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!

Day 2 – K.I.S.S.

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Isaiah 26:3 New Living Translation (NLT)

You will keep in perfect peace
    all who trust in you,
    all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Keep It Simple Sweetheart!

During my prayer time, I like to talk to God about our triumphs together. I remember when I was in medical school, married and the mother of an infant. At night, my husband and I took turns studying and babysitting. My dad would would come and stay with us the week before and the week of tests. My father-in-law supplied us with a place to stay and a washer and dryer. That’s not even the summation of all the support we received. Help came to us from family, friends, classmates, church members, and the medical school staff. I am so thankful! God supplied through willing vessels. It gives me joy to remember. I guess that is what rejoicing is all about.

As you can imagine, even with all that support, it was a difficult time. It got even more difficult when we had our second child and we were interns in residency. But despite that, most days I felt peace.

Peace because of freedom.

Freedom to trust.

Freedom to not worry about the outcome.

I knew that we were following God’s direction. That’s the simplified life. The days where peace evaded me occurred when I forgot.

I forgot to keep focus. I forgot He has the last word in EVERYTHING. I forgot:

Psalm 116:6 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)

The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He helped me.

As I mentioned in the “21 Day No Complaint Challenge”, I feel the need to live a more simple life. The more simplicity takes hold the more freedom I experience. There have been too many times where I felt shackled to expectations – both mine and others. 

These expectations have proven-time and time again-to be the antithesis of simplicity and therefore freedom. There is no rejoicing in that.

Philippians 4:4 King James Version (KJV)

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Be well, Beloved!

Day 10 – Simplify

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Ecclesiastes 7:29 

God made man simple: man’s complex problems are of his own devising.

Hello Beloved,

Every December at Elevation Church, we pick a word for the new year that represents our focus and petition to God. For 2017, my family’s word is Simplify.  Remember on Day 7 when I wrote about “an aspect of my life I’ve been working to improve for 4 years?” That aspect is to simplify which surprisingly has been difficult to do. I’ve often blamed being a wife, mother, doctor, volunteer, etc for my complicated life. However, where I’ve fallen short is in trying too hard. I put “fail safes” in place to make my life more simple. No one loves to plan more than I do! Now, I’m not saying I’ll stop planning but let my life be driven by simplicity and not by G.R.I.P.E.S.: 

Gender

Race

Industry

Profession

Expectations of others

Status/affluence/elitism

How did we get here? 

This entire exercise has been about complaint attenuation. So much of what I complain about are things I should have never entertained. Why do I have a ridiculous amount of emails? Why is my To Do list a mile long? Why would I let a newly erupted “emergency” keep me from missing hot yoga again? There are more questions like these I need to address and put to bed. 

How do we simplify?

The scripture Ecclesiastes 7:29, tells us how to live simply. By simply living as He made us to live. We add to it only to go from simplicity to duplicity by functioning under a facade of control. Ironically, it weighs us down and wears us out. This is insanity (nod to Susan Powter)! He is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. I can tap into His presence at anytime! So why not do it all the time? Why choose man’s complex over God’s simple? He sent his son so that the gap between God and man would no longer be. He sent his son so I could be free to run to him for any and everything. He sent his son to carry the weight. 

Matthew 11:28-30 New King James Version (NKJV)

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Be well, Beloved!