All posts by Shannon Upton

Why Not to Trust My Planner Pages

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Psalm 20:7

 

OK, the New Year is right around the corner and I’m super, duper excited to be able to offer you the official Organizing You Planner Pages—for free! (You can learn all about how awesome they are right here.) Basically, with the help of my wonderful publisher, I was able to create a unique planner system for those of us who are asking God to make the true plans.

Which is exactly why you can’t fully put your trust in them.

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The Art of Being Real

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Matthew 6:1

 

I love organizing, and I love Jesus even more. But I hope that you don’t read any of my stuff and think, Well, Little Miss Organized certainly has it all together.

I really don’t have it all together. In all of my writing and speaking, I try to be super transparent, letting you know that I struggle with intentionally living for Christ just as much as the next person, if not more. I need His grace.

But it sure can be tempting to try to impress… 

Here are a few true confessions:

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How to Encourage Loving Tones in Your Home

 

“You’re being a clanging cymbal.”

This is our new family phrase.

As part of the research for my free Guide to a Vibrant Family Faith, I challenged our family to try verse mapping together. When you “map” a verse, you define words simply, circle words and phrases that stand out to you, and personalize the verse by crossing out any pronouns and adding your name.

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How to Claim Truth from Sarcasm

The inscription of the charge written against Him was: The King of the Jews.

Mark 15:26

 

Today I was turning to a passage in my new Bible when something caught my eye. In Mark 15, the words “The King of the Jews” are pulled out, put in all caps, and bolded, like this:

 

THE KING OF THE JEWS.

 

I was right in the middle of another train of thought, but these words leapt out at me and stopped me with these thoughts:

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Living in the Pocket

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others,

as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

I Peter 4:10

 

I went to a Dave Matthews Band concert this summer, and I had many thoughts while I was there. Since the band tends to go on long instrumental riffs, there was a lot of time to think…

I thought about how I’m getting older. When I went to my first Dave concert in college, “Ants Marching” was big. This time, there was a teenage girl sitting next to me who said, “Well, I’ve never heard of Dave Matthews Band, but my dad says I’ll like it.” Wow.

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Leaning on Spiderwebs

What they trust in is fragile; what they rely on is a spider’s web.

They lean on the web, but it gives way; they cling to it, but it does not hold.

Job 8:14-15

 

After reading Job 8, I decided to do an object lesson with my kids. (Fellow moms, grandmas, Sunday School teachers, try this one out this Halloween! You can make every holiday—even  Halloween—about Jesus!)

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Don’t Underestimate Your Phone Alarm

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill.

Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming.

It is close at hand…

Joel 2:1

This summer, my teen son wanted to pursue a goal. He made a great plan and decided to work on it for 15 minutes each day.

I wanted to encourage him, so I offered to help him set up some reminders. “Do you want me to print out a calendar so you can mark off each day?” I asked hopefully. “Or would you like me to buy you a little planner so you can keep track of what you’ve done? Do you want to start the process today?”

“Mom, it’s done,” he said.

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I Will Sing.

 

Read it! Psalm 108

My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.

(vs. 1)

Think it through

This is the last installment of the “I Will” Bible study series in Psalms, and I cannot leave you without talking about the most often repeated “I will”:

I will sing.

If you add in “I will praise” and “I will sing praise,” the promise to sing makes up a really large percentage of the Psalm “I wills”!

Perhaps this isn’t surprising (we are studying Psalms after all, which were written to be sung)—but it’s still significant. And it’s very literal.

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I Will Not Fear.

 

Read it! Psalm 3

I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.

(vs. 6)

Think it through

So you know I’ve struggled with anxiety, right? The regular kind, and the clinical kind?

That was meant as a joke. If you’ve read any of my stuff, then you’ve figured that one out. And during the course of each of my talks, I share that I’ve suffered with clinical anxiety and that it was the catalyst for this ministry and the whole idea of spiritual clutter. I generally only talk about it for five minutes or so—and I do it in a way that ties in directly with the specific talk topic, so it’s a little different each time—but I always share.

Recently, a MOPS group coordinator who was in the process of booking me as a speaker for the fourth year in a row (bless her heart!), asked me,

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