and watch the transformation that takes place.

I’m still working on this one. I try to be honest, but sometimes I catch myself putting on a mask to impress others. That’s when I have to pray hard and jerk the mask off. It’s never easy and I’ve lost some friends over it. But it’s always worth it. I don’t have to hide behind lies or masks, I can just be me. And believe me the real me that is emerging, is so happy to be set free.

So let’s stop pretending and enjoy who we really are. Be simply honest in all that you  do.     

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Simple Honesty: Part 1

Devotions, quiet time, and the resting of the mind.

Photo Credit Mikayla H.

I used to be very spiritual. I used to get up early every morning, pray, and read in the Bible or another spiritual book. I used to be so proud of my record. For almost two years I kept up my morning routine of devotions. I could count on one hand the times that I had missed morning prayer.

Then one day I realized I was pretending. At first it had breathed new breath into my spiritual life. But over time, in my effort to keep up my record, I was showing up and “praying”, but I was merely going through the motions. In my efforts to keep order to my prayer time, I had lost contact with the one I was there to see. This didn’t come to me all at once, but over time I saw that my heart just wasn’t in it anymore.

So I stepped back. I stopped praying in the mornings. One my life became very busy and I needed the extra sleep. Two I needed realized that because I prayed in the mornings, I hadn’t been praying as much to God all throughout the day. I began trying to spread out what I had been doing in my devotions all throughout the day. I would out prayers whenever anyone asked instead of saving them for later. As I took one of my daily walks outside, I would quiet my heart and let God talk to me. I would try invite God into whatever I was doing.

As I did these simple things I found my days being transformed. Instead of going through the motions I was enjoying time with God. As I invited God into my daily life, things that had once become mundane now became enjoyable again.

In the introduction I said that most of the lessons God has taught me haven’t been in a classroom, but in everyday life. This I have found very true about my devotions. I’ve felt His presence and seen Him work more as I have taken my focus off devotions. As I focus on God, and not getting it right, my eyes have been opened to Him working in my life. 

I’m not saying that you should stop praying in the morning or that you should throw out the devotional books you have. What I am suggesting is to think beyond just the morning as a time to pray and get in touch with God. Contrary to popular teaching Jesus never said, “Thou shalt get up every morning early and pray before beginning your day.” He did say to pray without ceasing, to let praise overflow from a thankful heart, to live and walk by the Spirit, and to be kind and compassionate to everyone. We can have a perfect record of morning devotions and still miss out on having God in our lives.

No and my walk isn’t perfect, there are still days I struggle. Days that I wish there were some easy spiritual fix. But walking with Christ isn’t about feeling spiritual or keeping records, it’s about walking with Him and living our lives with Him. When that fellowship happens, life becomes rich and full.    

Monday, October 1, 2012

Simple Honesty: Intro

For some time God has been taking me on a journey to know Him for who He is. Some of the things I have learned have been hard lessons. Some have been joyful lessons. But more often than not I didn’t learn these lessons sitting in a classroom, I learned them in everyday life. Living the journey of growing in His love is a journey that is constant and doesn’t end with morning devotions.

What I would like to do over the next few weeks is explore some of what God has shown me about some areas in my spiritual life. My hope is that through my ramblings and confessions, that you will be encouraged in your own walk.

I’ll be back in a few days with more.