While You Wait…

Boat Dock

I was putting the finishing touches on an article about waiting on the Lord when my own words came back to haunt me. I was discussing Psalms 27:13-14, and one of my points was that God often has us wait for an answer to prayer because we need to prepare to receive it. I once read a saying that if you want your ship to come in, then you better build a dock. If you pray for God to do big things, then you should prepare so that you are ready when He does it.

Look at King David, for example. In Psalms 27 he is probably still running from Saul, hiding in caves and rocks. He was chosen at the age of 16 to replace Saul as king, but he didn’t take the throne until he was 30. However, I doubt the 16-year-old David was truly ready to lead Israel as their king. Being out in the wilderness, leading a group of men, gave him practice in leadership, taught him to rely on God’s leadership in his own life, and taught him humility. He became one of the greatest kings in history and a man after God’s own heart, partially due to what he learned in the wilderness.

Another example is Joseph (Genesis 37-41). At 17 years of age, he had a vision that one day his brothers and even his father would bow down to him. Before he saw the vision come to pass, he was sold into slavery by his brothers, thrown into prison by Potiphar, and forgotten by fellow servant for 2 years before Pharaoh promoted him as his second in command. In those chapters, we see that Joseph was busy doing his best at each job he was given. He learned how to run a household under Potiphar and was even given command inside of prison. When he finally came before Pharaoh, he had the skills he would need to lead the people through the coming famine and save his own people in the process.

As I pondered these stories, I wondered what I should be doing while I waited. I looked around and realized there were several projects of varying kinds that needed my attention. Some of the preparation involved studying and writing, which I was already doing, but God pointed out some spiritual muscles as well as physical muscles that needed stretching. Even on a practical level, I saw some projects that needed finishing, tasks I had procrastinated doing, and general cleaning out and de-cluttering.

That all sounds overwhelming, but in the same week that I was contemplating what needed doing, I ran across several different posts that spoke to that very subject:

Rick Barry – Encouragement (click link for full post)

Image may contain: text that says 'No matter how slow you progress, you're still way ahead of everyone who isn't trying.'

Denise George posted this tidbit of wisdom:

But I’ve discovered that writing steadily, bit by bit every day, also produces an abundance of good material. It’s “tortoise writing”—one tiny focused step at a time in the right direction, instead of “hurry-up-hare writing” in all directions. To win the race, the secret is to write steadily, consistently, and orderly, bit by bit by little bit. It also helps to immerse yourself in prayer as you write. One of my favorite people, Desmond Tutu, recommends: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

Image may contain: text that says '"know your limits and do a little each and EVERY DAY. before you know it YOUR HOME WILL BE DE-CLUTTERED and you will have your life BACK. ~FLYLADY UNUN flyladynet'

The FlyLady (Check out her page if you need help with clutter.)

So, while I wait, I still have things to do besides whine. I have a dock to build.

 

De-cluttering

My devotional this morning was from Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray. At the end of each devotional, she gives ideas on how to practice soul care and includes scientific studies that back up her suggestions. Today the suggestion was on decluttering and how clutter causes increases in cortisol, a stress hormone, while decreases in clutter reduced the levels of cortisol. She suggesting purging what does not spark joy.

Marie Kondo offers the same advice in her Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Her show tries to help people get rid of clutter and organize their home. Some critics claim that asking the question does it spark joy is only enabling hoarders to hold on to their piles of stuff. However, her show has helped people significantly reduce clutter and create a more restful and organized living space. Her concept is good even if people twist it to fit their own agendas.

In Exodus 16, God provided the Israelites with manna every day. There was always just enough, never too much or too little. No matter how much they gathered, there was always just enough for the day ahead. This is still true today. God promises to give us what we need for this day, no more, no less. Most people hoard out of fear or greed, neither reason is healthy. Yes, we should be responsible and work, but worrying and piling up possessions out of fear only leaves us tired and unsatisfied. We need to trust the daily manna from God, be obedient today, and trust God to work out the details. Don’t be enslaved by things.

So, take a moment today and do some de-cluttering. I think we need it at a physical, mental and spiritual level. When you take a moment to de-clutter one small corner of your home, you free yourself on all levels because you have one less thing to think about, you have more space to breathe, and it helps you to relax so that you can focus your mind and spirit because what good is having “stuff” if you never use it? If you know someone who needs something you aren’t using, give it to them. It will free you, give you a sense of satisfaction that you were able to help someone, and it will bless the person you give it to.

Now pardon me, if you will, I have to go follow my own advice…there is a small closet crammed with clothes that I can’t wear that need to bless someone else and free up some breathing space for me. #thebonniegray #whispersofrest