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Friday, December 6, 2013

What's in your bag? ....De-clutter!

Where have I been? Big question sis! Big question! I’m not sure even I realized just how much time had passed since my last post until a couple of days ago when my daughter said something to the effect that she’d thought I wouldn’t be blogging anymore after the book Uniquely Woman was published. I can only guess that she came up with that because she hadn’t seen me at my desk for a while. I assured her the blog was still very much alive, her response being a quick kiss on my cheek and a sing-song ‘okey-dokey mama’ as she left me to work. After she’d left, I thought about how incredibly busy I have been at work over the past month, and how in my quieter moments after work, I have very truthfully reveled in doing nothing more than ‘absolutely nothing’ ….literally! Believe me when I say we all need times like that. I think that it takes a certain kind of emotional and spiritual maturity to be confident in, and comfortable enough with yourself that you are at peace even in your ‘doing absolutely nothing’ periods. We can’t go through life always on a ‘purpose high’. There must be times when we are able to slow down and simply ‘be’, intentionally silencing the many noises around us. Indeed I believe that in those quiet times, we are more open to hearing the deep and quiet things which the Lord speaks to us. It is in this quiet space that I had an experience that I would like to share with you.

Now ordinarily, I am not very big on many of the things a good percentage of women consider to be of prime importance. I just can’t bring myself to be too concerned with my hair, nails, clothes, shoes, jewelry, bags, etc. I must have slept through most of the life classes where such topics were taught, lol. And yeah, I can already hear some of you who know me from a distance thinking ‘Nah! That can’t be true’. But my closest of family and friends know for a fact that I get my make-up on in 3 minutes flat; work happily through a very limited wardrobe; have no interest in labels and certainly never follow trend; can barely tell the difference between real gold and anything else which shines; put on nail polish in the car (if I really need to); wear wigs more often than not because I hate hair salons; and only have a few pairs of shoes, of which I am very happy to wear one or two in particular just about every day, lol.

On the flip side though, I am still very much a girl-scout though I guess I take the motto ‘Be prepared’ a bit too far. You see, while some of my sisters carry entire make-up kits, hair brushes, perfumes, etc in their bags, yours truly carries everything including a sewing kit, scissors, measuring tape, nail clippers, safety pins, plasters, corrector fluid, a mini torch, screwdrivers, and my multi-function penknife in mine. Yep, as far as the contents of my bags go, I am a trip-and-a-half no doubt. That said, I can assure you that many a time I have had to bail out some seriously glammed-up sister with my needle and thread (amazing how those zippers give out on you at the strangest of times and places isn’t it?), or carry out some emergency electrical fixes using my screwdrivers, so it can’t be all bad.

I am also a woman who is ready, willing and able to carry the same handbag for months in a row. I once had a friend describe my every day bag as my ‘National Anthem’. My precious husband buys me new bags every so often, but his challenge remains getting me to actually use the bags and admittedly, for his sake, I am trying, lol. Anyhow, yesterday was one of those days when I decided of my own accord to switch bags. Mind you, my idea of switching bags is to empty everything out on the bed and then stuff everything right back into another bag in no particular order. Sometimes I’m good though and actually arrange the stuff in the bag   …..Sometimes!

I love how God ministers to us through the oddest of things. I had looked down at the jumble of things I’d emptied out of my handbag and asked myself whether I really and truly needed to carry as much as I did daily; particularly as on most days, I barely open the bag at all between getting to work and getting home again in the evening. I thought how some of the contents had since outlived their purposes – for instance, my children are way past the age when I constantly needed to have plasters handy but I still carried them. I laughed at myself a bit and then reached forward to begin stuffing…. I mean, ‘putting’ the things into my other bag, when the Lord spoke to me and said “How like the lives of My children this is”. Oh wow! I stopped and allowed the Holy Spirit minister to me. The Lord showed me that whereas He says we should cast our cares upon Him, mostly we cast our cares (empty our bag) in the place of prayer, but immediately stuff our bags with the same exact cares when we rise from His presence, not stopping to think that this is itself a manifestation of fear, core unbelief and a fundamental lack of faith in God’s ability to work all things out for our good.  

God showed me how over the course of our lives, we literally stuff our bags (our lives) with a whole lot of things we have absolutely no business carrying. Some things we use as crutches, giving ourselves a sense that we are protected because they are in our space. We hold on to some things, the purpose for which has long since passed, but which are comfortable and familiar. Some things we hold on to because we know deep inside that letting them go means we must necessarily take those new steps we are so afraid to take.  Some things we carry with us because the world, or the people around us also carry them and we have a sense that they are needed for us to be complete and acceptable in the eyes of ‘people’.  Some things we hold on to in fear really, constantly anticipating something not working out, and so holding ourselves as being prepared – not realizing that such a mind-set impinges on our ability to see and lay hold of God-given opportunities that may come our way out of the ashes of something that in our view has not ‘worked out’.

The Lord showed me that even as I was very readily about to stuff the same sets of things – many of which I realized I really didn’t need to carry, right back into a new bag; so also do we His children sometimes know very clearly those things which are no longer useful in our lives, or which we have willingly allowed hold us down, yet every day and through every new season of our lives, we continue to carry those things with us. Time and again therefore, our lives are as heavy as our handbags, and as jumbled inside as the contents of our bags are; and God said, this is not His design or plan for us.

So even as I deliberately took out some of my ‘stuff’ from my bag that evening, I have also had to do some serious reflecting about the stuff I need to get out of my life, and to deliberately take them out – painful though this has sometimes been. Sis, you and I need to decongest our lives so we can live the fullness of that which our Father has purposed for us, and so that there is room enough for Him to infill us with those things which He has purposed for every season of our lives. It’s not easy, that I assure you. Much as my handbag is much lighter, I can tell you that I am still carrying a couple of things that I know I will really not miss if I could only but let go of them. But, I am a work-in-progress so for now I can pride myself in the many things I did take out of my bag (life), and slowly work my way up to letting go of the rest with the grace, power and help of the Holy Spirit. This is what you and I need to do in our lives sis – today and constantly. We need to take those first steps to unclutter our minds, emotions, social calendars, relationships, activities, etc – very deliberately choosing to let go of our crutches, weights, and fears so there can be room enough to truly be who God designed us to be.

You know how it is said that no matter how beautiful and expensive a woman’s bag is, you really don’t want to see what’s inside of it? Well sis, let’s not allow that be the story of our lives okay? Our inner beauty must first radiate the God that is in us, and when this shines out, it will complement the outward natural beauty and other enhancements that we might then choose to adorn our physical selves with. What are you carrying in your bag sis? Empty it out now! Screen the contents with a dispassionate eye, and then, de-clutter as intentionally as you are able to. Lighten your inner load sis, so that you can truly shine for the Lord. He will help you sis… as surely as He is helping me!

Be blessed sis… for you surely are!


1 comment:

  1. So funny, I was just thinking I hadn't had an email of your blog in a while and here one comes that's just so awesome. I love how open you are to having God speak to you in the 'ordinariness' and mundaneness of life. I hope others feel as set free as I do, that hearing from God is not some super spiritual experience that requires prayer, fasting and 7 day retreats :)

    He's doing a great work through you and I for one am blessed.

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About Me

Entrepreneur, Mentor, Wife, Mother, Sister, Friend. A firm believer in God. Walking in faith everyday that by His grace, I will achieve harmony in all areas of my life, and make measurable impact in the lives of other women of the world

WORD FOR THE WEEK

LUKE 1:

34“-How can this be, Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God

JEREMIAH 2:

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth. 7 But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

8 Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. 9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 See, I have this day appointed you to the oversight of the nations and of the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.

1st CORINTHIANS 1:

25 [This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men. 26 For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. 27 [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. 28 And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are,

Colossians 1:

28 Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect) in Christ (the Anointed One).

29 For this I labor [[z]unto weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me.