Ok so blogging regularly would be much easier if I had internet at my house. My goal to post weekly has not been met and I'm a little behind. But hey they say "absence makes the heart grow fonder" right?
So I have been trying for the last 5 months to live more simply, as you have read I can tend to be kind of extreme. After much failure and disappointment coupled with lots of grace and patience the Lord has shown me that he is about freedom, rest, and joy. I love alot of things which makes me want too many things. I love alot of people and sometimes take on too much. My own excitement and love for things can be too much for many and I can even overwhelm myself at times. I can feel a little too intensely. Because I'm a basket (ref: Vessels and Flowers) my natural inclination is to scoop up everything and everyone I love and take them for a ride, which usually isn't a bad thing, in fact, it’s what a basket was made to do. But let me explain how it can become a problem. I get so excited throwing things in my basket and just swinging through life that I don't seem to notice when my basket is overloaded. Yeah the basket gets a little heavy but I’m so busy swinging to the next thing I'd like to pick up and throw in, I forget to actually take inventory of what I already have. Soon enough though, I will start to feel the weight. When I look back to see why it’s so heavy is when I realize I've gone overboard! But it’s too late, things have fallen out and are littered along the road, people have fallen through the holes in the bottom of my basket, some are still holding on for dear life, and others have been flung from the basket with no parachute or safety net which has resulted in serious injury.
When I survey the damage I am devastated and then depending on my spiritual state I'll do one of two things. First one is to start trying to collect the treasures on the side of the road I've dropped while trying to piece together the items that are shattered, help those people that have been hanging on for dear life back to safety, and apologize profusely to those that have actually flown out of my basket, while trying to get them to let me pay their hospital bills. Or two I will freak out, get depressed, lay down my basket and try to pretend it wasn’t mine to begin with and then blame whoever gave it to me saying "how can I be expected to know how to use this, it’s not even mine" or "maybe you shouldn’t have given it to me in the first place." After repeating this cycle several hundred times I realized something wasn't quite right. I knew the Lord had called me into a life of peace, rest and joy but where was it in this crazy cycle??! Knowing there had to be a better way than the chaos I've just explained above, I began asking honest friends and the Lord to search me and know me so I could know myself. What I have found is that there is indeed a better way than what I had been trying. I learned that the definition of insanity is to keep repeating the same actions over and over while every time expecting a different outcome. How often we do this and how insane!! I've come to realize that it’s silly, no downright stupid not to look to the creator of the basket for instructions and specifications. Case in point, I wouldn't buy a porch swing without checking to see how much weight it could hold. I mean what if it was actually made for a small child and only held 80lbs. I weigh 150 this would be a problem. And how fast can this swing go and how high without the chain breaking and sending its passengers soaring to their death. And how silly would it be if the swing were to break and I tried to fix it on my own with no instructions and only a picture of what I think it should look like in my head. Not taking care to learn how to assemble, use, and maintain something properly, especially something that comes with a free manual is just silly, exhausting, prideful, often disappointing, and sometimes downright dangerous.
After many failed attempts to make my basket look how I thought it should look and do what I thought it should do and after filling it to the brim with things I thought it needed to be filled with, the Lord has lovingly and tenderly shown me that His word is an instruction manual containing all the information I need to operate my basket properly so that I can have the freedom, rest, and joy he promises. This brings us to the title of this blog after many tears and frustrations I have learned that endurance is achieved through consistency not through intensity. How many times, for instance, have I decided for NY resolution I am going to completely change my lifestyle and start working out? My basket starts swinging and the next thing I know I'm out getting a gym membership and perhaps paying hundreds for a trainer and then heading to Old Navy or Target and stocking up on the appropriate workout gear only to end up quitting the gym after the fourth week and heading to a Mexican restaurant to gorge myself with the queso I've been deprived of. If only I had been okay taking it slow. Perhaps if I had built up to the gym membership by taking walks in the neighborhood or by hitting the elliptical consistently for a few weeks before deciding on a trainer. Or how about if I had allowed myself queso once or twice a week as a reward for working out, maybe if I hadn't been so intense the pressure would be absent and I might have actually been able to follow through instead of ending up right back where I started feeling worse; and who knows maybe I would've even enjoyed the process. I tend to find myself thinking I have to hurry up and get it together in my walk with Christ, I'm trying to get better fast. I’m trying to get myself cleaned up. I realize pretty quickly I have no idea how to to do this. I've started out intensely determined, I've bought all the gear and signed up for all the right bible studies, I've volunteered for all the right ministries, and I've talked to the right people and told everyone I'm going to change. Then after a few weeks I realize despite all my efforts my heart is still the same wicked heart and my head is coming up with the same condemning lies, why is nothing different? Where are all those promises in scripture?
Scripture describes sanctification as a much slower process. I found the Lord whispering "slow down" and "simplify" This is where he gave me the phrase it’s not about intensity it’s about consistency. The Lord is in the business of changing hearts. He said give your business to me. Dedicate yourself to me consistently and I will clean you up and make your chaos calm. I will teach you how I intended your basket to work and what my purpose for your basket is .I delighted much in making you to be in perfect harmony with everything else in my creation. So slowly but steadily over the last 6 months I have tried to slow down and work this consistency into each area of my life. I have seen much fruit from it. I have felt more calm and more joy. I have battled it out with the intensity of my flesh and still do every day. I have found freedom in knowing Christ expects nothing out of me but humble vulnerability and honesty in coming to him. If I trust Him he's got it, after all He made it.
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