Enough

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Do you ever feel like this?

Like life is a cross between “hang on for dear life, dig in and paddle fiercely…all this with eyes squeezed tightly shut.”  Maybe you can relate.

I’m learning to live blueprint-free.

Learning to be fed daily from His hand. To rest and trust.  These are scary, uncharted waters for a Planner.  Oh, I always felt I trusted God to lead my life.  I worked hard to surrender my will and follow Him and His plan.  But, I guess when the paycheck is rolling in and security is sure and there aren’t any real risks in your life, it’s easy to “trust God with everything.”

Oh, well.  I’m no longer there.

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And it is either trust or flail.  Those are the options.

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The one clear message I hear over and over is “rest, be still, be quiet, trust.”

“I’ve got you; I’ve got this; quit trying to do this in your human strength; I will fight for you.”

Over and over for the last four months.  When it’s easy to remember and when it’s not.  He plays the message in different ways and in different methods.  Some days I get it, some days it is harder for me to grasp.

Sometimes, weariness overcomes and wears me down.  Often, the hurt from loss threatens to overwhelm.  There is a very real understanding that we are not enough.

We are not enough.

We are not enough.  

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In our own strength we are never enough.  Only in our weakness is His enough-ness allowed to shine forth. We take our small broken pieces…bundled up or scattered by the winds of life…either way.  The only way you can be enough is when they are surrendered and placed at His feet.

The broken shards.  Some pieces have been so pulverized there isn’t much to show for it.  Just scoop them up.  Scrape them all up and lay them down.

Then.  And only then, are you enough.

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I can’t do enough, be enough, plan enough, or think enough. No amount of strategizing, fixingunderstanding, speaking out, or even forgiving is enough.

It’s all nothing. 

Nothing in the eyes of the Father.  He doesn’t want all of that.  He certainly doesn’t need all of that.  All that doing only serves to enslave us and wear us out.

Trying and trying and trying.  I am finding that is a favorite word for me.  Interestingly enough.  Trying. I tried.  I am trying.  I try.  I say that about accomplishing “important” goals or certain mindsets or mastering certain disciplines.  For the love of goodness!  No wonder I am weary!

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I am busy doing all of these right and holy things in order to live the right way and learn the right things and please all the right requirements and all the right people.

How have I managed to slip into law living?

I have nothing.

In myself.

I’ve given Him me and with that everything He wants I give Him free reign.  And that, my friends, is costly.

He can’t do much with the know-it-alls, self-righteous and the Pharisees.  Those missing the grace component.  These are not pliable or teachable enough.  Those who ignore the plank in their own eyes, nearly tripping over it, yet scream about the log in someone else’s.

He isn’t impressed.

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Until we realize our nothingness without Him, we are a miserable lot.

NOTHING + JESUS = EVERYTHING.

I have recently found myself a part of a community whose mantra is this very thing: NOTHING + JESUS = EVERYTHING.  And you want to know what is cool and beautiful about that?  There is nothing to prove!

They don’t try to impress and they don’t need me to either. They just love.

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It is a grace-filled living.  They are open arms and grace-filled hearts.  For whether we think we have something to bring to the table or not, we don’t.  Not really. If we live in grace, we don’t get to pick and choose who deserves the gift of grace.  We know we all are nothing in ourselves and in desperate need of grace at any given moment.

Resting is not something I do well.

I used to brag.  I would say, “I don’t rest.”  My friends would joke about me sneaking a nap on myself.  I don’t brag anymore.  The mandate is clear.

I’m learning to rest.

It’s amazing what becomes “normal” living.  And, when it is ripped away, you begin to breathe and see the unhealthiness of whatever it was.  I’m getting it.

I just need Him.

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All but the very essentials in my life have been stripped away.  And, I do not exaggerate. The tearing away has been painful and great.

It is not punishment.  

It is a realigning, calibrating, and refining.

The souvenirs from the past journey don’t translate to this new one.  The stripping away is of divine appointment and not of my own hand.

Run and leave; and don’t bring anything with you from one journey to the next.

Don’t long for the past.  Exhale.

It’s feels like looking through a glass to the other side of the window.

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This is divine rest.

It is a separating from the old in order to be ready for the new.

There is preparation in this separation. 

If I don’t rest, I feel a panic bubbling up from the deepest parts of me.  And weariness.  And here we are again.  God knows.  So, for the umpteenth time, until I finally believe it down deep, He calls me to rest.

It is counter-intuitive.  Everything screams to plan and prepare.  To do and do.  But, His strength is made perfect in my weakness.  Yes.  I will sit and rest in His arms.

Give up the nonsense.

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He knows it all.  He sees it all.  And that is becoming enough for me.  I can’t settle the score or balance out the scale or bring to pass that which needs to be.

I leave that to Him.  And that is enough.    

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What’s That Noise?

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There is so much noise.

Everywhere.

Do you ever get tired of it?

Do you ever just wish it would stop?

I do.

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There are opinions from all corners of the globe.  They run 24 hours a day.

Constant, instant, unsolicited and often discouraging.  Anywhere, anytime, about anything.

Oh, there is beneficial and helpful information out there.  But, I dare say, I know I open my heart too often to the negative and non-life giving chants of society.  And it is anything but helpful!

What can we do to protect ourselves from the noise and chaos?

  1.  Set boundaries.
  2. Unplug.
  3. Meditate.
  4. Focus on others.

To be quite honest, I struggle with most of these.  It is almost impossible to shut out this flow of unending information.  But, these are some helpful steps to eliminating the noise pollution in our worlds.

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Setting boundaries.  This simply means guarding your heart and mind. What do you subscribe to?  What groups and people do you follow on social media?  Do they uplift and support your values?  If not, clean out your pages and feeds.  Only allow access into your heart and mind, voices of life and wisdom.  You are going to have to replace the negative with the positive.

Unplug.  I am terrible at this one.  My mother has even pled with me to give it a try.  I unplugged the other day for several hours while on vacation.  I had to be brave and make the jump at my husband’s insistence.  I am way too attached to the constant scrolling and observing and mind numbing. But, I did it and it was wonderful!  And, I learned I could make it just fine.  I will do it again.

Meditate.  We have to make a specific and concentrated effort to stop and listen to Christ.  He has instruction and guidance and wisdom we need each day.  I struggle to stop and quiet my heart.  There are too many times I run through my day hoping to get it right.  I too often fly solo without having taken the time regroup and recharge.  I run on old information.

Focus on others.  When we focus on other people and help them, we don’t have time to feed our souls with junk.  When we serve, we are more like Christ.  When we give to others, we aren’t searching for false validation from voices that haven’t earned the right to speak into our lives.  As we give to others, we will find we need to have something to give away.   We have to take away the negative and replace that emptiness with the positive.

Sometimes the opinions and narratives I tell myself create the chaos and noise. 

When I have consumed a steady diet of lies or negativity, I retell myself this same stuff.  We believe everything we tell ourselves.

A little scary, isn’t it?

I know I am guilty of tearing myself down.  I listen to the stream of negativity as a captive audience.

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Not the right weight.

Not smart enough.

Not strong enough.

Not good enough.

Not doing enough.

Bad mom.

Terrible at homeschooling.

Failure.

Rejected.

Disorganized mess……………………….

And, if I’m not careful, the list runs on and on.  I wouldn’t allow someone else to fill my world, or anyone else’s, with that kind of noise.  Why do I sit by and allow it for my own heart?

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Honestly, it takes hard work to fight and resist. 

It takes following the four steps to bring quiet out of the chaos of our world.  Do the hard work.  We can’t speak life and peace to our own hearts and minds if we are surrounded with negative images and noise.  Otherwise, we won’t make room for the life Christ wants to give.

I need to be mindful of the voices I listen to and allow in my world.

I am so worth it

and so are you!

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Time Out!

A couple of weeks ago I went out of town on a Momma’s Getaway.  Much needed, may I add.  As my friend and I were driving around Richmond…and after many wrong turns…we were finally headed in the right direction!  And we were praising Jesus!

We were in the historic Museum District working our way to the art museum.  I was marveling at how beautiful it must be in the fall.  Historic brownstones lined the wide street with incredible, mature trees lined up, gracing the front yards and the median down the middle of the road.  In a different life, I think I like the idea of living in some place such as this.  I bet full-on spring is amazing.

As we were driving and talking, my friend pointed out the median.  There it was.  It stretched the length of this major street.  Busy traffic was coming and going.  She remarked at how nice it was to have that beautiful greenspace on this busy road.  It sure made all the difference.  I imagine this area of town is premium….it showed.  Hmmmm….how our lives really need a median!

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Make this jump with me.  Our lives need, no, must have, a median.  That calming, relaxing beautiful space and time we carve out for ourselves.  The time we take to renew our minds and bodies.

As we were finding our way down this gorgeous stretch of Richmond, we realized the small lesson we were learning.

Everyone needs a median.

We all need some space and time that separates all the coming and going to recharge and regain sanity.  We need the time to slow down the hurry and frenzy.  We noticed that even in our getaway, we were hurrying to do everything we wanted in the short window.  Go figure!

I can hear those who are closest to me laughing.  They just might be thinking I have officially lost it.  Resting is not my favorite past time.  My husband teases me, asking if I am going to “read”.  That’s the code word for sneaking into a nap.  It’s no secret, my aversion to naps.  He tells me to read when I am frazzled and exhausted.  Sometimes I  comply.  Just sometimes….but not without a fight.

You know the struggle. 

Sure, I could take a nap or sit down and chill.  But, that just means that much and more will be left to get done.  I can’t relax due to the self-nagging guilt for not continuing to get things done.  I always figure I haven’t done enough to justify resting.  I have a tally running in this goofy brain of mine.  If I don’t feel like I have done enough then I don’t get to rest.  I am always running from one thing to the next…..and feel guilty if I don’t.

You understand.  This life.  This one short, beautiful life. 

This life often has us running—fast.  If one event is good then 2 is probably  better.  The pressure!  We want our kids to be prepared for life and follow their passions.  There are the all-too-familiar tasks that just have to be done.  No way around that.  We are called to serve.  Well, that means coming and going.  Maybe WE have passions we want to follow….what if?  If I don’t jump on this opportunity, right now, it will never come my way again.  My new-ish neighbor greeted me yesterday in the grass in-between.  “You’re never home.”  Well….I am….sometimes.  Such a friendly lady with very friendly dogs.  I need to make time to get to know her.  Time.

So. Much. Pressure.

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We are all called. 

To what?  That is the question you must ask.  Periodically take a systems check and make sure the commitments you have made are the best ones for your season of life.  Here are some wise words,

“We can do everything, but we can’t.”

Take a moment and think on that. We have to be wise.

That median.  It really is a must.

You can make it as beautiful as you want.  Take care of it.  Make it what you need it to be.  Medians break up the chaos and crazy-busy.  It gives you a place to take a time out and catch your breath.  Each person’s median is going to feel and look different.  But, whatever you do, fill it with your beauty.  Go ahead. Give yourself permission.

To be truly spectacular in all you are called to do….you have to find the center.

The center of who you are. 

The center of your purpose.

The center of it all….your Giver of life.

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Life won’t unravel.  I promise.  And, you won’t find yourself unraveled either.  Go ahead, try it!  I dare you!

I would love to hear about your median.  What does it look like and how often do you visit it?  Or, maybe, you need to create one for yourself.  Please share in the comments below and be an inspiration to others!