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!

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I need to be weak for awhile.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. -- Hebrews 4:16

Sometimes its easy to forget how unfairly blessed I am. Most of the time, I can make it through the day without any semblance of hardship, and the truth is, while things often aren't as easy as I’d like for them to be, in the eyes of most, I have never really experienced hardship at all. But pain is relative. Pain is what happens on the inside, sometimes without regard to what is taking place outside of ourselves. Perhaps I've never been in a literal gutter, but my heart has known anxiety and despair.

And sometimes, despite the countless times in my life when I have seen God at work, moving in his mighty love and goodness and provision, my eyes begin to wander down to the waves crashing around me and I sink back into the oblivion of cautiousness and haphazard, the halfhearted and afraid. I give into the chaos. I realize that I’m drowning, and my instinct is to save face, because drowning can be a violent way to go and I would rather not draw so much attention to the downward spiral happening within. I crave the control.

But His love goes further, still.

I realize my need for Him, and that when the waters overwhelm and the climb seems to be insurmountable, it is okay to reach up. It is okay to be weak. Scripture says that we should boast in our weakness, because when we are weak, He is strong. Father God will be good. He breathes the victory over us.

So I learn, hard and softly all in the same silent and fleeting moment, that I must be weak, but for a brief following moment, I resist. Knees buckle and fists clench in the tension that comes before the delicate letting go. Lord, let there be nothing in my life that points to me.

My heart craves quiet solitude in a world that screams the emergency of life. This is the lie that we have taken up in place of the truth. How can I become less so that Christ may become more?

Lord, may I cling only to the Mercy Seat.

Nothing in me has the power to save.

It takes boldness to be weak.