Transformation can be tough. Ask anyone whose ever tried to be someone else, or change vocations, or continue to keep their marriage strong, or break a nasty habit.
My goal this year: To quit copying the behaviors and customs of this world, while cooperating in a process that will change not only the way I act, but the way I think. There are three important components to this transforming process, for me: spiritual, emotional, and relational. My faith that transformation will occur is based on my strong desire to further develop as a person, my rock hard belief in the power of habit formation, and my confidence that as I become a more willing participant in God’s plan for my life good things will come of it.
Partnerships are always good business!
Today, I want to write about THREE current projects underway in my life. The first addresses my ongoing attempts at living a simpler life, ie: minimalism. The second includes my efforts to step back from previous commitments, to pursue a more balanced life. The third is about The Healing Journey, a 7 month commitment I made that I am hoping will equip me to lead others to greater victory in their lives. I want to help them get un-stuck. First, though, I have to figure out how to do that for me.
SIMPLER LIVING 101
This past weekend’s de-cluttering, donating, and doing-it-up-right project included tackling the long ignored and dreaded pile of paperwork that has been haunting our home.
First, the TJ Maxx bag of doom…
That bag, no kidding, weighs about 20 lbs, or so it seems. It is HUGE and it was overflowing. Note: Hope Word-WAS! The bag wasn’t all there was to tackle. Oh, no! There was also this…
That’s about six months of neglected mail shoved in there. Oh, and that stack below the mail holder–that’s overflow and “stuff” the mister has collected, but neglected to put away. We apparently decided to weigh it down (read: hold it in place so it doesn’t go all over the floor), with his Bible.
But wait, we still aren’t done. There was also this! A basket full of books, cords, cleaner attachments and maps and tourist pamphlets from a vacation we took three years ago. Yep, we kept it all. Why? Who knows!
This is what we had to deal with once all the hidey-holes were cleared and the phone directory drawer was emptied. This table is approximately six feet long, and the stack was four inches high!
Here’s a close up view of my mess.
And this…this is the ONE container that was left after I had sorted through that mess piece by piece and separated the “important” papers that remained from the sentiments (card, notes, and pictures the kids have drawn).
All those papers on the right are owner manuals we might need to reference and important retirement paperwork relative to mister’s now-lifelong vacation.
This is the ever-growing stack of books I have decided need to find a new home. If you see anything you’d like, let me know. We can work out a way to get them to you. All I ask if that you pay the postage. Those that remain after gifting some to friends will be donated to area churches, libraries and finally, Good Will.
TIME AND TIME AGAIN
While de-cluttering my home has been a practice in pleasure for me, trimming personal time commitments has brought the most peace. I recently stepped down from teaching, something I have enjoyed for decades. Doing research, building a lesson plan, and delivering my findings to grateful “students” has been a passion of mine for longer than I can remember, but this past year it has been plain hard. Inspiration had waned, and I have become increasingly convinced that I was headed in the wrong direction. The research no longer held my attention. The class time experience equally fell short. Pretty soon I was resenting the study I needed to put in to feel properly prepared to teach. Eventually, I realized that it was time to quit. It was hard to walk away from something that others say I do well, but I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. The lessons didn’t matter as much to me. The flame had nearly been extinguished.
What I have discovered as a result of giving up something that had grown increasingly trying was that I gained extra hours in my week that could be used to bake bread, read, enjoy luxuriously long conversations with family and friends, and escape the criticisms of people who don’t do what I do, but think it comes easily. Everyone’s a critic, but criticism is not why I stopped teaching. It was just time.
As a result of trimming back on activities that were not all that joyful anymore, I have begun to dream again and my intuition seems to have gotten a kick-start. I’m writing fiction again, experiencing the wildest and wackiest dreams during my sleep hours, and feeling more relaxed than I have in a long, long time.
THE HEALING JOURNEY
Last night we began this intensive study (no, I’m not leading it). I think THJ is going to challenge me emotionally, spiritually, and relationally! Woohoo! It involves group study, individual study and practice, and group discussion–all things I love! It promises to push me in areas where I’d rather not be pushed, but also claims to bring a new peace and sense of authenticity to my life. Most thrilling of all is the sense I have that through this study I will be introduced once again to the Lori that transforms her world, instead of being conformed to the dictates of others. I can’t wait to see her rise from the ashes. She’s been gone too long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What is your wildest hope for yourself in one year, five years, or ten years from now? When you are emotionally, spiritually, or relationally challenged, where do you turn for help?