One Word

Pastor Craig challenged us to think of one word this year, something God put on our hearts, to really focus on achieving/incorporating into our lives. It took me the rest of Sunday evening, and into the night to think of my word. Just as my sweet husband drifted to sleep, my word hit me…

“Contentment!”

Startled awake, I think he told me that it was fine, but why right that second? Goodnight hunny.

I’ve been hesitant to share my word, because then you might know if I’ve failed.

I’ve been hesitant to share my word, because then you might know I’m tempted to want too much.

I’ve been hesitant to share my word, because then I might have to commit to it.

Well, my word is contentment. See, it took me those hours, and asking over and over again, because I was trying to come up with a word for the budget that wasn’t “budget.” I have a budget. Sticking to said budget…different story. And I can’t always point the finger at someone else for not following the plan. I like to go eat with the hubby when the kids are gone. And I can justify just about any spending I want to do. And when I can’t, the hubby is quick to say something that justifies it, and you know, he’s the smarter one, so I just go with it!

After really thinking about a not-budget-budget word, I thought I might go with health. I mean, I need to lose the pounds. I need to exercise. I need to eat right. I need to do all of that, and I struggle with it. Then I went back to budget. Then parenting. Like, maybe I could try to be supermom this year and make crafty lunches, and really expound on our lessons, and read a hundred pages in a book every day, and mop every floor in the house, and cook three meals, with multiple courses, every day. And I could throw “wife-ing” in there, and fold the laundry and… I started turning my word into a to-do list – the same one that haunts me daily for all of the things I miss and mess up.

I’m sure God said it while we were at church. And while we drove home. And while we sat on the couch. I sure asked at those times, and others. Or maybe He waited because He knew that I had to get quiet enough to listen. And when I did, He told me that I need to focus on contentment.

I was excited at first! Yes, contentment! I could see that in the budget, if I was content, I wouldn’t spend, I would live within my means. I could see contentment in my health. If I am content, I won’t overeat to cope with a stressful day. If I am content I can take the time to exercise. I could see contentment in my parenting, making me more patient, more devoted.

Then, God slowed me down, and told me to just be content, to allow my gratitude for the blessings I have, and the joy from Him overflow. And then…

Jesus is enough. The rest of what you have is a blessing, responsibility, or both, that I have given you. But with or without any of those things, Jesus is enough.

Do you have a word that you are focusing on this year?

I decided to start.

After missing church a week ago because of being stuck in the hospital, I was very ready to go to service yesterday, and it was a good one. I just checked, and it hasn’t been posted yet, but you should be able to find it here: http://www.lifechurch.tv/watch in the next day or two. Our current series is called “My Story”. As a writer, the title caught my eye right away, and the message caught my heart just as quickly.

Pastor Craig challenged us to start a new discipline, something to positively impact our daily lives, to help us live the story God wants us to tell. The first thing that came to mind is the dishes. Making a conscious decision to not go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink (or on the counter, or hiding in the oven!) I’ve been thinking about this habit lately, because we are about to embark on the home schooling journey once more, and organization is essential (in my opinion) for staying on task with school.

And the dishes have a big part to do with my being able to stay organized. See, when the dishes are done, I seem to be able to tackle other tasks, but when the dishes pile up, soon I am overwhelmed by dishes, laundry, clutter, dirty floors, dirty bathrooms and bedrooms, and I don’t know where to start and so I never do. Then the house is a mess, I’m stressed, and I start taking it out on the kids. Bad cycle.

But if I do the dishes every night, then when I wake up I can do a load of laundry, pick up the floor and sweep, wipe down the bathroom, and the house looks decent. I am less stressed. I play with the kids more. My love comes home to a happy baby momma and happy kids. Good cycle.

Yet, I was downplaying all of this and even telling myself that the dishes are not a spiritual enough goal for this discipline thing. Pastor Craig said we could only pick 1 new habit to start…so that quickly abolished my list of 15 “I will instantly become super woman” new disciplines. And along with abolishing that list of 15, it wiped out the “It’s day three, and I’ve already failed everything on the list” that was sure to happen, too.

I got to have a great conversation with my bestie yesterday, and we were talking about church and I told her about my dishes dilemma. And how silly it felt to say I’m going to do the dishes every single night before bed. I admitted how I felt like it wasn’t a spiritual enough discipline to start, especially since the inspiration was a message from church. Then, because she knows me so well, she reminded me that I know how many good things come from this one good habit, and that with such a long list of good things, the enemy wants me to think it’s not the right goal. Because let’s face it, if I put away today’s messes at bed time, and start tomorrow off on the right foot, then I am better equipped to receive grace, and give grace, and love like God wants me to. I won’t be weighed down by yesterday’s dirty dishes, and that helps me face today’s many messes.

So, my small new discipline is the dishes. I started last night. You know what happened this morning? I got up at 4:30 (like usual) and tackled another huge mess. And I’m writing, before the kids are awake. And it’s just really nice to not have a massive pile of dishes to work around when it comes to facing today.

What new discipline can you start in your life to help you tell the story God wants you to tell?