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 3 (December 28th)

Day 3 begins with Romans 12 in the Amplified Bible: Click HERE to read!

Word(s) for Day 3: NEW (renewal, new ideals, new attitude)

God is doing something NEW and He wants YOU to be involved! The world around us is pretty predictable, with its hunger for comfort and money and things, but this isn’t where the heart of God is… He is shaking things up all around us, inviting women and men into a NEW way of thinking about the world in light of our Kingdom connections. The fruit we can expect when offering our ordinary to the God of second chances is anything BUT normal by the standards of this world! God’s NEW is going to get underneath your skin, turn your routine and expectations upside-down, and generate NEW priorities, NEW goals and even NEW thoughts inside your head. God-planted thoughts. Spirit-directed thoughts. Attitudes and ideals becoming of a child of the King.

Prayer:

God Who continues to create, make something NEW out of me! I give You access to the raw material of my life – my thoughts, my physical body, my presence and my connections – so that You can put me to work in new ways for the good of others and for the goals of Your Kingdom. Today I choose to decisively dedicate myself and all of my resources to You, yielding my own short-sighted goals and priorities to Your big-picture plan; making room for the renewal that only You can enact in me. Amen.

12×12 Challenge (begins December 26th!)

Twelve!

With New Years’ resolution time just around the corner, some of us are thinking about trying something new.

Our annual resolutions, whether formally made or attempted under the radar, are usually about making improvements. Positive changes. Reversing the negatives. Increasing willpower. Minimizing the guilt that we create from months and years of living beneath our potential. Trying harder to do what we think needs to be done better. Sound familiar?

Before you make your resolutions for 2013 (or before you choose not to), consider joining in the Pink Shoes Ministries 12×12 Challenge!

  • Romans Chapter 12
  • 12 Versions
  • 12 Days
  • 12 Minutes each day
  • 12 Words to carry with you into the coming New Year

The 12×12 Challenge begins December 26th and runs through January 6thEpiphany.

The 12 Days of Christmas.

Epiphany marks the arrival of the wise men – faithful seekers of the One sent from God. Upon finding Him, they bowed and worshipped, gave gifts and celebrated that their journey had brought them face to face with the child who was born to be King. Those moments with Jesus must have been made sweeter by the passion of these travelers – pilgrims of promise and vision. And light.

The word Epiphany means:

Sudden realization.

A sudden intuitive leap of understanding, especially through an ordinary but striking occurrence.

‘Ordinary but striking…’ This is what the 12×12 Challenge is about. Taking the ordinary – our ordinary, everyday lives – and watching God appear in sudden and striking ways. Epiphany also means:

Appearance of [God]. The manifestation of a divine being.

Your participation in the 12×12 Challenge, should you choose to engage, will result in Epiphany because that’s what happens when you offer your time, your focus, your thoughts and energy to the only One Who can make the ordinary into something (or someone) extraordinary.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of watching God-potential being wasted. I’ve seen too many gifted believers settle for something other than God’s best for him or her. Apathy, fear and a lack of gutsy teaching from the Word is keeping many Christians from stepping out in risky faith on a daily basis, and I for one can’t take it anymore!

You may not be able to commit to resolutions for an entire year, but you CAN commit to 12 DAYS.

You might not have time to attend a Bible study, but you CAN study here, with us.

You may be skeptical about your ability to understand God’s Word, but you WILL hear Him speak through Romans chapter 12.

Are you up to the Challenge?!

Check back here daily, from December 26th through January 6th for:

  • A daily reading of Romans chapter 12 (from a different version of Scripture each day)
  • A word or phrase to think about, meditate on, carry with you through the day (based on the teaching found in Romans 12)
  • A prayer for personal Epiphany in light of the word for the day.

The 12×12 Challenge is about exposure. Exposure to the Light (think: wise men & star). Exposure to the Word (think: face to face with Jesus).

The 12 minutes you spend during the 12 Days of Christmas to read Romans chapter 12 twelve times will be loaves and fishes to our God Who is able to multiply and maximize the ordinary in often sudden, always striking ways. Let His Word work on you, creating energy for God’s best to be accomplished in you in the coming New Year!

See you on Wednesday!