Feeding the hole in your heart.

The art of simplifying starts on the inside out.

There’s a lot of layers of this going on in my own life. I’ve started to shear back even the amount of supplements I take.

Less is more and more is a heart attack.

Have you ever thought about our daily consumption? Christ gives us our daily bread and yet, there’s so much on the daily for us to consume through our eyes, ears, and mouths. Houses are cluttered and messy. The kids are watching YouTube videos they shouldn’t. Obesity is at an all time high.

And yet we’re an evolved species, no? I’m sorry I wasn’t laughing. Okay, I’m sorry again because I totally was.

We are the same people we were when Adam and Eve walked this earth, heads held high to the heavens. We’re bent on the same thing: our personal gain. The only problem is that we’re a flawed species, ruinous and caustic from the taste of sin. So our issue isn’t owning five toasters still in their boxes.

Our issue is our hearts.

My newsletter readers know I’m taking a novel-writing break and writing a non-fiction book about this very thing. Home (and life) organization can’t happen (or at least can’t be sustained) without first searching ourselves and knowing where we stand with God.

From that, all other things flow.

Are you spending time with God? Is it in the form of a rote prayer you’ve said for ages, yet you feel just as stale as the first time you muttered it? Is this time the thirty seconds before you scroll through your Instagram feed?

We’re our own worst enemies, you guys. I can’t even claim that role for Satan since we all know what will happen to him in the end. But us? We have the power through Christ to claim what God has promised to us, if only we listen. But how can we listen if we won’t even sit with Him for a moment?

Look around you. What’s cluttering your head and heart right now? I can guarantee no matter what the problem is, the solution always comes back to whether or not you’re standing beneath God’s wing for protection. Joy isn’t happiness. Joy is the solace of knowing you are God’s even when it’s storming around you. If you don’t know that, it’s no wonder there’s a million dirty socks on your couch right now.

The good news? You already know the way to reverse the course.

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An empty bucket makes the loudest sound.

I’ve lost my edge, I think.

I’m typically a wound up top – let me go, and I spin until I crash into the wall. And not one glorious bang but several awkward thumps that make you want to squint and look away.

I changed that this week.

I’m always perplexed at the idea of not changing. Old dog, new tricks and all that. There are some people who throw up their hands and go, “I am who I am,” and I’ve never related to that.

I am who I am…this week.

I used to think maybe I was roughly two percent sociopath. I mean, if everyone else is so uniquely and utterly themselves, why do I play into these different parts of myself like trying on wigs? But I don’t hate the thought so much anymore. Being restrained to one thing forever? Now that’s what scares me.

God sometimes is the ultimate conductor. I imagine Him watching, perfectly timing my crescendo at the ultimate point so there’s nothing for me to do but to swallow down my own reverbrations and think hard on whether or not I ever want to hear my own noise again.

What I’m saying is this: I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve let stress own me. I’m an all or nothing human being. My all? Homeschooling an ADHD child, morphing into a gym rat, OCD organizing my home, living at Wal-Mart (why? nobody knows), being involved in forty-two ministries at church (most of them I don’t think I officially signed up for, they just sort of bloomed like a well meaning but exhausting flower), and seeking out people I can pour into on the daily.

My bucket was empty, you guys.

And God sent it clanging down the well.

So, I’ve changed things this week. Did you know you can do that? You can just go, “Yeah, no more,” and make life worth living again.

I’m just working out three times a week now, not five, and reduced my exercises. I’ve come to the realization there’s no possible way my house could be more organized and refuse to freak out if I see a lone sock on the living room floor (deep breaths and all that). I’m loving and learning the ways of my child (thank you, podcasts) and getting more in tune with her needs as she gets older. I’ve broken up with Wal-Mart (we still see each other on grocery days, akward but necessary). I’m putting more intention into my church duties now that my overall plate is a little lighter and this has seeped into my personal relationships with those I’m spending time with.

You are not just the way you are. You are the way you choose to be. With God’s grace, we get do-overs every twenty-four hours. Heck, every second of the day, really. When I remember that, I don’t beat myself up. I just keep true to the “p” word (perseverance…let’s just go ahead and clear that up), and walk in step with my Lord who’s always waiting with living water.

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A fearless heart in the back of a wagon.

I’m not afraid of this world.

There was a time when I became very, very afraid. Like when I first became a Christian and it was that scene from The Stepford Wives all over again. I’d look around, and I’d see nothing but blind people more concerned for their caramel macchiato orders than the truth happening all around them.

I used to be one of those people. Hardcore.

In the beginning, it’s scary. You lose everything you know. You lose yourself, or at least the person you thought was yourself. You lose friends or people you thought were your friends. You look up, and you’re alone.

But then you remember, you’re never really alone.

I used to never feel alone growing up. Even without submitting to God, I could feel Him even though I denied it. Sure, I had horrible phases of anxiety and depression and the loneliness that seeps in came with the whole shebang. But I almost felt like someone was watching me, reading me like a character in a book.

What’s happening now all around us doesn’t surprise me. There’s no fear in my heart.

If anything, it gives further evidence of what the Bible has said all along: we are losing ourselves and taking each other with us.

It’s easy to do when you refuse to bend your knee.

I wrote a poem once called “When We go to the Butcher.” It’s about being taken and sitting in the back of a horse-drawn wagon and silently writing an apology letter to my daughter in my head. In the poem, I watch her face, her hands, the everything she’ll never get to be because the enemy’s won, and I’m helpless to save her from her fate. Here’s that poem:


WHEN WE GO TO THE BUTCHER

When we go to the butcher,

I’ll hold your hand so hard

my memory will seep

through your pores

and you’ll be looking

down on your little eyes

and little nose

and two lips glued

tight into a cherub’s smile

and you will hear my heart

at your ear

and the way it says “I’m sorry.”

When we go to the butcher

your father will be sitting

at my right and at my left,

an empty place where fear

resides, and if I could

be a something better.

we’d never be riding

in the first place.

When we go to the butcher

remember all those times,

but not just the good.

Remember me, a little

monster,

a fly off the handle,

hellish time of a girl

turned woman

turned something

turned and pickled

with fear’s empty space.

But when we go to the butcher

also know about my brave

little heart.

How courage is what lights

it a-thump.

And alights yours, too,

with my hopelessly

hopeful prayers.


But isn’t that every day though? The idea that we really have no control over anything?

Our children are not ours. WE are not ours. Ownership belongs to God alone and we are merely here to enact His will, one that trumps anything we could ever plan to do.

There’s no fear when somebody else is in charge. There’s just constant observation and a heart struggling with the reality of seeking light in the darkness.

And really, you can’t even hear the “I’m sorry” that plays on my lips anymore.

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