simplify: simplifying by expanding our holy joy #FMF

 

January invites us to set new goals and parameters, expand our plans and interests, or maybe mirror winter-bare trees as we try to simplify, pare back after the indulgence of Christmas excess, shake loose our encumbrances and embrace less.

Minimalism began to whisper my name a few months ago and (at a snail-like speed, of course), I began tentatively journeying towards it. However, I have been greatly hampered in my efforts to cut back and declutter, due to the usual depletion and weakness, higher priorities demanding attention and worsening health issues.

While my home has small areas that are trimmed back to basics, much of it is still very cluttered, messy and untidy. Although I haven’t given up on changing that scenario, even if my health and inner life look like they need to be a top priority right now.

Simplify

Looking around my house, I still see evidence

and detritus of Christmas, but is that a bad thing?

Shouldn’t the incarnation of Christ be at the heart

of my home, my life, my work and witness for him?

I need to simplify, I really do, not just remove the

mess and clutter but make God the primary focus

of my life, and try not to live in a me-centric way

where holy joy cannot get a foot in the door or stay.

I need to simplify, have a daily soul cleanse and

decluttering, plus a minute-by-minute awareness,

mindful walk of faith. If not, I am in grave danger of

creating islands of junk, falling foul of their stink

and letting rot sink into my soul, because my

perspective gets skewed. Lord, would you help me

to try to simplify, to place all that I am into your hands

and centre my thoughts more on living according

to the Light within? May I follow your footsteps, seek

hard after your heart, surrender to your loving plans

long created for me to fully believe and receive.

©joylenton

**This year my primary focus is simplified down to an essential, as I aim to prioritise my God-given word of “joy”**

Today’s joy notes…

  • my sore throat easing and pain being less invasive
  • a good night’s sleep for once, praise God!
  • energy and inspiration enough to write
  • flu symptoms abating a bit, yay!
  • a beautiful bright, sunny day, which lifts my mood immensely

I am also joyful to be joining with my lovely five-minute-friday friends after a long, long absence! You can find us sharing our words here. and you’re very welcome to join in too. This week’s word is ‘simplify’.

 

PS: In case you’re interested in the concept of minimalism, I’m getting a lot of useful tips and inspiration for a minimalist lifestyle from the ‘Becoming Minimalist’ blog, in reading Joshua Becker’s book ‘Simplify’ and dipping into his more detailed read, ‘The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own’.  🙂 ❤

refine: paring back to neccesity

refine-pared-back-pj

 

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

©joylenton2017

a-need-to-refine-poem-poetry-joy

 

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. 

about calling, priorities and sensitivity to Holy Spirit

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Like a flock of noisy seagulls, voices come at us from all directions, urging activity, challenge and change. What (or who) are we listening to? How do we sift the gold from the detritus, make choices we can live with and trust? In a world vying to be heard, how do we make sure we only take in what we need to?

It’s not easy to avoid all that is clamouring for our attention, or discern the times and tides, especially when so many fresh opportunities are coming our way.  A new year is rife with resolution, full of possibility, potential and hope.

As I try to recover from the festive season, my body is signalling a need to rest but my mind is inclined to pursue the enticement of the Now and the New. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real issue for many—me, too, sometimes. We can become stalled by indecision, paralysed by too much choice and derailed by the very real possibility of disappointment.

At the risk of lagging behind, disappointing or letting people down, it’s better for us to be true to how we’re currently situated and what we’re capable of without jeopardising our physical or mental health.

My spirit longs to listen to what God is saying to me first and foremost , knowing His ways—though seemingly counter-intuitive at times—are always the best. It pays to heed holy whispers. If He is whispering caution, waiting and rest, then I hesitate to press ahead with the next big thing, because in the end it will fail or I will falter, crash and collapse if I ignore the warning signs.

I love to write and in order to do so I have to prioritise, make creative space, rest, pace and avoid doing anything else for the day that’s an exhausting activity for me. It’s all about calling, priorities and sensitivity to Holy Spirit’s leading and guiding, and giving ourselves permission to rest and recover when we need to.

It won’t wash with me

Political spin

won’t wash with me; I’m resting

in God’s plans, you see

haiku-it-wont-wash-with-me-pj

 

No spin

Life’s waves wash over

my still frame—caught fast by pain

I refuse to spin

haiku-no-spin-pj

 

Wash me radiant

Wash me radiant

Let your love spin in my heart

Warm from dawn to dark

haiku-wash-me-radiant-pj

 

Today’s haiku have been inspired by the prompt of ‘Spin&Water’ —(which my tired brain somehow interpreted as ‘Spin&Wash’ instead… oops… so that’s what I’ve based these poems on!)—from our poet master, Ronovan, of ronavonwrites.  Just click here to see the rest of the posts and join in if you’d like to.

How are you sifting the wheat from the chaff as you make plans for 2017?

What new thing (or word) has God given you for the days ahead?

A wintry perspective

Perspective file image

As one in the autumnal season of her life, I feel the cool approach of winter as something of a reproach.

The harvest season is over for another year. All fruitfulness is vanishing.

Time slides inexorably onwards and the hour-glass gets bottom-heavy.

Minds seize and freeze over and opportunities seem to have died on the vine.

But what if we looked at it differently?

See winter season (physical and otherwise) as one of taking a pregnant pause.

Ground may feel unyielding and hard but much activity goes on beneath the surface.

Dormancy paves the way to expectancy. Spring will come again.

Sometimes we fail to see the wood for the trees. Sap will rise anew.

Each stripping bare, dying back and lying fallow are ways to seek soul sanctuary in God alone.

A season of rest and retreat may be called for. A season to press ‘pause’ on the pursuit of busyness.

A gathering of words and ideas ready to share at Just The Right Moment. I’m heavy with some.

I have a book (or three) I long to give birth to.

A poetry anthology has been a while in the making, compiling and sorting. A devotional book of Prayer Whispers. A memoir.

But nothing is quite ready yet. My physical and mental energy are low, many other demands are being made on me, and God seems to be saying He’s in no rush.

So I wait and lean and learn as my seed sits in the ground growing slow and steady.

Because the best part of a wintry season is the hope is produces in stilled hearts and minds. It holds purpose in the pauses. God is still at work on our behalf. There is beauty in every season of life.

‘A wintry view’

You sit with an autumnal life

surrounded by abundance bright

as you wait for a gradual dying-back

harvest to fall into your thankful lap

Yet hopes can wither over time

unless they’re rooted in The Vine

From my perspective of a wintry view

life takes on a slower, softer, mellow hue

You’re grateful for these lengthening days

as further opportunity to praise

Friends and family remain the greater part

of all you hold dear within your heart

Though there is a Friend, just like a brother,

who sticks closer than any other

He is the One who lights your days

with His constant love and grace

You’ve grown calmer, more serene,

with wisdom visible within

because you’ve learnt it all from Him

Pain and fatigue still pervade your days

You’re grateful when good sleep comes your way

Insecurity stalks you less and less

as do impatience, strain and stress

For you have learnt to relax, yield your life,

found peace is better than struggle and strife

Your dreams, hopes, goals and plans

became a reality in God’s hands

So rest easy, dear fretful, younger version of me,

getting older is not as bad as it seems to be

©JoyLenton2014

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him” ~ Psalm 92:12-15

A wintry view poem pin PJ file image

My wintry perspective is a poetic twist inspired by the challenge set here by my writer friend, James Prescott. Do take a look at his amazing post and be inspired!

I have imagined myself as a more senior woman (around 20 years older than my current age) writing a letter to myself as I am now.

It’s lent itself to a great deal of reflection and may also morph into a post on ‘Words of Joy’ in time to come.