Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Time to trim the tree

You are already thinking I'm referring to Christmas, aren't you.  Alas, you are wrong and no match apparently for my witty title;)

I don't believe I ever got to write about the personal journey that I underwent a couple months ago;)  I'll keep it short.  We are finishing up a great book in my bible study called, "Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Journey to Contentment". In many ways, it's been a great book, but by far the chapter that most impacted me was the one on living a life of purpose.  I spent a great deal of time self examining and praying and came up with my life's purpose statement (based on what I believe God led me to).  Here it is (don't worry, I'll explain the tree thing momentarily):

I want to live my life purposefully.  I want to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind.  I desire him to be glorified in all I say and do (Isaiah 26:8).  

I want to love my husband.  I want to honor and respect him.  I want our marriage to be lifegiving to him.  

I desire to love and prayerfully parent my children, depending on God for wisdom, obediently following his commands and surrendering to his sovereignty in their lives.  We want to raise them to be who HE intends them to be and leave our agendas at his feet.

I want to lead a life characterized by love; I want the way I love others to be so extreme, so countercultural, that one can't help but point to Christ.  I want my kindness to help lead others to repentance and saving faith in Jesus.

I want to help women find security in Jesus, to point them to his indescribable, unending love and help them find freedom to be who he made them to be.

I want to offer hospitality to all who enter my home and hope and pray they find Jesus in our walls.  May his presence in our home be so palpable that they look past material possession to him.

I want to live a life waiting on God, listening to his voice and walking by faith.  May my life be a sweet fragrance to Christ.

Part of the chapter on living a life of purpose described one of the author's friends techniques for making sure she keeps focused on her purpose statement (which because it's arrived at through prayer, is also keeping focused on what God has called her to).  She pictured her life like a tree.  Christ was the trunk and the "essentials" were the limbs (ie. her husband, children, friends).  Off each trunk were branches (activities, ministry opportunities, etc.).  Twice a year, she would draw her tree and if the branches were covering the limbs and trunk she knew it was time to cut back.

Marc and I have been too busy since June.  It's been a lot of good things and many of the busyness has been unplanned.  Friends needed help, ministry obligations bigger than originally planned, etc, LOTS of house guests.  The end result, however, is exhaustion.  The problem, really, is our plate was too full for the unexpected.  Now that we have fulfilled obligations, we get a moment to breathe.  One of my activities is looking at and trimming my tree.  The realization is the utter need to build more margin into our lives.  There will always be seasons that are busy.  Sacrifice is necessary and biblical, so I do believe there will still be times that feel overwhelming or still times a friend needs help that aren't convenient or easy, but still the right thing to do will be to help.  I just know the seasons need to be shorter than what we've lived through.  So right now I am praying a lot- what do I need to cut back on?  Am I missing opportunities you would have me take because I am too busy?  When is it OK to say "no" and when do I still need to say, "yes"?

So yes...before Advent hits and we decorate our tree, I am doing a little internal house cleaning and trusting the Lord to show me just where he would have me be, what he would have me do, where he wants me to go...THANK GOODNESS he goes before me and speaks to me heart!


  1. I love this! We have been going through a similar series at church and small group. Love hearing your thoughts and seeing your purpose stmt. I, too, have been arranging and rearranging priorities...and my blog (for me) is not one of them (or FB...be still my heart). I'm recording family memories a different way. All this to say....I sure hope you decided that your blog is here to stay b/c I love catching up with you here & your words and thoughts are a blessing to many, I'm sure.