Blooming + The Art and Discipline of Simplicity (GIVEAWAY)

Processed with VSCOcam So, there are few things on the internet that I love more than a good, solid quotation. But like that old school game of telephone, sometimes in the pinning and re-pinning, tweeting and retweeting, the truth can morph a little bit. Words get mixed up, and even the origin of the quote can get confused (John Green can tell you all about this here).

That is what is said to have happened with this quotation, originally spoken by José Micard Teixeira, and made popular by Meryl Streep:

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me.

I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”

As a pretty voracious reader, I have loved many quotations over the years, but when I read this one for the first time, with Meryl's picture, my jaw dropped. What must it be like to move through life with that kind of confidence?

I'm learning that my ability to maintain a life of simplicity is directly correlated to my confidence. 

The truth is, I've never seen myself as a very confident person, but I crave a more simple life -- simplicity in my house, in my closet, in my body, in how I choose to spend my time, in my online space, and in my soul. And just like learning to play the trumpet, learning to live simply is a discipline. It takes practice.

And who has time to practice? 

Confession: I am not a color coded day planner wielding kind of girl. But with the month of March being filled to the brim, and my tendency towards anxiety, I figured now might be a good time to start.

I've been reading Lysa TerKeurst's book The Best Yes, where she writes that there are 168 hours in a week, and how God's call on our lives isn't to cram our calendars, but to slow down so that we can discern what is truly the best use of our resources.

It really isn't difficult to say no to what we know is not a good use of our resources -- what's difficult is saying to to the good things so that we can make room for the best things. And there are a lot of good things that we can fill our days with. But Lysa writes that "never is a woman so fulfilled as when she chooses to underwhelm her schedule so she can let God overwhelm her soul.”

Sure, there are some nonnegotiable things that need to get done that don't necessarily bring us joy or fulfillment -- but I've found that I have been lazy with the rest of the resources that I've been given. In my painful lack of confidence and discipline, I have blatantly chosen things that don't bring me joy.

We've been going through a study on wellness at church, and in true God fashion, he has used it to reveal the things in my life that really prevent me from claiming wellness in my soul. In my haste to do so many things, I have been broken.

We hoard and become anxious because we fear that God won't provide. And the truth is, there are not enough hours in the day to do everything -- but there are enough hours for everything that really matters. Lord, help us to be mindful of the things that matter. 

So every Monday in March, I'll be writing about simplicity in a different area of my life, and I hope that you'll consider joining me.

And now, a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bloom 2015

bloom2 As I wrote earlier in the week, my word for 2014 was rest. I chose rest following what had been the busiest year of my life, blissfully unaware of what 2014 would hold. I had hoped that I would be able to take a break from the hustle, but reality knocked the wind out of me. Life doesn't always go according to plan.

For the past year, day to day life has been divided between three counties, with my job often taking me far outside that radius. By the time I got home from work, I was too mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted to do much. Honestly, there were days that I came home from work and just went to bed. There was a time in my life when all I wanted to do was go go go. And maybe its the running and the hustle, or simply the season of life I'm in, but lately I've been feeling this overwhelming desire to stay. Home has become my element.

Especially in the latter half of the year, I began to hate my job as a social worker. We had all prayed for this job. I spent the first five months after C and I got married scouring the internet for any potential job openings. Old professors and pastors allowed me to list them as references. And here I was, absolutely loathing that half hour commute to the office, and feeling apathetic at best towards the children and families I was working with.

All the while, it seemed like people around me were flourishing. I watched as my friends stepped into leadership roles in our church. I watched as they led worship, as they spoke, as their pieces seemed to fall perfectly into place. I cried, and cried a lot. I felt alone, and terribly fragmented.

Eventually, I reached the point when my restlessness outweighed my fear of failure and rejection. I knew I had to make a change.

So when a position opened up in my home county, I immediately applied. My supervisor had told me that I would have to go through the process of being interviewed again, but if I wanted the job, it would be mine.

Perhaps I should offer a little bit of back story: when I was first applying to work in child protective services, I intentionally avoided applying for any positions in my home county. I thought there would be freedom in the anonymity. I would be able to graze the frozen food aisle without the dreaded possibility of running into a client. And it goes without saying that people who work in child protective services are not always the most liked.  So I commuted half an hour to and from work every day, thinking it would alleviate that possibility of discomfort. What it really did, though, was leave me feeling entirely disconnected.

So this new possibility not only meant that my commute would be significantly shortened and I could spend less on gas, but it also afforded me the opportunity to breakaway from some of my more tiresome and time consuming cases. What had been originally seen as a burden has become such sweet relief.

The running had exhausted me. What's more, it rendered me incapable of putting down roots. I can't tell you how soundly I slept after I made the decision to move.

I think sometimes we get scared of movement, especially when we lack a clear sense of direction. We're brought up to think that if we take a chance and wind up stepping outside of God's will for our lives, we will end up facing a whole lot of bad consequences. I thought that way for a long time, and it wasn't until this past October, when I was writing the identity series, that I began to consider a different perspective.

My friend Alyce said that I have options, and that I have to take ownership of the path that I'm on, knowing that the identity Christ purchased for me is not compromised by a single misstep.

“I don't believe there is one great thing I was made to do in this world. I believe there is one great God I was made to glorify. And there will be many ways, even a million little ways, I will declare his glory with my life.” -- Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little Ways

Now, I can feel more air filling my lungs as my margins widen. I have the space to take a step back and take an inventory of the raw materials I'm working with. Throughout scripture, we see the threads of everyday people taking whatever is in their hands and using it to fulfill the mission of God. They were willing to show up and to trust God, even when they couldn’t see the next step, and even when things didn’t make sense.

I’ve also thought long and hard about my word for 2015. At first, I considered wholehearted, and then thought I had settled on aligned (I told my husband its a wonder we got married because I am so dang noncommittal). I even advertised for both words here. But I haven’t been able to shake this idea of blooming where we’re planted.

So my goal for 2015 is to learn myself, to examine the ground that I have been planted in, and bloom.