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.

 

Place in line

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I’ve been standing here forever! So many people showed up! I don’t care. There’s this guy I want to see. They call him Jesus and say He can perform miracles. They say He speaks like no other Jew. They say He’s the Son of God. Well, I’m not sure if all that’s true but I want to find out if it is. I mean I’m blessed. I have many cattle, sons, daughters, and land. I keep the law and remember the Sabbath. I’m in good standing with God. But they say this guy is here to fulfill the law just like the prophet Isaiah said. If he does, I won’t have to mete out every grain and spice. My life would be much simpler. I wouldn’t have to worry if he’ll strike me down for messing up.

No more comparing my efforts and offerings to others.

No more worrying about fairness.

I can have peace in my dealings. Peace in my days and nights. I lose so much sleep worrying. Boy, do I worry! I worry about those sons and daughters. I worry about if I really am keeping the law.

Wait a minute! Is that a woman walking about? Oh no! Is that a Gentile trying to get in? Neither have a place here. Neither have a place in this line. And look at that guy being carried by his friends. There’s no way they can get him in here. What were they thinking?! He’s obviously not been following the law or he wouldn’t be in that sad state. His parents probably don’t keep the law either. None of them deserve to get in here.

Oh, good the line is moving. I was starting to worry I wouldn’t get in and have a seat. I’ve been waiting and for that I should get a seat right in front. Maybe God’s blessing me for keeping His laws.

Time elapses and Jesus begins to teach. The narrator has a seat up front and is thoroughly enjoying himself.

Crack! CRACK! CRAAACK! What is going on up there on the roof? Is that the guy being carried? Those fools are lowering him from the roof!

Mark 2:11-12 King James Version (KJV)

[Jesus says to him] 11 Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

Jesus looks at him with compassion and heals him.  

12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before us all; insomuch that we are all amazed, and glorified God, saying, we’ve never seen love like this before.

I’m glad I can see it up close but just being here is enough. That man is being blessed for his faith and his friends’ faith. He has good friends.

Friends who don’t care about a place in line.

They gave of themselves so their friend could have a place in eternity. I want to give up my place in line obtained by lawful deeds. I want to simplify.

I want to receive His love and I want to give it away.

Be well, Beloved!

 

Day 8 – Why Do I Keep Touching the Stove?

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As a child, like most others, I was taught to dangers of touching hot things.

Mom: Mayisha, don’t touch that eye. It’ll burn you!

Me: Ok.

When the food was cooking, I had little to no interest in approaching. I mean the eye was glowing red hot and looked to almost want to come and get me. But when turned off and the pot removed along with my mother’s presence and attention, it seemed to beckon. “Touch me, touch me. I’m not hot anymore. Don’t you want to see for yourself? I promise I won’t hurt you now. Look! I’m loosing my glow.”

So what do I do?

I touch it.

And what happens?

It burns me.

It hurts me.

It teaches me.

And what happens next?

My mother tends to me.

She covers to heal.

She reminds me of her words.

 

My curiosity was and still is a gift. The way I viewed the situation was problematic. I did not recognize the danger.  I did not trust the instruction. I did not accept love’s “constraints”.  

For too long, I believed only bold, red, hot “supersins” were dangerous and that the enemy is dressed as someone in a red suit with two horns and a tail. In reality, he is far more subtle and successful in promoting a salubrious nature. He is likened to a charismatic leader clothed in divisive rhetoric, false humility, comparisons, and judgeful mentality. He is the accuser of the brethren, tricking us to see ourselves as deficient. When that occurs, we look to false gods for answers. Addictions develop while our faith wanes.

This is how we complicate our lives. This is how we lose focus. God wants to change how we view things.

Romans 12:2 New Living Translation (NLT)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

 

He does not want to change us or others.

Psalm 139:14 King James Version (KJV)

14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

 

He has inundated us with His grace. All deficiencies were nullified on the cross.

Ephesians 2:8-9 New Living Translation (NLT)

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

 

All these exchanges teach me to have faith in God.  Faith in who He made me to be. Faith in His instruction. Faith in His love.

Living simply means learning my standards are not His. I learn my standards are arbitrary and His are obtainable only through His son. I learn that following my standards leads to defeat and to follow His son leads to victory in this life and the next. I learn that throughout life I will continue to “touch stoves” and that His grace and word will always cover, tend, and heal.

Be well, Beloved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 7 – A Damning Delusion I Control Things (ADDICT)

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Matthew 26:41 King James Version (KJV)

41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

No doubt you have heard of or know of someone effected by the opioid crisis. As a PM&R physician, this is close to my heart as we are specially trained in treating chronic pain. As a consultant for a worker’s compensation company, I’ve been on the two sides of this issue. (Thankfully, I haven’t been on the patient side). In this role, my duties are to review charts, deem whether I think the dosage meets or exceeds the patient’s needs, and discuss my findings with the team and the prescribing provider. I also treat addicts. As you can imagine, it’s all been quite a learning experience.

What have I learned?

We have all succumb to addictions.

Our addictions are vast: money, screens (TV, phone, computer), substances, complaining, shopping, food, exercising, likeability, rationalizing, etc. Be they strange or otherwise, are the offspring of entitlement, comfort, self-righteousness, anxiety, fear and pride.  

In scripture, addiction has different names.  Paul called it the old man or old self. We are instructed to put off the old self. Thankfully, scripture gives us guidance on how, the reward is great and we’re not alone.  

Romans 8:12-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

So, let’s hand over the reigns to the One who saves us. Only then can we be free from our addictions.

Be Well, Beloved.

Day 1 – Simplify

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Proverbs 27:1 New International Version (NIV)

27 Do not boast about tomorrow,
    for you do not know what a day may bring. 

 

Hello Beloved!

Let’s continue our journey. My plan was to wait until New Year’s but as the license plate exclaims “Why Wait” for tomorrow is not promised. Plus, let’s not lose momentum from the “No Complaint Challenge.”

In preparation for writing about “Adventures in Simplification,” (sounds like a math book) it was going to be another 21-day journey. 

 Not this time. 

 This time we’re going to be more dynamic and organic. We’re going to experience and enjoy life by not focusing on details but on living freely and simply. I will not place expectations on you, nor you me.

If it ends up being 21 days, so be it.

Don’t misunderstand, discipline is always needed. Life is filled with entropy and work is needed to keep life simple. Over the next few days, let’s explore what that work entails.

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!