Boundaries and a Look a Results

Take time to write out your priorities and parameters. Set guardrails or boundaries.

I tend to overdo it when it comes to work – mostly because I love it so much. Yet other things are suffering when I get too drawn in. Last year (or was it the beginning of this year?), I was encouraged to put a weekend into my schedule. I didn’t have one! I work on Sundays. So, my weekend is Tuesday and Saturday. Tuesday is my family work day, and Saturday is – or should be – my Sabbath. That’s my weekly rhythm. I’m still working on my daily rhythms: chores, family, homeschool, work, study, sleep… they all need to happen most days of the week!

Having a realistic plan will not only help me have peace, but it’ll help my family know what to expect – I’ll also be modeling a healthier way to do things.

Boundaries are gifts! We all need them. They help us explore what is good to the fullest and have joy and peace.

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

Hebrews 4:11 (ESV)

Another area I overdo – it has to be right… my way! I’m working on that. The parameter is to not voice the “injustice” or thing done wrong. Table the annoyance in a journal entry and let it go. The priority is that relationship is more important as is keeping the peace.
Please Note: I’m talking about preferences and annoyances here, and not anything of significance. Examples: how the dishwasher is loaded or which hole to use when sharpening the pencil in the electric sharpener.

What are the main obsessions of those around me?
gaming, YouTube/TV, and social media

Technology is great, but it can also be a great trap.

Be led by the Spirit, and not the flesh.

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:16-23 (ESV)

The results (or fruit) of the flesh:

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV)

The fruit (or results) of the Spirit:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

To resist the flesh, you need to be in prayer, be diligent in your study of the Word, apply what you learned, and be open to and guided by the Spirit’s promptings.

How does excess squeeze out the enjoyment of life?
Excess food & laziness results in discomfort and pain, and often more expensive medical care. Excess technology sacrifices relationships of those close to you, and can limit your ability to form healthy relationships.

Sometimes the answer needs to be no. This requires self-control and inner strength. Discipline.

Breath: making room for Sabbath

Slavery inventory: What holds control over me? What do I have a hard time saying no to?

  • Working (but I love my job!)
  • GTD, actually doing and the tools to do the things
  • Social Media
  • Procrastination
  • Overthinking
  • Family

Some of these aren’t great, but many of them are good things!

Sabbath Principle

“The Sabbath principle can keep these things from bossing us around, controlling our lives, and becoming masters over us… it’s the key to freedom.”

Priscilla Shirer, Breath

Sabbath rest is a healthy boundary. Sabbath in Hebrew is Shabbat = to cease, stop, pause, to come to an end.

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.

Genesis 2:2 (ESV)

God had Sabbath rest in mind from the beginning. Creation wasn’t completed until rest was created. Not just “not doing” rest, but tranquility, serenity, and peace.

“Rest was the capstone of creation and without it the universe would be incomplete.”

Priscilla Shirer, Breath

Rest is active. You have to chose rest. You have to really commit to it and create space for it. Rest guards our hearts in Christ Jesus. In other words, to allow space for rest, I must be intentional in creating margin throughout my life.

“Margin in families creates memories. Margin in our personal finances creates generosity. Margin in our friendships creates significance and impact. Margin in our lives overall creates options. Options to pursue dreams, think, pray, relax, meditate, process, grow, and ultimately live life more fully.”

Brad Lomenick (from Breath, by Priscilla Shirer)

When rest gets labeled at lazy or causes guilty feelings…

I grapple with a chronic pain condition. It’s only in the past few years that I’ve learned when to rest, which is often, and when to take it slow, which is often. I’ve been accused (by those who don’t know) of being lazy, but I know how much work it takes to arrange all this required rest and still get some things done. I wasn’t hurt by this accusation because they really don’t know. However, I do wonder how to best respond in kindness without discussing my medical condition in nauseous detail. Do I respond at all?

The fact is, I do often feel guilty about not being able to keep up with my own ambitions. I build rest in, but I often view it as wasting time even though I obviously need it! Perhaps it is a matter of focus? I’m focused on the stuff I’d rather be doing rather than God.

Sometimes I ponder how to make rest more productive! Craft, read, study, write, pray… Am I just trying to fill a void? I’m beginning to determine there’s a difference in Sabbath rest and rest. Both are needed, but only one is driven by a focus on God and drawing closer to Him. It doesn’t take much thinking to know that Sabbath rest is better.

Why do I try to keep so busy?

Yeah, that’s the question! Let’s see… I don’t know how to be still. I feel useless if I’m not producing. I feel this weird need to prove myself – not to anyone in particular, but maybe to myself. I’m seeking the satisfaction of tasks that are done and done well (recognized or not).

Rest and margin is not just a principle of time, but applies to other areas of life as well, like finances and stuff/clutter.

“The very essence of the Sabbath principle – to cease, stop striving, and trust – went completely against their nature, making it extremely difficult… they needed to practice the discipline of freedom. A change in their hearts would be the result of practical changes in their lifestyle.”

Priscilla Shirer, Breath

he said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.’”

Exodus 16:23 (ESV)

This verse is the first time that the word Sabbath is used. It is proposing a huge lifestyle change for these slaves just liberated from Egypt. It was a lifestyle change intended to change their hearts.

A Sign to All God’s People

My notes from the sermon:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14 (ESV)

Immanuel = God with us.

To us, this is a sign of hope and salvation. To others, this is a sign of judgement & wrath.

Ahaz was a bad man and a bad king. He was seeking an alliance with Assyria – a much stronger nation, but God told him not to trust Assyria but to trust Him. God’s message was essentially be patient, follow the Lord, and be faithful and His commands. Trust the Lord.

Ahaz refused.

The prediction of the child was pointing towards Jesus, but was an immediate prophecy marking the time “these things” would happen.

Jesus is the sign to us of God’s love. Our calling is to show to all people Jesus’ love through us as we are children of God.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him… Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

1 John 3:1, 18 (ESV)

Who “they” are does not change who we are. We are the sign for all people.

This brings to mind a scene in “the Chosen” (episode 4) where Jesus tells Simon to catch as many people as he can, all kinds, and that Jesus will sort them out later.

Joy of Returning

You want to see and feel the joy of returning? Check out this video of military personnel returning home to their loved ones.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
    the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
    and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
    the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
    the majesty of our God.

Isaiah 35:1-2 (ESV)

Isaiah is encouraging God’s people for Jesus’ return – the ultimate joy of returning.

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert;

Isaiah 35:5-6 (ESV)

There are signs of what are yet to come and they are pointing to the salvation that Jesus is bringing to the world.

It is beyond our imagination or the words to describe, but Isaiah gives us a glimpse.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
    and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain gladness and joy,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 35:10 (ESV)

It’s not just God returning, but also the ransomed of the Lord – us! The closest picture we have of this is the story of the prodigal son.

Joy is obtained, not inherent or natural. It’s obtained from God and reflects God’s joy over us.

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)

God’s joy is now. We don’t have to wait! Our duty (or calling) doesn’t steal our joy but can add to it because with God all things are possible.

MLC Sermon 12/13/2020

What’s your motivation?

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

Luke 15:11-32 (ESV)

The older son’s relationship with the father is based on obligation, whereas the younger son’s relationship basis transformed from selfish rebellion to humble submission. The father’s relationship with the sons is based on unconditional love.

There’s also a whole works vs. grace vibe in this story as well as obligation vs. sacrifice element. What is your motivation/attitude regarding the inheritance we receive from the Father?

Habitica App

When I spotted this Habitica App from my Evernote newsletter a little while back, I just had to try this out! It speaks to my GTD kind of personality. I thought my teenagers might like it enough to use it and maybe remove the need for me to “nag” so much!

I downloaded, installed, and registered with this app on Android earlier today. The app is lovely, easy to use, the tour is cute without babying, and the website interface is spectacular. I can see this being a lot of fun (AND productive) for the teens. If I were more of a gamer personality, I would probably really enjoy this myself. But I’m not. So, I won’t be using this app personally.

I showed it to my teens, and they weren’t very impressed. So, take that or leave it! lol

One caution: I wouldn’t recommend this for younger than teenagers since there are chat rooms (taverns) and the like. Here’s more info on the app from Common Sense Media. I’m curious to see if Bark.us* is able to monitor this platform.

Try Not to Laugh Challenge

This is an appropriate title for my first stab at a reaction video complete with video editing!

<< video removed >>

I created the video capturing with OBS – my husband/son introduced me to this tool. I edited the video with Adobe Premiere Pro and created the intro/outro with Adobe Spark. All the while getting near-constant input from my son on how to actually do it all! I have experience in graphics editing and Photoshop, but nothing to do with videos. That’s a whole new world!

Update: My son (12) uses the free version of Resolve for video editing, and states that “it is the best editor in my life.”

2nd Update (months later): The video was flagged for copyright infringement since it showed the original video via the video capture bit. This thought should have occurred to me, but simply didn’t! I did not intend to infringe on anyone else’s copyrights at all! eek. It was still good and fun skills to learn with the kids. Please be careful when making videos to not infringe on other’s creative works. I certainly will be more careful!

3rd Update (years later): I’ve learned a lot about videos, YouTube, copyright claims, etc. The claim that was made on my original video was likely only a bot and meant that I couldn’t monetize my video. I had zero plans to monetize my videos. I could have kept it, but alas, it is gone. It was a fun and valuable learning experience for me!

Interesting Bible Study

I’m reading my Chronological plan in ESV, and my “real” Bible is NIV. This really isn’t a big deal, but I’ve grown to love the ESV translation. So, I decided it was time to buy an ESV Bible. I got a lovely purple ESV Bible with only one column and no red letters to distract – it is all God’s Word, after all.

It is odd to have a Bible without any notes and highlights in it! I decided to go through my old Bible page by page and transfer my notes over. This turned out to be an odd little Bible Study:

  • Why did I highlight that passage?
  • What does that note mean?
  • What is that reference that I wrote down?

It has been very, very interesting! I finished this little project yesterday. It took me all week!

I knew I had some Bibles from when I first became Christian hiding around somewhere. I decided to dig them out and go through those as well. My first Bible is interesting – I highlighted the gist of the stories – not really significant scriptures for growth or understanding. I was just learning the story back then. Now, my notes take apart the stories, include original language notes, and life application notes. I never really realized my growth like that before – kind of cool.

My favorite notes to come across are the hearts, stars and letter P’s I drew in. I didn’t know I hearted so many verses! The stars I drew were verses that impacted me in some way. The P’s are promises of God. It is such a joy to find and re-read these verses.

My new Bible is already becoming a rich landscape of all my learning thus far, and there’s so much more in there!
I just love it.

Whether you get a new Bible or not, pull your trusty companion out sometime, and go through it page by page seeing again all that you marked, learned, and loved. You’ll be blessed by it.

Spiral Scrubbies

I’ve been experimenting with bath scrubbies for a while now. I tried a bath loofah-like thing, but the yarn got so HEAVY when wet. It also didn’t hold its shape.

I’ve settled (for now) on some plain old oversized washcloths (right). I single crochet with a large hook about 20 stitches across and make the rectangle long enough to fold over into hand-sized. I’m not in love with this idea, but it works.

Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve found a great new pattern!
Spiral Scrubbies.

I think my search is over!

My first attempt reading the instructions from my cell phone at McDonald’s while the kids played didn’t go so well. I can’t imagine why?! lol

I re-read the instructions at home on my computer (more screen space), and realized there was a video link! That video makes all the difference!

This one is too small for the shower, but I love the idea! So, I grabbed a larger hook (10mm, I think) & crocheted two threads of yarn simultaneously for thickness. I’ve made two for the shower, and Steve has asked me to make some more just like it. I’ve found that the trick to the whole thing being durable is to pull the yarn VERY tight when closing up the scrubbie. The cotton threads stretch when wet, and you don’t want the center opening to stretch open too much.

I’m currently pondering what yarn material would make a better scrubbie, and if I could crochet nylon fibers into it (like those used in commercial loofahs). I’m not done experimenting!

Update 7/6/2018: I re-discovered this entry and I have the perfect material to try this on – the Red Heart Scrubbie yarn! I can’t wait to try that out.

Out for Drinks

A couple of nights ago, I was out for a few drinks with some friends at the Marriott Hotel and I had a couple of cocktails and some rather nice red wine.

Knowing full well I may have been slightly over the limit, I did something I’ve never done before: I took a bus home. Sure enough, I passed a police roadblock but as it was a bus, they waved it past. I arrived home safely without incident, which was a real surprise; as I have never driven a bus before and am not sure where I got it.

–emailed to me by a friend, source: unknown