Spring is the time when we all think of deep cleaning, organizing our homes from top to bottom, and getting rid of clutter. As Paul and I have been gearing our minds in that direction, making lists of what needs to be cleaned, touched up, and repaired, God has been dealing with me on a different kind of Spring cleaning. Cleaning out my heart and mind. Decluttering the extra stuff that is causing chaos in my day to day living, which is not allowing me to live fully in what God wants me to.
Take a few minutes right now, and dig deep. Write down your deepest desires for your life and your family – as far as your role in them. Look outside the things that may seem obvious and go into your heart and the moments where you were tired of all the busyness of life – the moments when you said “I just want to be…”
For me, those moments have come a lot lately. I’ve felt the chaos of life and been overwhelmed with different things pulling me in various directions and the still small voice of God calling me to more. In those moments, my heart has cried out, “I just want to love my family well, be a great teacher to my children, have a hospitable home to share Jesus with the hurting, and be able to surrender to those things God is calling me to. When those moments come, there are things that don’t fall into those brackets that are taking up my time, efforts, and energies, on a daily basis.
Now, switch gears with me for a minute. When God was speaking into me for this study, the parable of the talents came to my mind.
14For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his LORD’s money. 19After a long time the LORD of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, LORD, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21His LORD said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy LORD. 22He also that had received two talents came and said, LORD, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23His LORD said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy LORD. 24Then he which had received the one talent came and said, LORD, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26His LORD answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 25:14-30 (KJV)
We all have gifts, or talents, God has given us. Which, if we nurture them, most likely will lead us into ministries He has for us. We are all called to ministry – though it looks different for each of us. In this parable, which I believe we can parallel to God giving us gifts to be used to further His Kingdom, the ones who went out and used their talents, nurtured and grew them, were told well done. The one who said, well I only have one talent, can’t do much with it and just sat on it – was called an unprofitable servant and cast into darkness.
How many can agree with me that we want to be used by God? We want our lives to reflect His glory and to be used how He wants to use us. This is where I want to tie the two thoughts together. We can allow other things to clutter our hearts and lives, taking the space where God wants to grow our gifts and ministries. As moms and wives, we are all called to be keepers of our homes and to love our husbands and children – Titus 2:4-5. On top of that, we all have places God wants to take us and our families. Now, I want you to write down those things that you feel God is calling you into. We all are at different levels of developing those talents – some may just be starting to realize those gifts, and others may have been developing them for a few years. If you’re not sure, pray that God starts showing them to you.
Priorities. I am going to talk about these a little different then maybe you’ve seen done before. Usually we write a list of our priorities and it goes something like this –
And we make a list of how we think we should prioritize our days and lives. I read something a while back about this, and it really is revelatory. God can’t be written in a list of priorities as number one – He needs to be outside of the list. Intermingled into our whole day, every area, every thought, every decision, centering our lives on Him. I also believe we should take time consistently out of our days to spend one on one time with Him. That’s where I think we start to add Him to a list. Don’t fall into this trap. Doing this causes time with Him to become an obligation, instead of a relationship. My husband and I usually spend time each evening, once the kids are sleeping, talking about our days, dreaming about our future, and sharing things we feel God has been speaking to us about. This builds our relationship and draws us closer together. But, I don’t put it on a list of priorities and something that needs to be checked off. It’s something that comes out of relationship. That being said, I function a lot better in my days when I can get time like that with God in my mornings. I enjoy that time and I feel closer to Him when I get that time. For you it may be the middle of your day as your kids nap, or in the middle of the night when you’ve been woken up by your child (my life lately 🙂 ). But it is not something I want to check off each day, because it easily becomes obligation and then guilt comes when my life doesn’t fall into place so easily. I don’t want to live for God out of guilt and think that is relationship.
So now, make your list of those few very deep desires God has given you. Those ones that cry out when life gets too busy. Draw a line under them and continue your list of “priorities” of everything that is in your life.
Mine would look something like this – (not numbered because I can’t put importance on one over another)
– Nurturing/using the gifts God has been calling me to
– Teaching my children and loving my family well
– Keeping my home – making it a peaceful, well-kept and enjoyable place to be/hospitality
– Business/Social Media
– Fitness (newbie)
– Selling Kids’ clothes
– I’m sure there is more but that is all that is coming to me right now 🙂
This is what God has been dealing with me about – all of this can become clutter, chaotic, etc., if not handled right. Being a mom of little children is a very busy time. It is also a very important time. Does this mean I should quit my business or blog? No, not unless God asks that of me. What it means is I need to focus my efforts each day on those deep desires and callings from God, then in the nooks and times that aren’t so busy, do what I can in the other areas. Find times to organize those items into your life. I lead a ladies’ bible study twice a month in my home. God showed me that I can use the studies He gives me for those, and tweak them for my blog, giving me two fresh blog entries each month, with little extra effort. I can set time aside when my children nap to work on my business, return emails, make or schedule calls. This may not happen every day because of the changes my kids are always making, but that’s ok. I can also do this with other things on my list. Fitness and my health is important, but I can’t be consumed with getting that perfect body, etc. For me, I need to set aside 30 mins to an hour, 3ish times a week when I know it won’t cut into other important items.
Another way to declutter our hearts and minds is cleaning out our thinking, negative thoughts, or dwelling on the past. Philippians 4:8 Do you consistently belittle yourself? Look at other people’s lives and compare? Dwell on your mistakes? These don’t line up to what the Word of God tells us to think on. Make room in your life for encouraging thoughts and a positive outlook. Take out the boxes of negativity and wipe off the cobwebs of doubt and comparison.
How can you refocus your life and get rid of the chaos? You may have to completely cut out some things or you may just need to prioritize your time each day and not stress if one of those things under the line isn’t accomplished. God doesn’t call us to perfection, He calls us to give our best and not look back. Give yourself a bit of grace, declutter all the stuff that is unimportant, and nurture the gifts God has given you!