Modern Day Slavery

img_2612Luke 16:11 Common English Bible (CEB)

11 If you haven’t been faithful with worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?

Uh oh! My period is late and it has been right as rain since I was 12 years old. It’s not like we don’t know what we have been up to. Time to get a pregnancy test… and it’s positive. Not that it’s needed, but as medical school students, we know how this happened. What I didn’t know was he already had a ring.

He purchased it for the girlfriend before me.

Yep! That’s right, Beloved. The ring I still adorn today, was initially for someone else. Like the relationship, it didn’t fit her. But like him, was a fit match for me.  

He has purchased me other diamond adornments since then without my prompting. However once received, I became awe struck. I never thought of myself as a diamond person but tastes can be acquired.

Off and on over the years, I have checked out replacement rings. I have dropped not so subtle hints about replacing the center stone with a bigger one. One purchased for me. One that shows our new status. One that would be a “true” talisman for my marriage. One that would stroke my pride.

It wouldn’t be cheap, but if we really planned and budgeted, we could swing it.



In our drive for more, we happen upon a divine detour down Simplify Lane. And on that road, is a stop called Own Less Junction. It’s there we learn what true riches are. It’s there we learn everything we have is given (1 Chronicles 29:14). We are stewards such as in the story of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). When we focus on what we have in our hand, we tend to rationalize and limit.  When we focus on His endless supply, we freely give of ourselves. It’s like a child who is OK with spending their parent’s money freely but is afraid to spend their own. 

Because the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness therein (Psalm 24:1), we don’t have to live a duplicitous life, preoccupied with getting (Luke 12:15). We can focus on freely giving; a cornerstone of simplicity (1 Timothy 6:17-19). We’re no longer fearful of being givers. The short-lived satiety from stuff loses its savor. Our palate no longer enjoys the feigned sweetness of acquiring things. Liberty can be found at Own Less Junction.

What can you do without to help simplify life?

Be well, Beloved.

 

Day 3 – Identifying complexities

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Matthew 6:16 New Living Translation (NLT)

16 “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.

Where does my value lie? What gives me worth? For so long, I found my value aligned with my accomplishments. Initially, it was being deemed an academically gifted student and making good grades. The type of company I kept also took part. I wouldn’t dare be friends with those not in my social standing- taking honors classes, same or higher tax bracket, married parents, name brand clothing, etc. I can remember my friends and I covering our notebooks with clothing tags. As if to say, “We’re better and you’re not us. Don’t you wish you were?” We were such snobs!

And while I grew out of that over the years, feeling worthy via accomplishments has remained a constant companion.

Have you ever noticed how your day, time with others, sleep, laughter, forgiveness, are enjoyable when you decide not to worry about the outcome and rest in the moment? Maybe the better question to ask is, “Have you ever had a moment where you decided not to worry about the outcome and rest in the moment?” Some may wonder “how can I with so much to do?” Well, if it helps, I’m doing it right now as I write this piece. I felt led to write even though I have a million other things on my to do list. When anxious feelings and thoughts begin to build, I’m practicing to cast my cares.

Here’s an example:  What am I going to fix for dinner? That pile of clothes isn’t going to fold itself. How is it my family can walk right past the basket repeatedly and ignore it? I know my days are the most flexible but I’m trying to build a business, a blog, write a book, stay current with my medical knowledge, make sure the family calendar is current, remember what they won’t and remind them, and put out daily fires. Oh, how I miss full time patient care. I enjoyed the patient doctor interaction where we both come with needs. Mine- the need to feel helpful, to be heard, to accomplish. Their’s- the need to be helped, heard and accomplish.

God, please help, hear, accomplish! I need you to take this! Guide me to where you want me to be. Give me the strength and grace to endure. Show me the truth. Do what I cannot. Be with me. Hold me. Love me. Inundate me with your peace and joy.

Then He says, “I Am whatever you need.”

 

In order to live simply, we must define the process. The process is internal. The process is personal. The process needs no outside validation. 

John 15:5 New Living Translation (NLT)

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

 

The end result shows outwardly but isn’t showy. 

Matthew 6:4 New King James Version (NKJV)

that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

As stated yesterday, simplicity is intricately woven with liberation. Duplicity does just the opposite. It leads us to use wisdom one minute and fear of what others think the next. Our lives then become unnecessarily complicated with fear and anxiety as parasitic ride alongs.

James 1:5-8New Living Translation (NLT)

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Our desire is to harness the singular focus of having Christ seen and not ourselves.

James 1:16-18 The Message (MSG)

16-18 So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.

Liberation lies in knowing the end result is not up to us. And for that, I am grateful!

Be well, Beloved!