Category Archives: Resolutions

That Time God Told Me to PIPE DOWN, ALREADY!

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just-be-quiet

Oh, good Lord.  Did He really just say that?

(Yes, He DID. I can’t EVEN.)

He can’t possibly be talking to me.

(Spoiler Alert: Yep.  He IS.)

Because I’ve foolishly been thinking it’s all about me and my big ideas. (*Ahem*)

Because, you see, without big ideas, I can’t make a plan to execute. (*Sigh*)

I’m a person who loves to execute plans.  Like, LOVES to.  It’s hard for me to “stop”.  Do you know what I mean? I like BIG ideas, BOLD plans, and BEAUTIFUL executions of them!   And God has been SO, SO good in blessing me with a great season of DOING all these things!

But the fact that He and I don’t seem to be “doing” anything like that in my life right now has me like:

what-you-talkin-about-willis

(photo: Pinterest)

(Did you just do the Scooby Doo “huhhhhh?” voice in your head?!  Me too! Me too!)

I’m the girl  (and maybe you are, too?) who likes to immediately take matters into my own hands when I don’t think I’m getting my way. So, in the absence of visions and plans coming my way, I have been a bit busy to try to kick start the process.  And every time I come up with a brilliant idea, it energizes me for about a day or two.

BUT THEN.

THEN  it’s like the fire under the boiling  “BIG IDEA” pot gets turned down to a low simmer and moved to the back burner, clearing lots of space once again on a big ol’ empty stove.

Every. Single. Front. Burner.

Wide. Open.

Like God is saying, “Well.  That looks delicious and all.  But let’s save it for another time, okay?  No need to be cooking up a storm right now. I’ve got reservations for us elsewhere.”

Kind of like a frying pan to the face – in a really good Godly way, I mean.  😉

God isn’t looking for me to DO anything right now except be obedient to the “season of rest” to which He called me last fall.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been so great at being restful.  I love-love-love being an ACTION VERB kind of girl – a doer, a creator, a teacher, a writer, a speaker.  But instead, I think I need to learn how to be a BEING VERB kind of girl (as in – be still, be quiet, be kind, be with others, be with myself, be with GOD…).

I need to pipe down, already.

And I need to be o-BE-dient.  

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As I let that verse right there weave together with the original message I got from God, a more gentle wording came out:

Dear Wendie,

Will you please just be with Me for a bit instead of trying to DO things I haven’t even asked of you yet?  How about we start by taking care of you and your own four walls (literally and figuratively)?  I’ll be right with you every step of the way, but – for the moment – you need to STOP IT with all this other stuff. It’s going to be worth it, trust Me. 

And since you are wondering, YES – I see you. I hear you. I know you.  I adore you. I love you. You matter more than you can fathom.  And you’re Mine -always and forever.

Thanks, sweet one. Carry on being you by being with Me.

Xoxo,

God

Geez.  He writes really good letters, doesn’t He?!

So, why am I telling you all this?  Because I’m wondering if maybe He’s writing a similar love letter to you, asking you to let Him into your “four walls” for a bit.

With Lent starting on Wednesday, I’m asking you to join me in committing these 40 days to honest-to-goodness o-BE-dience to His voice and will.

After all, isn’t that the point of the season?!?

To be, rather than do.  To pray, rather than produce and plan.  To listen, rather than think/talk so much.  To let it “be what it is supposed to be”, rather than expect so much or try so hard to change it. To let “it” change us.

So what is this going to look like?  I’m not sure; it’s going to look different for each of us. We’ll just have to let each other know how it all shakes out in 40-some days.   All I know for now is that I’ve got my own four walls to focus on:  a guest room to clean out (long story…), a body to care for, some great people to love on (including YOU!), and an amazing God to hang out with all the while.

Not too shabby of a season centered on living in o-BE-dience, right?

My yoga teacher ends every class instructing us to take a deep inhale, and then exhale everything out that won’t serve us. I’m taking that seriously this Lent.  I’m breathing in the good stuff He has for me, and letting the rest go. Well, that and being a little more quiet, too! 😉

Love you and miss you girls so, so much.  Smoochies all around!

Peace, love and JESUS-LEVEL JOY!

Wendie

PS: (If you are looking for something different and meaningful  – and QUIET –  to try this Lent, join me in participating in this fantastic idea on praying for others! http://catholickatie.com/writing/my-favorite-thing-to-do-for-lent.html )

PPS: If you like awesome Christian music, click here to take a look at my current playlist!  It’s soooooooo good!  😉

Keeping It Clean (why a nice detox is a good idea…)

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Feeling sluggish?  A little foggy headed?  Need a little help getting rid of things that slow you down?

I was, too.

So I’m in the middle of what’s called “three-week nutritional cleanse”. First, let me tell you that from my perspective it isn’t a lot of fun. No wine, no grain, no dairy (heavens me, this one is the worst – cheese is truly given to us as a gift from God!), very little animal protein…you get the gist. But I can ALSO tell you, my body is happy with me for doing it. My tummy feels better, my skin looks better, I’m sleeping better, and my brain is functioning at a little bit faster speed than it has in a while. All good stuff and, honestly, those benefits are all the main reasons I’m doing it.

This morning, though, I woke up feeling very discombobulated and uncertain in my soul. A friend of mine who is knowledgeable on these things told me to expect this to happen about ½ way through the 21-day detox because, according to her, once your body starts to clean up all the junk physically, the spirit isn’t too far behind it. In other words, my heart needs to dump what’s clogging my spiritual arteries, as well.

clean heart

My body is busy getting rid of things it doesn’t need anymore (and even things it never needed in the first place) because I’m feeding it correctly and letting it heal, and I’m realizing I need to do the same thing with my soul.

So, starting today, I’m adding a little spiritual cleanse to my nutritional one.  And so for me, I’m matching the two goals up and creating one: get rid of what I no longer need and fill up on what makes me healthy.

For the next few weeks, I’m cutting out mindless television. I’m adding some more quiet time with my Bible and conversation with God.

I’m turning off talk radio and tuning into what feeds my soul – K-Love.

I’m trading afterdinner social media checks for some quality check-in time with my high schooler and my husband.

I’m telling the voice of fear and shame to take a hike and listening instead to the steady voice of Truth.

Yeah. I know. Just like cutting out wine, bread, and cheese – this is going to take commitment and I may falter a time or two. But restoring my spirit is essential to keeping me in tune with God’s voice and His will for me and the life He placed me here to live.

You know what I think is so cool? God is constantly providing us with opportunities to rebuild and reshape our hearts. He grants countless options for spiritual detox! And one of the most amazing places we can see this for ourselves is in the very familiar, but often misunderstood section of Matthew 5: The Beatitudes! For all the things our precious spirits experience, feel, and grovel through, we get a promise of blessing as a sacred reward for each one as we empty ourselves of – well, ourselves, and fill up on Him.

I hope you will join me this fall as we dive into The Beatitudes together with our Fall 2015 Bible study series, be blessed. We start up our local studies the week of September 14th and will spend 10 weeks uncovering all the beautiful blessings wrapped up in just ten verses.

be blessed logo rustic

Next week, I’ll be back to tell you more about the series in general and how you can follow along here on the blog. In the meantime, would you consider one way in which you might be able to give yourself a little spiritual detox for the next week? If so, leave a comment; I’d love to hear your ideas and encourage you along the way!

Enjoy your week, sweet friends!

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

PS – simpl.if.I central will be taken off the blog week so be sure to print up anything you need/want this week! 😉

The Commandment I Love to Hate…

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Okay, I don’t HATE any commandment so what I really should’ve titled this is: “The Commandment I Can’t Seem to Get My Arms Around”.  I mean, “Thou Shalt Not Kill” – I get.  No problem.  I can handle that.  “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery”  – bingo, no probs.  “Thou Shalt Not Covet” – clear enough (well, I get it and all, but having said that, I gotta admit to being pretty darn drooly over my neighbor’s new front door…!).

But “Thou Shall Honor The Sabbath”?  Are you kidding me?  In what world was He living when He thought up THAT one?!  Did He not have kids in sports?  Did He not understand the benefits and organizational value of grocery shopping on Sunday for the week?  Did He not get that we just don’t have time to take a break anymore?

Did He not know that taking a rest sometimes leads to us falling behind in this world –  somehow, someway?

YES.  He knew.  All along, He knew.  And He had a better plan for us in mind than the “Hamster Wheel of Life”:

The Sabbath.

“Shabbat (the Sabbath) is not merely a day of rest, it is a rehearsal, within earthly time, for the age beyond time when humanity, guided by the call of God, moves beyond strife, evil, and oppression, to create a world of harmony, respecting the integrity of creation as God’s work, and the human person as God’s image.  Once a week, God invites us to practice eternity.”  Rabbi Jonathan Sachs.

In Hebrew, a beautiful saying exists:  “Shabbat Shalom”.  It means something along the lines of, “May your Sabbath be filled with perfect peace – the way peace ought to be experienced.”

Oh my. OH MY!!!!  I want to practice perfect peace and eternity – don’t you?!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I recently took a trip to Florida with my daughter to see my parents.  I had already been researching the topic of The Sabbath before we left, as a possible topic for a retreat at which I’m speaking this fall.  So, I decided to make an intention on our trip to TRY and practice some of the 10 things I’ve recently learned about Sabbath observance (I’ll talk more about what those 10 things are later this week here on the blog!)

Here’s the first thing I discovered:  it’s hard.

It’s hard to step off our ever-accelerating escalator filled with the highs, lows, and business of daily life.  It’s hard to intentionally listen to the people you love the most, instead of taking them for granted.  It’s hard to truly unplug from technology so you can pay attention to the beauty of spontaneity unfolding around you.  It’s hard to watch everyone else’s life catapult forward when you pull back on the reins.

Yes.  It’s hard.  But it’s not impossible.  And it’s not without massive reward.

Because, here’s what ELSE I discovered:  my mom is super funny;  I love doing puzzles; my dad DOES have good advice; my daughter is as graceful as a sweet dolphin when she swims; I miss my husband when I’m not with him; dog hair on the clothes in my suitcase makes me smile; the sun feels great on bare skin; wine tastes especially good when you are in the pool; buckets of peel and eat shrimp create giggles despite the mess; sleeping past 8:00am can cure whatever ails you; and…I am BEYOND blessed.

So.  What was the cost of all that?  Well, I missed a scheduled blog post (we all survived, and probably didn’t even notice!); Ella missed two days of school (my guess is that she will still go to college); my Lupus acted up just a tad from the sun (but I look super healthy with a little tan); I slept through my morning devotional time (and gained perspective in restfulness); I gained 2 pounds (and do not regret a single, delicious ounce of it); I didn’t make or create a single thing (yet I’m filled with one thousand ideas right now).

My message isn’t to say you need to go to Florida to experience the Sabbath, because you truly don’t need to go anywhere!  The message is to ask you to unplug from whatever you do as your “norm”, in order to experience the mundane as miraculous.

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Maybe it IS a change of scenery to get you there.  Or maybe it’s a change of mindset.  Maybe it’s an intention to make TODAY different from the 6 days before it – an honest intent to honor rest.  Whatever “it” is, it is entirely between you and God.  It’s possible. It’s necessary.  It’s a COMMANDMENT.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”  Exodus 20:8, ERV.

God created that commandment because He knew we needed it.  He modeled it for us when He, Himself, “rested on the 7th day”.  Not because HE needed it; but because, like the best of all parents, He knew WE’D need someone to show us how it’s done.

So, where do we go from here?  I’m so glad you asked!  Click here for the 10 things you can do to celebrate the Sabbath, or as I like to call it:  The Sabbath Manifesto, Part Deux! I’ll share with you some cool and completely applicable ways to begin YOUR journey in exploring what celebrating The Sabbath means for you!

Peace,

Wendie

Anxiety Schmanxiety!

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How are your Delicious Possibilities coming along?! How’s it going with facing Uncertainty head on?

I had a great opportunity recently to put on a coat of courage instead of hastily throwing on my anxiety poncho! I had a dentist appointment to get fitted for a crown on a molar. You should know that I fear all things “dental”. Cleanings, fillings, root canals; even the smell of walking into the office can quite literally make me feel like someone turned on a flow of ice water that starts in my heart and works its way to every single part of my body. I’ve actually been known to go into a full blown panic attack, unable to speak, move my hands or feet, or respond in anyway except through some pretty intense shaking! May God continue to bless my ever-patient dentist…!

As my dear dentist was prepping my mouth for the Novocain shot, I felt that familiar ice floe begin to make its cold journey from my chest and turn toward my arms. And then I remembered our challenge for this year – No More Letting Uncertainty Do The Driving! And so, in that moment, I asked Jesus to remind me that HE is in control and that Jeremiah 29:11 is alive and well and applies even today to something as benign as dental work!

Within a few seconds of praying that scripture, the following thought popped into my head: “That iciness you feel is fear, and if I may be so bold to say, is being served up with a small cup of ‘resistance to trust me’ and a side of ‘anxiety to give up control’. I know that feeling and how unsettling it is to feel it sliding through your veins. But it isn’t Truth. I AM.”

Thank you, Jesus.

Now. Did I enjoy those 80 minutes of drilling and rinsing and poking? Did I experience Dental Nirvana? Nope. Not so much. BUT, I didn’t have a panic attack. I didn’t sit for 80 minutes wondering if the next little step was going to hurt. Instead, I thought about Jesus and all the times of uncertainty He faced with a heart that was open to POSSIBILITIES, thus creating miracles and peace along those paths.

Uncertainty never feels good in the moment. But, remember that while feelings are INDICATORS of your situation, they do not DICTATE what God wants of you (that’s a favorite saying of Lysa Terkeurst’s!). Our response to uncertainty and fear will determine how God will be able to use us (and thus BLESS us) in this life. Don’t let anxiety get in the way of the plans He has for you: to prosper you, not to harm you, to give you hope, and a future (that’s our Jeremiah 29:11!).

“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over [fear], because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” I John 4:4, NLT.

Amen! Now hang up your anxiety poncho today and face the day with possibilities instead! Leave me some comments and let me know YOUR issues and how YOU plan on facing them with courage and trust!

Up later this week: What does “Stringing Pearls” mean, anyway?

Peace,
Wendie

PS. I realize there is a big difference between feeling anxious over a dental visit and living day in and day out with fear. If fear and anxiety are interfering with your ability to live a productive life, please seek professional assistance from a qualified medical doctor and/or a trusted counselor.

Delicious Possibilities for 2013!

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Welcome to 2013, my friends! And what a year I BELIEVE it is going to be! What about you?!

This year, I’m making it my main intention to listen to God more and to myself less. That might sound simple, but I can guarantee it ain’t always gonna be easy, and may very well be a lot harder than I think! It’s going to take a lot more humility than I’m used to (yikes…), a lot more reliance on and trust in Him (instead of fooling myself into thinking I’m actually in control of everything…), and a lot more courage to step out the this “life boat” I’m in and into the unknown waters of TRUE life (instead of being content to play it safe…).

I have no idea what this is going to look like or how it’s going to play out. But my heart and my soul are literally screaming for me to open my eyes to WAY more of HIM while learning to let go of a lot more of ME! I’m a little nervous, though. You see, I have a love/hate relationship with the beginning of the new year. On one hand, new beginnings feel clean, fresh, and full of positive possibility. On the other hand, “new” is always accompanied by an unwelcome acquaintance – Uncertainty.

Uncertainty breeds anxiety and anxiety can quickly turn into fear. And so, before we can even begin to allow God to mold us and use us as He desires in 2013, we’re going to have to look Uncertainty straight on with courage, grace, and TRUST in the Lord, and say, “Hello, there! Don’t you look lovely this year?! I’m not going to run away from you this time. I am not shying away from you, nor will I let you drive my actions. Instead, I’m choosing to put you in the back seat and let YOU see what I can do in Him.”

Care to join me? We can do this together, if you’re willing. And unlike the child who is content to sit making mud pies because he hasn’t dared to imagine anything better, I pray 2013 brings each of us blessings beyond measure because we CHOSE to daringly IMAGINE “Possibility” this time!

“…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10b, NIV.

Welcome to 2013, Uncertainty. We are making it clear right now, TODAY, that we don’t fear you. We won’t get stuck making your mud pies. But if you are willing, we look forward to whipping you up into a delicious Baked Alaska instead!

Here’s to Delicious Possibilities!

Up later this week: Information on our Stringing Pearls Winter/Spring 2013 Bible Study!!!

Peace,
Wendie