Category Archives: Abundant Living

What to Wear on Your First Day of School

It’s time for a little campfire confession. 


After 6 years out of the classroom, I enrolled in an exercise class at our local community college this semester. Last Monday, I got to experience all the excitement of a “first day of school” again. 

This shouldn’t mean much to a 28 year old momma of toddlers. However, after hanging out all summer with some adventurous middle- and high-school aged girls, I have caught on to the first-day-of-school energy. 

I got up, got dressed, prepped the twins to spend lunch time with their daddy (so much fun), and even got to class EARLY (big difference between 18 year old me and 28 year old me). I was ready to embrace all that God had for my first day of school. 

Unfortunately, all that positive energy shriveled away when I walked into the classroom. Replacing it was a familiar combination of feeling intimidated, self-conscious, and oddly uncomfortable in my own skin.

As many of us would, I found a coping mechanism to deal with my anxiety: comparison. 

I scanned the room for someone who appeared less fit, less stylish, less something than I was hoping to appear. My superficial perspective gave me artificial confidence about my own impressiveness. 

I did not ask this girl about her day. I did not compliment her cute hair or comment on her tenacity in the class. To be honest, her courage to take the course inspired me, but I kept that to myself.  

I missed a beautiful opportunity to get to know a lovely image bearer of the most high God because I was too concerned with my own status. 

The irony is, I had consciously chosen to “dress down” to appear less-than-concerned with my appearance that morning (insert dramatic eye roll here). 

I spent more time in that class in comparison trap than in SYMOTA (set your mind on things above). My concern for self-preservation was out-shining my usual tendency to share God’s love. The biggest stranger I encountered in that room was myself. 

Had I set my mind on the way God sees me, and my classmates for that matter, I would have recalled this verse that I had once memorized:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 

Friend, I suspect you have had a similar experience. Whether you are a freshman in high school or a fresh new mommy at a park play-date, you have probably faced a similar temptation on your first day. We want to appear confident, cool, collected, but we leverage other people’s flaws to do so. 

Ironically, at the foundation of compassion for others is a settled and confident spirit. I don’t think one can show compassion without confidence. Rather than putting others down to appear that we have it all together, what if we dealt with our insecurities through Jesus Christ’s faithful love for us? This kind of love fills every void and bubbles over into compassion for others. 

What could happen if we found room for kindness in our daily display choices?

What if we primped our hearts with a readiness to be humble and selfless instead of self-conscious?

What if we concerned ourselves with the impact we could make on others instead of whether or not they make us feel good about ourselves? 

What if we dressed to bless, instead of dressing to impress?

Whether you face your first day of class, work, cross fit, or the senior center, I challenge you to learn from my embarrassing first day blunders. Let’s make room for some Christlike compassion in our concern for great first impressions. 

P.S. I am profoundly grateful for 20+ weeks of class to see how Gods grace provides a do-over for compassion. 

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

3 Tips For Planning a Christ-Centered Bachelorette Party

bachelorette party

I am getting a new sister-in-law in less than 10 days! I am thrilled to celebrate the wedding of Shane’s brother Brandon to his high-school sweetheart Taylor. But I have a strange confession: I might be even more pumped for her bachelorette party!

A bride may have many types of pre-wedding parties to celebrate the coming marriage. However, a bachelorette party is rather unique:

The way I see it, a bridal shower sets a bride up for success in the kitchen; a bachelorette party sets a bride up for success in the bedroom (or kitchen, depending how adventurous she wants to be).

Warning: adult content ahead (it totally glorifies Jesus, but it’s not for little readers).

The bachelorette party is my favorite party, in part because we get to celebrate God’s awesome gift to a married woman: sex. It can be a commemoration of purity (or renewed purity) and a launching point for a holy anticipation of pleasure. That’s right, I said a holy anticipation of romantic and sexual pleasure. I believe it is holy, or set apart, because sex within marriage is God’s idea, His gift. When celebrated and promoted in the beautiful boundary of marriage, it is holy and honorable and right, and oh so good. It is worship.

A vulnerability with one another on the wedding night represents the intimacy that Jesus Christ longs to bring His own bride into. Naked intimacy requires trust, as does our relationship with Christ. (Read Ephesians 5 for more on this comparison).

With that in mind, here are 3 tips to planning a bachelorette party for your friend or sister that will make God and the bride smile from ear to ear.

Tip 1: Check in your Bashful Badge:

An appropriate amount of modesty should be applied to the topic of sex in many situations… except the bachelorette party! Now is the time to talk about God’s plan for marriage and sexuality as good, exciting, and worth celebrating!

I believe it is, in fact, a Biblical idea. The first few verses in Song of Solomon 1 is a conversation between Solomon’s bride and her friends. They celebrate the woman’s love for Solomon:

“We rejoice and delight in you;
    we will praise your love more than wine.” SoS 1:4

In my opinion, they were throwing bachelorette parties long before the 80’s made them popular (and raunchy, and embarrassing, and uncomfortable [Check out this article for more on the history of Bachelor parties]).

So bake that anatomy-shaped cake if you want. Play silly games and blush and giggle. Ask attendees to bring the bride-to-be some fancy lingerie. Just keep in mind tip #2:

Tip 2: Consult the Bride, not Pop Culture.

I highly advise anyone planning a bachelorette party to figure out what the bride finds to be fun. Pop culture has an idea about bachelorette parties that does not glorify Jesus, much less the coming marriage.

Remember, the friends of Solomon’s bride said we will praise your love MORE than wine. Be careful to keep the bride in focus. Before you roll out the shot glasses and male strippers because “it’s how it’s always been done,” take a party-planning-second to use your own creativity and imagination. Ask:

  • What are some Life-Givers for our friend (the bride)?
  • How can we highlight this night as a celebration of womanhood, fierce feminity, and all things _________________[name of bride]?
  • How can we help the bride feel more excited, comfortable, and supported to start (or re-begin) her God-given sexual journey in marriage?

My friends asked those questions and planned the most spectacular event for my bachelorette party. We called it the Mighty Mountain Women Weekend. It featured cabin-camping, hiking, hot-tubbing, movies, lingerie-gifting and of course S’MORES. There was also a late night activity to help me make something special for my husband-to-be. I felt supported and I had a blast! (Thanks Andy)

Tip 3: Feature a Short Bible Study.

Bibles and bachelorette parties may not seem a likely pair, but I guarantee God has awesome things in mind for the bride’s sexuality and the celebration thereof. Why not invite God’s perspective into the party? Ask an older sister, friend, or mentor-of-honor to give a short but sweet commemoration of God’s good gift.

Look to Song of Solomon, Ephesians 5, even Genesis 1 for ideas on how God sees marriage and sexuality. Take time to pray over the bride-to-be regarding this specific area of her marriage.

smores

I plan to thoroughly enjoy my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bachelorette party. In addition to a thrilling lake day and delectable treats from her chef-cousin, I think the bride is such a worthy reason to celebrate lavishly under the broad smile of our Savior.

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

Experiencing the Power of God (A Call to Break the Binge-Watch)

 

binge free challengePower.

I figured out my word for 2016. I thought it was going to be flourish. But as I look back over the last few weeks, I see the word POWER all over the place: my journal, my Spotify playlist, my work-out diary.

This year, I want to tangibly experience Gods power in my life. And I want to see His power impacting the lives around me too:

  • Power over temptations we habitually give in to.
  • Power that ignites faith and rebels against fear.
  • Power to live life to the fullest, instead of just getting by.
  • Power to be bold, speak truth, celebrate hope, and see lives changed because of it.
  • Power over insecurity.
  • Over anxiety.
  • Over depression.
  • And other far-too-common issues that riddle our broken society.
  • Power over self-absorbed tendencies that undermine God’s kingdom-minded priorities.

 

I am convinced that one of the greatest extinguishers of the power of God is binge-watching Netflix.

Or Hulu.

Or Video-games.

Or Facebook, Instagram, IMDB, etc. We know what we binge on. Maybe it’s food, or exercise. Perhaps its sleep.

One way or another, this excess is steadily siphoning out the power of God in and through our lives.

binge free pin

Shane said something the other day that I can’t get out of my mind:
“We spend a lot of time watching movies about people who don’t watch movies.” Hmm…

God has given us brilliant minds, incredible physical capabilities, and the capacity to love and share life with others. His gift of a reconciled relationship with Him begins the flow of His power the heals and energizes, grows and sanctifies, and ultimately provides a whole new life-perspective. Often, when we binge-watch, we put that power on pause. We silence the voice of the Holy Spirit to stay tuned to what happens next to Amy and Rory.

1 Corinthians has 3 things to say about this:

“Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be brought under the control of anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up. 1 Corinthians 10:23
If it’s not helpful (in my walk with God, for example), or building up others, then should I be dedicating 4+ hours of my day to it? If it is beginning to take control of my thoughts, impulses, concentration, desires, or time, then I must employ wisdom to deny myself the indulgence.
I am not suggesting a legalistic ceasing of all tv-shows and movies. Like Paul said, “everything is permissible for me.” What I am suggesting is that we all take a 2 week binge-break.
Classes are beginning this week for the students at our local college. For the first 2 weeks, I challenge you (and me and everyone else), to say no to any “loner tv.” This means not watching movies or shows (or playing video games) unless it is used as a community or relationship building event. With all that extra time, you could:
  • Pray for the lost in your sphere of influence
  • Listen to a sermon on podcast
  • Jog off the first week of school tension
  • Host a game night in your dorm and build friendships with someone new
  • Call your mom (your welcome, moms)
  • Clean your room
  • Write a book (instead of a Facebook post)
  • Read a book (before you watch the movie on Netflix)
  • Get ahead on your homework.
  • Reinforcer the life-givers in your world (ideas here)
  • Spend time telling God about your day.
  • Make a to-be list, instead of a to-do list.
  • Rest…. for real. Take a nap or a bath.
  • Embrace the quiet. Learn how to just be with yourself and God.
  • Read your Bible.
And when 2 weeks is up, lets all adopt a healthy and balanced approach to the R&R opportunities in front of us. Sorry Amazon Prime, nothing is really binge-worthy.
Document your progress and connect with others with #bingefreechallenge and #campfiregrace.

Campfire Check-In:

What will you do with your binge-free time?
What is your “word” for 2016?

 

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

One Good Reason You Should Hurry More (#AdultsNeedChristmas)

hurry more at ChristmasChristmas time is here! Between parties and packing, shopping and wrapping, we have a bunch of rushing to do. Even our carols are characterized by words like “busy” and “bustle” (which means “to move in an energetic or noisy manner,” in case you were wondering).

There was a bustling at the first Christmas too. But this expedited pace wasn’t a rush to the next office party, or a last minute baking frenzy for an unforeseen cookie exchange.

No. This was a sacred rush, a hurrying of heavenly proportions. This was the shepherds race to experience the divine:

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.”

Luke‬ ‭2:8-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The shepherds dropped everything they were doing and HURRIED OFF to find the Savior.

It wasn’t a Black Friday sale scurry.

It wasn’t a distant-relatives house relay.

It was a rushing to experience Jesus.

Adults need this kind of holy hurry.

This heavenly hastening to align ourselves nearer to the Savior of the world.

hurry to JesusWe need to re-ignite that kind of excitement, urgency to chase down the sacred like the shepherds did.

The shepherds abandoned their expectations to advance toward the eternal. Jesus’ coming was life-changing enough to take some time off.

To drop everything to experience proximity.

To then tell others about it, and spread the good news of great joy for all people.

Lord, the only thing I want to hurry up for this Christmas is you. Give me that sense of unsettled urgency to experience Your presence above all else.

Campfire Check In?

What will you let go of in order to experience proximity to the Savior this season?

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

What Adults Need at Christmas: A Heart for the Lost

rediscover a heart for the lostThis morning I sat cuddled on my couch with cocoa and Christmas cookies, reading my Christmas devotional book. I was practicing stillness, making room for Jesus in a full day. I had to turn off White Christmas and ignore the gifts that needed to be wrapped. I had to silence my inner to-do list and just listen.

A dear friend from our church recently blessed me with The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. The pages of this book presented a challenge for me to do something “that would be venturing big for God.” (Day 11)

I began to imagine what would be that difficult thing for me. What I could step outside of my comfort zone to encounter our faithful God in a powerful way? I glanced up from my reading and saw my neighborhood in the crisp light. So many houses, filled with couples and families all preparing for winter’s chill. In my minds eye, though, I saw ablaze all the homes that no preparation for eternity. From my knowledge (and I am not trying to be judgmental here) much of our neighborhood is destined for eternal separation from God.

My heart has ached for this neighborhood before. I know families swallowed by pride and culture and religions that lead to bondage. I take my dog on walks, passing homes filled with the riches of this world; my heart is heavy for they do not know the riches of a relationship with Christ.

Earlier this month, I motioned to simplify the holiday to-do list. After consulting with me, myself, and I, it seemed like a good idea to nix the neighborly gifts this year. After all, we go all out to love on our neighborhood for Halloween, and have prioritized sharing sweet blessings every May Day.

In my simplification, I was serving myself (and arguably my family). However, my consensus eliminated Jesus, once again, from HIS ideas for Christmas time.

I am convinced one way adults can rediscover the wonder of Christmas is by rediscovering Christ’s broken heart for the lost. Globally or locally, there are people in our path who need the Savior. It is why He came, after all:seek the lost

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10

Sharing simple gifts with my neighbors is one way I can invite them to our church’s Christmas Eve service. It also promotes relationship, displays kindness, and prayerfully provides openness to conversations over the fence when the weather gets nice again. It is during such conversations, I pray, God will steer toward our joy and purpose in Christ.

Like a redeemed Grinch, I think my heart grew three sizes today!

I am not so much burdened as I am hopeful for God’s great grace and mercy to bring light and salvation to the lost this Christmas. 2016 is a year of hope, I believe, and I choose to act upon such belief. My heart is not made weary by war and refugees, electoral candidates and the decline of the church. On the contrary, having a renewed desire to see the lost found in Christ gives me energy and excitement. Because I know the salvation of the world, both spiritually and physically, is not up to me. It is simply my privilege to join my God in the work He is already doing.

I know what my challenge is today (thank you, Ann Voskamp for prompting me thus). I am joining Jesus’ mission by putting neighborly gifts, along with time spent in prayer for each family, back on my Christmas bucket list this year. It is a small service in comparison to the cross, but that act of love has already been finished. I just get to tell the life-saving story.

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:1-11

Join me in finding inspiration and hope in these lyrics: “The giver of life was born in the night, revealing God’s glorious plan to save the world!” (Who Would Have Dreamed by ason Hansen and Bob Kauflin, Sovereign Grace Music)

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

Make Room: #AdultsNeedChristmas

make roomThis week, I was talking with a young woman from our local college. With finals and end-of-semester projects looming overhead, my friend is stressed. Add to that an inconsiderate roommate situation, which left her sleeping in her dorm-room hallway one night.

My heart ached for her. What she needed was solace. Peace. Rest. All the things I have been striving to rediscover this holiday season. So I invited her to stay in our guest room whenever she needed. To which she shrugged a thank-you, and the subject changed.

I walked by the guest room that afternoon and realized why her reaction was so half-hearted and faithless. That room was a PIT!

To keep some sense of order in the rest of the home, that room has become a catch-all for new gifts, wrapping supplies, shipping boxes, old toys for donations, unfinished crafts, laundry, etc.

I am telling you, there was no room. A giant canvas resided on the pillow side of the bed, 5 opened and half-unpacked craft boxes dominated the bottom half. Kids toys (and the containers meant to, ahem, contain them) littered the floor. Cap it all off with the kids bright red pop-up play hut, like a cherry on top of the toy pile.

No. Room.

Convicted, I remembered the story of Jesus birth, accommodated by a barnyard of animals instead of a generous hostess.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

Through the years of reading this story, I have assumed that, given the same position, I would have invited Mary in. But now, my own inconsistency was heralding the reality from the pile of junk. Even though my words said, “you are welcome,” my home did not.

What a perfect picture my piled-up guest room displays of my heart-condition at Christmas. The spaces meant for Jesus to take up residence are filled up.

  • I’ve piled up the approval of others in the room meant for satisfaction in Jesus.
  •  I’ve stashed good chunk of my holiday accomplishments in the space meant for worship of the King of kings.
  • I have compromised that corner table in my heart, where Jesus and I share sweet moments of rest and romance. It’s strewn with lists and Christmas cards that need to be addressed.

Again…..

No. Room.

make room pin

I have successfully eliminated room for Jesus in His very own holiday! I have re-created the busy Bethlehem. That night, I stayed up late making our guest-room guest-worthy. As I sorted through the mess, I also sorted through my heart. I keep repeating this line from the song, Be Born In Me, by Francesca Battistelli: 

“The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy…”

Lets us allow Jesus’ words to open our hearts, our arms, our homes, to welcome Christ this season, however he chooses to enter our reality.

Campfire Check-in:

How do you make space for Jesus in this season?

PS: I am not talking about having an immaculately tidy home for Jesus. I’ll talk about Embracing the Mess at Christmas NEXT!

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

Adults Need Christmas: How to Rediscover Wonder this Season

adults need christmas 2Does it feel like we just did this? I feel like we just finished Christmas of 2014. I found my Christmas to-do list like it never left my coat pocket. And I jumped right back into the routine of checking off each item. Now that my kids are old enough to enjoy it, I have focused even more on completing traditions. (Thanks to Pinterest, I have a host of new ideas and traditions to implement…oy vey.)

People all around me are going through the motions in a similar way, oblivious of the wonder and relief that Christmas is meant to bring. We get so caught up in making it perfect for the kids, we miss God’s intention for our own hearts.

In many ways, these five weeks from Thanksgiving to December have been commandeered by our enemy. Peace and joy have been traded for

  • Exhaustion
  • Busyness
  • Conflict
  • Numbness
  • Rushing
  • A stagnant maintaining of traditions

I am convinced that, as a grown woman, I desperately need Christmas. (Sorry Kranks, no skipping Christmas for me). This is the season we celebrate God’s plan for our redemption, salvation, and peace for humanity. Perhaps we need to find a way to redeem, save, and implement peace in the season itself.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some ideas on how to rediscover wonder, power, excitement, giddiness, and peace this Christmas, like…

But for now, I’d like to hear from  you:

adults need christmasCampfire Check-In:

What deprives Christmas of its wonder and delight for you?

Make sure you don’t miss a post! Click the Follow button in the right-hand corner of this blog, and don’t forget to like Campfire Grace on Facebook.

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

Release: Letting Go of Last Season’s Expectations

These last few months, I have enjoyed a season of confidence and competence in managing my home, my social life, ministry, and mothering. It wasn’t perfect, but I had some weeks where I got all the laundry and the dishes done each day. And I didn’t have to compromise my connection with God, my husband, or my kids to do so.

Like the winter chill that clings to my breath, the signs of a new soul-season have appeared.

I feel frail. Brittle. Exhausted. Lonely. Overwhelmed.

leaf seasonsActivities and expectations which used to be simple accomplishments, now escape my efforts for productivity. With shorter naps and higher needs for attention in play, delighting in my twins requires my conscious neglect of housework and personal time. Certain ministry prerogatives which once were invigorating, have become exhausting. These days, I seek refuge under my covers instead of the clicking of my keyboard to share heart-felt words of grace.

God’s grace remains strong, but my heart feels empty. The only words I have to offer most days are from “The Icky Sticky Frog” which I have read so many times I have it memorized.

There’s a cracking in my spirit. Like branches under pressure, the expectations I give myself now groan and strain. Lysa Terkeurst illustrates this in her book, The Best Yes. She recommends a divine “letting go” or release, in preparation for each new season:

“It’s is a gift—a gift to a woman weighed down, grasping her leaves in the midst of a snowstorm, desperate, so desperate for help… She must listen or she will break. Her tree needs to be stripped and prepared for winter. But she can’t embrace winter until she lets go of fall. Like a tree, a woman can’t carry the weight of two seasons simultaneously…Release brings with it the gift of peace.”

Lysa Terkeurst, The Best Yes

Reading her words remind me of an important truth:

We need time to rest, restore, renew our strength.

Winter’s barrenness can be beautiful. Powerful, even.

I must learn to exhale.

Let go.

Release control.

Let the good and beautiful leaves of last season fall.

Learn to delight in bare branches.

To sleep.

To find refuge in a blanket, like the cold ground finds covering from thousands of unique flakes glittering white.

To understand my true blanket of comfort is the faithfulness of Christ:

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 93:4

Please understand, I am not allowing my feelings and emotions to supersede truth. My sense of lowness is not the author of my story or the bully of my joy. I have joy! But yesterday, today, and maybe even tomorrow, it is a quiet joy, fueled by God’s faithfulness. His steadfastness is immensely satisfying, regardless of my internal climate. After all, His word promises:

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8

As I enter into this new season, both climatically and existentially, I cling to these truths.

His constancy is reliable.

My identity will never be a barren tree, though my emotions might resemble one every once in a while. God will always be producing good fruit through me when I cling to Him.

seasons leaves restI will not always feel like a tree in springtime. However, I will experience the sense of blossoming again if I take full-care to embrace this winter-rest well.

For me, this means

  • lowering my to-do list expectations.
  • Receiving help from my husband when he so graciously offers it.
  • Living free of the mommy-guilt, wife-guilt, friend-guilt, Bible-study homework guilt, etc. (Romans 8:1)
  • Tightening my grip on Jesus as I loosen my grip on certain ministry goals.
  • No more internal words of punishment or self-degradation for my body.
  • Celebrating the victory and finding satisfaction in deep intimacy with God, Shane, Titus and Evi, rather than in my own sense of accomplishment.

Each season is simply, and beautifully, that: a season. We would be so wise to encounter each with such perspective.

In Faith,

signature

Campfire Check-In:

How is God preparing you for a change in season? What might the Holy Spirit call you to release?

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

Redesign the Schedule: Refocus Challenge Week 5

redesign the schedule

These past 5 weeks have given me much-needed perspective and focus. The season has turned, and we are fully launched into the fall semester/season of ministry and family life. With the truth of my identity in Christ fully remembered, and the purpose for my life in full focus (to know God more intimately in every moment), I am equipped to redesign the ever flexing schedule into something that works for our goals, rather than against them.

Instead of filling up my weekly calendar with tasks and appointments I’ve been doing all year, I gave myself a blank page to work from priorities up. I kept this process very simple:

Step 1: List the Important. After praying for God’s wisdom and processing with Shane, I compiled my list of needs, responsibilities, and joys:

  1. Spending time with God
  2. Loving my husband
  3. Raising my kids
  4. Optimizing our home as a sanctuary
  5. Mentoring my disciples
  6. Engaging in healthy community
  7. Flourishing (stay healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally)

redesign the schedule pin itStep 2: Brainstorm details. These are the “how” to spend time accomplishing the important:

  1. Spending time with God >> quiet time, prayer, church worship service
  2. Loving my husband >> Weekly date nights, stay home on weekend mornings
  3. Raising my kids >> pray, engage in their play, add activities/outings, be present!
  4. Optimizing our home as a sanctuary >> clean, cook, plan
  5. Mentoring my disciples >> lead girls Bible study, occasional discipleship coffee date
  6. Engaging in healthy community >> women’s Bible study, work out classes, friend dates
  7. Flourish >> work out, healthy meals, reinforce life-givers, sleep

Step 3: Calendar it. Starting with the priorities, I designed a daily routine and weekly schedule that will promote a lifestyle of focus on Christ.

I tried to leave plenty of margin for spontaneity, and will fight for flexibility when our schedule needs to bend to our needs. I really appreciate having some structure to guide (not dictate) how I spend my time. I am praying this design will optimize my relationship with God and others, increase my intentionality with the kids, and give me room to say YES to the things of God.

Thank you for joining me for the 5 Week Refocus Challenge. It’s time to start LIVING FOCUSED. Feel free to revisit any of the challenges as you walk confidently with God into this new season.

With joy,

signature

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

Renounce the Rush & Retake the Space: Refocus Challenge Week 5

 

renounce rush pin itRenounce the Rush

We often don’t hear the voice of God when we are serving the voice of busyness. In her book, The Best Yes, Lisa Terkeurst comments: “A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule with often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.” I plan to reconstruct my schedule to work FOR my best (God’s best), not against my desire to flourish. I’m making room in my schedule to be still with God, spend quality time with my family, and fuel my soul with life-givers. A family friend calls this our “sanctified no” space.

Reading Priscilla Shirer’s Breathe has propelled me to factor in margin, or “white-space” in my plans. In my dapples with graphic design, I have learned that white space is one of the most important elements of a presentation. White-space clears out distractions so the focus stays on the main idea of the poster or book cover.

In the same way, I believe white space in my schedule will help me focus on the main goals God has for me. White space is not the leftover hours that don’t get filled. I plan to schedule intentional “white space” in my calendar this season.

In the next few days, I plan to take inventory of each hour of the week. Is the way I spend these hours honoring God by drawing me closer to Him, and serving in the way He want’s me to serve? (More on this later in the week).

renounce the rush

Retake the Space:

This renouncing of clutter can apply to our physical spaces as well as our schedules. Inefficiency is oozing all over our home (and car!). This distracts me from intimacy with God. It provokes ungratefulness and over-accumulation. I’m not using what He’s already provided, and worse, I’m withholding generosity from our wealth of stuff and space. Does anyone else sense this need to unpack the unnecessary? It’s time to retake our space!

As with the schedule, taking inventory of each room and closet in our home will generate a grand refocus for our home’s true purpose.

  1. For each item and every space, I’d like to ask: is this serving it’s purpose? Some rooms are not arranged to their fullest potential. Some cupboards are not fulfilling the goal of organization. Much of our closet is dedicated to housing unfolded laundry and worn out shoes.
  2. I will upcycle, donate, or trash anything that is not a “yes” to the above question.
  3. For my clothes, I plan to wear EVERYTHING once over the next month (ok, not my wedding dress). This is the best weather for tanks+cardigans and sweaters with shorts, so I really can wear each item in my closet. If I can’t bring myself to wear a shirt or dress, I will muster the courage to move on by donating it.

I must not that retaking our space is different than week 2’s idea of resetting home base. I recommend reseting home base first (perhaps weekly?) before trying to take back the space for it’s best use and efficiency.

By initiating a grand take over of our time and space clutter, perhaps we can stimulate a much-needed de-cluttering of our minds as well.

Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),

Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.

Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:15-17 (Amplified Version)

Lord,

I am humbled that you provide such wealth of time, space, and stuff in my life. I am ashamed by my misuse of and lack of gratefulness for it all. Please forgive my poor attitude and lackadaisy. Give me wisdom to embrace each blessing you provide—the time in my day, relationships in my life, and the stuff in my home—and honor you with it!

Thank you Jesus for making this possible

Amen

Week 5 Challenge:

  • Monday: Take inventory of the important things in your life. Put the list on your fridge/bathroom mirror and commit to prioritize these things. Post a picture of your list on instagram with #reprioritizingtheimportant and #5weekrefocuschallenge
  • Tuesday: Figure out what immediate things tend to steal your attention from the important (these might be similar to time-wasters). Set a strategy to ignore them.
  • Wednesday: Take a hard look at your schedule. Is there any breathing room? Any quiet time? Write down any distractions and pray about how to renounce the rush.
  • Thursday: Unpack the unnecessary in your home. Make a list of each room (each closet should have it’s own line item). And brainstorm ways to conquer the list a little at a time.
  • Friday: Check back here to Redesign your Schedule.

Check in:

How do you plan to de-clutter your schedule or your space?

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0