Resolving to MAKE ROOM

“Sprinkles” (Trek to the Manger, chapter 12) may look lovely on cupcakes, but they can be a real obstacle to peace and faithfulness for the follower of Christ.

Typical America 'Two-car Garage' (detached type)

Image via Wikipedia

In one gloriously productive day, my husband and I succeeded at clearing out one stall in our garage. It wasn’t the first time we had spent hours in pursuit of empty space, but we were thrilled to finally be able to park a car INSIDE the garage (it did help that we finally have a car small enough for our modest space)!

We hauled away a van load of cast-offs to Goodwill that day – things which we had accumulated over the years that had long since either lost their usefulness or had simply been outgrown. Some of what we gave away hadn’t done time outside of the garage in an embarrassingly long period of time.

We piled up a lot of trash during our cleaning frenzy. Some we can recycle. Some cardboard boxes we gave away to a friend who needs them for an upcoming move. Tomorrow a whole bunch of bags and boxes will find their way to the curb for the garbage truck to haul them away. Some of the things that have taken up space in our garage for years are good for nothing but the trash heap.

We filled up one box with items that should have been in the house, being put to good use. I brought in a collection of home videos filmed over the past 17 years that had been quietly collecting dust, some office supplies that will save a trip to the store, a few books worth adding to the keepers on the shelf and some brand new toys that we had never given as gifts. Some of what we hold onto gets lost in the graveyard of useless things when we amass large quantities of stuff that we just can’t keep track of.

More isn’t always more. Sometimes more is just too much.

I don’t always subscribe to the tradition of making promises to myself in the New Year. Resolutions, in my limited experience, tend to guilt me within weeks of making them rather than spurring me on to good works.

I had no intention of falling into that trap again – that is, until I pulled my car into the garage for the first time last week. The timing was incredible! Our work day was terrifically warm for December, and dry so that we could spill out into the driveway as we sorted and stacked and separated our excesses. But even as we turned the key in the ignition, snow began to fall – softly at first, but eventually resulting in an uncharacteristically messy winter storm. A winter storm that my little car didn’t have to endure because we had made room for it in the space where it belongs.

So I’ve decided that there really is just one thing tugging at me as the New Year looms again. I’m tired of seeing so much stuff crammed into places where it simply does not belong.

Trash and junk and outgrown toys in the garage, where the car ought to be.

Unworn and poorly fitting clothing in the closet, where the things I actually will wear ought to be.

Calendars and schedule books littered with tedious meetings and pointless commitments, where satisfying and rewarding activities ought to be.

Worries and stressors and disturbing emotions taking up head and heart space, where joy and direction and clarity most definitely ought to be.

This year, I’m resolving to pass along to others the things that I have that they need.

This year, I’m resolving to throw away those things that are not worth keeping and are not worth giving away.

This year, I’m resolving to put to good use those things that I knew I would need someday.

This year, I’m resolving to MAKE ROOM in my house, in my head, in my life for that which really ought to be there instead.

And who knows? Maybe God has been patiently waiting on me to do just that.

After all, how can He pour new life and living water into the space within when it’s already jam-packed-full of something other than His very best for me?

A car belongs in its garage. That’s what the space is for.

I can’t wait to see what God has in mind for the space we’re about to create… in me!

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12×12 Challenge: Day 12 (January 6th)

Day 12 begins with Romans 12 in the New Century Version: Click HERE to read!

Word(s) for Day 12: Live in Peace

Inasmuch (LOVE that word!) as it is up to YOU, Live in Peace with everyone. Your next door neighbor. Your in-laws. Your children. Your boss. As much control as you have in any life-situation, use it to Live in Peace (period). We need to stop criticizing, placing blame and pointing the finger at others. If ever there was a New Years’ Resolution worth resolving, it’s this one: Do your best to Live in Peace.

Prayer:

My efforts are often weak, Lord – I admit it. Can I honestly say that I daily choose to do my best to Live in Peace with everyone?! You know the answer to that. After these 12 days in your Word, I am in need of Your direction and guidance more than ever before. As another New Year begins, I am desperate to grow into the person You have created me to be! Help me to continue to seek You in Your Word, being not only willing but ready to assume a position of Peace in each and every situation that unfolds in my life in this year. Amen.

THANK YOU for joining Pink Shoes Ministries for the 12×12 Challenge! As we complete the Challenge and our twelve readings of Romans chapter 12, be aware that a NEW series will begin here on Ash Wednesday – February 13th. I hope you’ll be ready for WANT What You’ve GOT (Lent 2013)!

One final Romans 12 video link remains for us to consider as we let God’s Word work on us in this New Year! Enjoy, and be BLESSED! Share your feedback here, or email Brita at: brita@pinkshoesministries.me     Click here to view.

God IS ‘The Plan’ (a PINK Tuesday post)

god

Image by the|G|™ via Flickr

They were gathered along shore and night was falling. The water pounded past the rocks at flood-stage pace, though their hearts pounding in their chests at the prospect of tomorrow was keen competition for the river. Thousands of men, women and children waited and some tried to sleep, if their anxious hearts would let them. What lay ahead for this tribe of desert-weary travelers was a mystery, save for the God who had brought them to this place.

Israel learned that their God often prompts action without there being any human plans in place (and with no guarantee that everything will come together as it should). As Richard Foster and Julia Roller write in “A Year With God: Living Out the Spiritual Disciplines”:

“The water was only parted once they had acted in faith and followed God. They could not count on any plans, because God gave them none. He only gave them himself. God was the plan.”

God was the plan when He rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt, and God was the plan when He held back the waters of the Jordan for His people to cross over into the land He had promised them. No marching orders were given. No map or what-to-expect pep talk were shared. No itinerary. No five-year plan.

There was only God.

In this new year, ‘our choice is either to trust our plans with all our heart or trust our God.’ (Foster & Roller)

That’s it.

Trust my plans, or trust my God.

Which is it going to be?

Some of us (including me) have been inclined more than once to make promises and plans and resolutions in January, fully intending to change the trajectory of our lives and maybe even clean up our act a bit in the new year. We know how long those promises are kept. We are experienced in failing ourselves, no matter how great the plan sounds on New Years Day. Even when we trust our plans with all of our hearts, we get burned (or eventually, we just burn out).

Because even if we stand a chance at controlling what we ourselves do, we are powerless to get everyone else to cooperate with our great plan.

Age is a great teacher, however, and I find myself captivated by words spoken to a frightened Israel by God’s friend, Moses, in Exodus chapter 14:

Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the LORD will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.

They did.

God parted the sea.

They crossed it safely.

Their enemies did not.

And freedom was found on the other side.

You are facing the unknown as you open the calendar to 2012. Some of us don’t know how long we’ll be able to keep the house. Some of us are pretty sure that the family we celebrated Christmas with last week will be smaller when we celebrate next year. Some of us have jobs that are iffy, bills that are piling up, and health concerns that threaten to take over our lives in the year ahead. Even the best-case-scenario among us is a big, fat question mark in this tumultuous economy that does not discriminate as victims are chosen. Yet in every situation and every circumstance, we have a choice.

Trust my plans, or trust my God.

Which is it going to be?

If Israel “had insisted that, before they left Egypt, scouts sent in advance report back that the route was clear, the Red Sea parted and waiting… They would have remained slaves.” (Foster & Roller)

And if you insist that, before moving into 2012, confirmation of your plans as “right” or “in God’s will” be provided before you make your move, well, you too will remain a slave to the illusion of control.

Freedom waits for us, my friends! This is GOOD NEWS! Stand firm and SEE the deliverance that the LORD will accomplish for you this year! He will FIGHT for you, and you need only be still. And wait. And watch.

Trust your God. And be set free.