Waste Not.

I have been decluttering – well….. since January 1 really.  Taking a room at a time and getting everything OUT that I don’t want IN.  I’m not really a hoarder at all.  It doesn’t take me long to make a decision to get rid of something if it hasn’t been used in a particular set-amount of time.

When decluttering, there are three basic boxes that you need :  KEEP, PITCH, and GIVE AWAY.  Ninety percent of the time, it is clear to me when I hold something in my hand into which pile it should go.  If it’s clearly trash, then in the pitch pile it goes.  If not, then either I can use it or I can give it away for someone else to use.  Nothing will be wasted.

You’ve heard the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  That’s the whole philosophy behind Garage Sales.  The seller is finished with it but the buyer finds a treasure.  Kids have outgrown clothes, but a mom with younger children has hit the jackpot when finding this treasure of a yard sale.

I go to the recycle center every week with plastics and cardboard.  There are shows on television teaching us how to take something that someone else doesn’t want and repurpose it so that it doesn’t have to go in the trash.  Friends of mine are making jump ropes from old t-shirts for children in foreign countries to have as a toy in their Operation Christmas Child box.

Old towels can be repurposed for soft rags.  Old sheets can be used to gather leaves and landscape clippings easily.  Plastic containers that once contained cat treats can be recycled to be used in the garage to gather those bolts and nails that tend to magically scatter themselves around.  It is true that one person’s trash can be turned into another man’s treasure.  Nothing is ever wasted.

The Bible tells us also that God will never waste a situation either.  He promises to use it for His good.  It’s hard to imagine that all of the evil, negativity and just plain nastiness in this world can be used – recycled even – to bring glory to God but He says it and I believe it.

Proverbs 16:4 – The Lord works out everything for his own ends – even the wicked for a day of  disaster.  And Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.

So whatever you think is awful – whether it’s television shows, bad news from a doctor, a wayward child, a job loss, a broken relationship – just know that if you trust in the Lord you can see Him recycle the bad into His good.  We just have to trust Him.  He will not let anything go to waste.  Hold tight to that promise today.

Patchy Day!

My husband, our very own household meteorologist, looked at the radar on his phone, looked outside the window as he was mentally scheduling his to-do list for today.  Farming is a hard business especially on days when you’re not sure of the weather.  Do we plant and take a chance of rain washing it out?  Or do we not plant and then we miss the rain?  Or will it all be okay and we plant and we don’t get the washout and it comes up great?  A lot of decisions to be made.

Our life in farming truly revolves around the weather.  So when I asked him what the day looked like he responded, “There could be patches of storms throughout the day.  No one really knows.”  Of course he was referring to the weather app meteorologists and their history of changing forecasts multiple times throughout the hour!

But the phrase had an added meaning to me.  “There could be patches of storms throughout the day.  No one really knows.”  That’s our lives daily!  We could have patches of storms throughout the day.  We can’t worry about whether or not we will have storms or hard times, hurt and sorrow.  We have to live life in the patches of SUNSHINE.  And let God take care of helping us through the patches of storms.

I’m sure when he reads this he will roll his eyes and have a little grin on his face knowing that my mind is always churning looking for blog ideas………and finding God even in the patches of storms throughout the day!

Have your faith ready, your prayers caught up and your eyes on Jesus as you prepare for the patches of storms and enjoy the beautiful sunshine moments in between….all day long!!

 

The Avoidance Strategy.

I was thinking of writing a blog on avoidance recently and God gave me great content last night as I had someone who successfully avoided me and then I avoided someone else I did not want to talk to.

You may gasp in awe that I said that out loud but you know you’ve all been there.  You see someone in the aisle at the grocery store that  you don’t want to talk to so you turn around and go the other way.  Maybe it’s someone you have had a relationship with that ended badly or someone who is on the other side of a public policy issue you were vocal about or maybe it’s just the chatty neighbor and you don’t have time to talk.

Whatever the issue, I would be very surprised if you have not fallen prey to the “avoidance strategy” as well.  And before you get too smug about it, I’m sure someone has avoided you in the same manner whether you caught them or not.

Are you playing the “avoidance strategy” game with God?  Do you keep seeing Him in the little things and choose not to recognize Him?  Are you avoiding going to church because you don’t want to feel guilty but you use “people will judge me” as an excuse?  Are you avoiding having a relationship with Christ because you will not be able to live the non-Christ-like life you enjoy?  Are you avoiding doing the thing God is calling you to do?

He’s seeking us.  It’s time for us to stop avoiding Him.  One day it’s gonna happen.  We are going to have to face Him.  There we will be face to face with our Creator in heaven’s grocery aisle having to answer for the reasons we have lived the way we have lived and why we avoided Him and ignored His guidance.  At that point our eternity will be given out.  It cannot be avoided.  We will be at the end looking back at our choice to have lived for heaven or lived for hell.  Don’t avoid Christ on earth and end up avoiding Heaven for eternity.

For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son to die a horrible death that whoever will believe in Him shall not perish in hell but will have everlasting life in heaven.   John 3:16 [paraphrased]

He loves us no matter what we have done or are currently doing.  He will forgive it all.  Nothing is too big to be forgiven.  He wants us just as we are.  Let’s stop avoiding Him and start running to Him.

Think About Finding A New Route.

HONK. HONK.
“Get out of the way!”
[Unladylike hand gesture]
HONK. HONK.
“Move over!”
HONK. HONK.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
“Why drive slow in the fast lane?”
HONK. HONK.
Loud music.
Heads nodding.
Phones ringing.
Fingers texting.

The sights and sounds of traffic.

Living in a small rural community, I don’t have to experience much of the above scenario.  If someone honks at us, we naively ask “were they honking at us?  Did I know them?”  Or we realize we sat too long at a stoplight and want to wave and sheepishly apologize for causing them a half-second delay on movement.

But in a city, this is the norm and people hear noise and see traffic daily and they have to learn to deal with it in their own way in order to get to their destination.

In life, we have traffic and loud noises and people disrespecting other people; people doing things they shouldn’t that cause us to feel more and more distracted.  We start focusing on the traffic and the noises instead of the purpose of the trip and the destination.  We need to find a new route – one that doesn’t have as much traffic and distracting noises.  We need to focus on Jesus.

When life seems too distracting with noises and bumper to bumper traffic, take a new route.  Maybe what we are doing just doesn’t seem to be working like it used to because there’s more distractions.  Maybe a quiet, short Bible reading in the morning used to be enough for you to get through the day but now there is more noise in your life and more traffic distracting you and you need a deeper study or more quiet time with the Lord.

The other morning I got up earlier than normal to take my assigned turn for 15-minute prayer time on National Day of Prayer.  When I got up, it was still dark so I decided not to turn on any lights during this time and just sit straight up and pray – no falling asleep; no getting distracted by the things around me that needed eventual attention. It was the BEST 20 minutes of the day.  Yes I prayed longer than my assigned time because I had a lot to talk to God about and usually I get up and read my daily reading, write my blog and talk to God for a few minutes about the day ahead.  But that day, I talked……..and listened……and meditated.  I found a different route away from the distracting noises and visuals and traffic of the day.

This new route still gets me to my destination but the journey is a whole lot less stressful!  Think about finding yourself a new route if the traffic and distractions have made you numb to the journey!

John 14:6 – Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the light.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”