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There are no Organizing Absolutes

…a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away.

-Ecclesiastes 3:6

 

Recently I gave my Organizing Belongings talk (called “You and Your Stuff”) to a lovely church group. During the Q&A I heard many of the usual questions, gave my thoughts, and opened up the floor to hear the thoughts of the other participants.

A lovely young women described how she was keeping boxes and boxes of her deceased mother’s things, and others in the crowd encouraged her to keep some of the most sentimental things and let the rest go. She could still love and honor her mom without keeping all of the stuff.

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All around the town…

Hello, Friends!

I have a huge praise to share with you—after almost five years of going it alone on the ministry front, God brought me an amazing new friend named Amy who’s almost as invested in this ministry as I am!  (In fact, for all I know, it’s a tie.)  I’ve enjoyed getting to know her at church, but it wasn’t until I received a nudge from a mutual friend that I reached out to see if she’d be willing to help me get the word out about Building Your House.  She has been nothing short of a tremendous blessing to me since that moment.

You can read Amy’s side of this story on her wonderful blog.  It’s really amazing what God has done for both of us.  Plus, she wrote that I’m quiet and meek and that I seep, all things that crack me up.  Now don’t you want to read it?  (While you’re there, take a look around—I love all of her stories and I bet you will, too!)

Amy’s hard work has brought me several opportunities to share on the blogs of fellow sisters in Christ.  

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Get Ready to Beat Your Drum

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,

On my drum?

 

We all have favorite Christmas songs we love to hear all season… and on the flip side, we all reach out to change the radio station when we hear our least favorite carols (perhaps for the fifth or sixth time).

The Little Drummer Boy hasn’t been one of my favorites. Maybe that’s because it’s not strictly Biblical, or because it’s the story of a child I could no longer identify with… until recently.

During this Christmas season, The Little Drummer Boy has elicited a strangely emotional response in me—even bringing me to tears.

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Listening for the Voice in Your Head

Read it! John 12

The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

(vs29)

Think it through

In church, we’re often reminded about the words God spoke at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew and Mark both share their accounts of that holy moment with us.

But I’ve rarely, if ever, heard sermons on John’s account of another moment when God spoke aloud to the people in Jesus’ presence. How I would love to have been there, to have heard Jesus call out, “Father, glorify your name!” and to have heard the voice from heaven say, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Amen, Amen! my heart cries. Glorify your name!

But would I have heard the voice of an angel, or just thunder?

Would we have had the right perspective?

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Throwing Off Our Chains

Read it! John 8

“…and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

(vs32&33)

Think it through

Viewing ourselves through the lens of truth is difficult.

Jesus told the Jews that his teachings, the truth, would set them free, but they just looked at one another and shrugged. They were living in a land where they were officially free—free to live and love and work and marry and worship their God. (Sound familiar?)

But Jesus explained that everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Not free, but bound by the habit of repeating our mistakes and the consequences of each choice. And we often miss this crucial perspective altogether.

Here’s some truth I frequently fail to see:

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What Basketball, Books, and Jesus Have in Common

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

 

I had an interesting dream last week. My little Oliver, who is 5 years old, was at the park down the street. Someone had taped a white “x” on the blacktop underneath the basketball hoop. Oliver was standing on it, holding a basketball, looking up, ready to shoot.

Then suddenly I was looking at a different boy under a different hoop. Think Opie from Mayberry—it was clearly the 1950’s. Someone had marked an “x” in the dirt underneath the hoop (no, I’m not saying they didn’t have blacktop in the 1950’s—this was a dream, people). The boy was standing on it, holding a basketball, looking up, ready to shoot.

And I thought, Basketball hasn’t changed. He’ll either make it, or he won’t.

And I was so deeply comforted.

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Now or Later? When to Reach For Your Goals

Time management is by far my favorite kind of organization.  Nothing clears the clutter out of your spirit like the knowledge that you’re using your time wisely—doing what you want to do and living how you want to live!  If I could spend time with each of you individually, the first thing I’d do is challenge you to write your life goals and assess your priorities.  How do you want to spend your time?

It’s a wonderful exercise, but when we really sit down and think about everything we want to do—personal goals, relationship goals, family goals, activities, ministries, passions, and callings—we’re easily overwhelmed.  We start to hear voices in our heads, pieces of advice from loved ones combined with pop-culture snippets:

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Welcome to Alabama

My sister, her husband, and their three daughters had an eventful trip home from vacation last week. The baby had a fever, their GPS took them down a rabbit trail, they had to make many, many stops… and then they hit Alabama.

Alabama is a tall state. When you’re driving north from Florida to Ohio, Alabama seems to go on forever.

When they finally hit the Tennessee border, the five of them celebrated with honking and shouting. Hooray for the short state of Tennessee! My brother-in-law even shouted, “Tennessee Milkshakes for everyone!” (Yes, he knows Tennessee Milkshakes aren’t a thing—that just goes to show how excited they were.)

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Are You Grown Up?

Read it! I Thessalonians 5

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you though and though.

May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless

at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(vs 23)

Think it through

I don’t want my kids to think I have it all figured out. I don’t.

I try my best to apologize when I’m wrong. I admit it when I don’t know all the answers. I fess up when I’m in a cranky mood and trying to turn it around.

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When Our Efforts to Serve God Don’t Pan Out

Read it!: II Samuel 7

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and he said:

Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family,

that you have brought me this far?

(vs 18)

Think it through:

David had a great idea. He wanted to build a beautiful, permanent temple for the Ark of the Covenant, which had been housed in a series of temporary dwellings. This idea seemed so right, so true, that he couldn’t wait to get started! But then Nathan, a prophet of God, told David that God said the job needed to wait. Building the temple wasn’t work for David, but for one of his sons.

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