refine: paring back to neccesity



It’s that January feeling.  As air sighs out icy purity and trees wear their winter-bare skeletal clothes,  our souls begin to sense how weighed down we really are, how much we need to refine back to necessity.

The excess of Christmas is beyond us. A new year signals time to begin again and waken anew to promise and potential ahead of us. But we’re not always ready to shrug off blankets of lethargy or sloughs of despondency, nor certain of the choices before us.

Hibernation looks inviting. Many of us lack the physical or mental energy to move ahead or make needful changes to our schedule, never mind our lives. I find myself torn between the very real need to snuggle under the duvet and a desire to refine my life.

I need Holy inspiration, wisdom and courage to make lasting change possible. I need God’s strength and guidance to even begin to move forward a little. Change is possible if we pray, seek God’s support, take it slowly and celebrate small victories along the way.  And just like trees, without the paring back we cannot grow or flourish as intended.

Over the next few months I hope to review the vision God has for my life, to discover afresh that releasing is the key to receiving His best. It helps to remember just Who has us in His loving, capable hands.

“Fear can keep you up all night but faith makes one fine pillow” ~ Philip Gulley

A desire to refine

I need to refine my life, clear out

the clutter, remove dead leaves, pare

back to bare bones and finally see

what is at the heart of me. I need

to define my days in the light

of eternity, live complete, wholly

and holy surrendered to my destiny


This is a season to rout out

dead wood, slim down to essentials

sift and sort these interior

and outer rooms, ready my soul

for a fresh infilling of Holy Ghost

I long to become a home, a haven

for others—first I need to let loose detritus


Because it’s only when we refine

down to necessity that we begin

to truly see who we are, where

we are now and how to become

all God fully intends us to be




I’m happy to be sharing my poetic thoughts with the lovely five-minute-friday writing crew today as we reflect on the prompt ‘refine’. You can find us gathering at our gracious host, Kate Motaung’s site here, and you’re warmly invited to join us. 

13 thoughts on “refine: paring back to neccesity

  1. Dear Joy, Oh these words touch me today. As I too am asking God to still my heart and refine me, I need Him to

    “sift and sort these interior
    and outer rooms, ready my soul
    for a fresh infilling of Holy Ghost”

    I can see how He is at work doing that “Rooting” in you that is your word for this year! How I long to be more still in these processes that must be gone through, but I am so thankful that HE understands the weaknesses that we bear. He really is so gentle with us! Thank you, dear friend, for the encouragement that your words always bring! xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, it seems our journeys continually (and rather wonderfully) overlap one another, don’t they? In your stillness I sense aspects of being rooted, though an inner stillness doesn’t necessarily require being fixed in one place, such as rooted implies. My heart says an answering ‘Amen!’ to these words: “I am so thankful that HE understands the weaknesses that we bear. He really is so gentle with us!” Oh yes, we are never made to feel unworthy or less than for being all too human, because God understands our frame better than we do. Thank you, lovely friend, for being such a blessing and encouragement to me too! xoxo

    • Brother Michael, I’m so pleased these words spoke to you at a time when many need to seek strength, hope and courage for the days ahead with the inauguration of a new President. Bless you, my friend. You (and your nation) are in my thoughts and prayers. ❤

    • Thank you, Lesley! This is so true: “Refining and paring back is definitely not easy but it is necessary to be all God wants us to be.” May you find deeper peace and joy in a life pared back to reveal God’s glory shining within. Bless you, friend. xo

  2. “Change is possible if we pray, seek God’s support, take it slowly and celebrate small victories along the way. And just like trees, without the paring back we cannot grow or flourish as intended.” Joy, this is so true. I know God is refining me through the experiences He brings me through, and I also know that I need to be reminded often that I need to go slowly and celebrate every victory no matter how small. Thank you for reminding me tonight! I love your photo and the quote you put on it. I need that, too!
    Blessings to you dear sister/poet/friend! xoxo

    • Gayl, I’m so glad you can relate to those words. They’re definitely a reminder I need! It’s rather strange and wonderful how God gives us words to write and share which have deep personal implications for us too. And I can relate to the refining processes evident in my own life, still ongoing of course, because we never become perfected in this lifetime. There is always room to grow, space to develop and an eagerness to learn new things, or revisit those we may need to have emphasised again. Thank you for your sweet encouragement and for being a valued part of this community, as well as a dear sister/poet/writer friend! xoxo

  3. I do value your blogs and dip into them often. For a new blogger like me the beautiful way you express yourself is a real lesson. My own new blog seeks to use the natural world as a way in to people’s hearts for God, especially those who don’t yet know him. The presence of the Spirit of Jesus in my blog is what I covet most. I would love my posts to be a ‘haven for others’ as you express it. Yes, sharing something of the glory of Jesus with others is a delight.
    – Richard

    • Hello Richard, it’s good to welcome you here! I love the theme of your blog. The natural world is also a natural entry point for many who are seeking to connect with God. Creation’s beauty offers us all a tangible glimpse of His glory and immanent presence. As you look to Holy Spirit to fire and inspire the creative processes, He will reveal what and how to write in a way that honours His unique gift within you and also reaches its intended audience. Writing is as varied and nuanced as the people who engage with it. Trust God to bring hungry hearts to read your words and He will.
      The Spirit of Jesus is already in you as a Christian believer, and it will become more apparent to others as you open your heart and write faithfully for Him. It usually takes time, faithfulness, prayer, patience and perseverance to build an engaged audience on a blog, but whether it be for one person or over a 100, staying true to your God-given calling is the first step. Praying for you as you take those steps and wait and see what the Lord will do. God bless you, friend.

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