Clutter…I seem to be having a problem with clutter. There’s always the pile of mail, receipts, coupons, advertising, etc. that’s piled onto a corner of my kitchen counter. I can remove it in the morning and its back by evening.
Then there’s my office...I seem to just move the piles around. It really bothers me that it’s such a mess, but I procrastinate at putting it in order, and when I do decide to tackle it, I am easily distracted and the job doesn’t get completed. Why do I do that?
I heard a sermon this past Sunday on clutter. Well, not exactly clutter, but about the condition and content of my heart, and I related that to clutter. The pastor said we determine the content of our heart by what we see, say, and do. Of course I am convicted that I’m not doing a very good job of keeping clutter from building up in my own heart. Thank goodness for conviction!
But how do I determine what is clutter and what do I do about it? I think the “seeing” part of the content is a problem for me. It’s so easy to sit down in front of the television to enjoy some down time, and just watch whatever. I remember walking in on my kids numerous times while they were watching TV to see a love scene or hear curse words. “What are you watching?” I would say. “Really, Mom, that just came out of nowhere. It was really a good show until you walked in!” they would reply. And you know, that has happened to me. Just a few weeks ago I went on a girls’ trip to Nashville with friends. We decided to go see Captain America at the movies. About midway through it I made an excuse about going to the bathroom, and then never went back into the movie. It was just too much action and violence for me. The point is I can still see images of the fighting and killing in my mind. I can still see images from the movie Psycho that I watched in high school and scared me to death. Sometimes they come back to my memory in the middle of the night. All those images I’ve collected over my 62 years, it’s all there in piles, cluttering up my mind and heart, and I am the one that determines what I add to those piles, on purpose or not.
Proverbs 4:23-27 says to guard my heart, avoid dirty talk, look straight ahead, mark out a straight, safe path and don’t get sidetracked. That means it is my choice to do what I know is right in God’s sight. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have help. King David asked God to search him and point out anything that offends, and lead him down that straight, safe path (Psalm 139:23-24). Guess I have some clutter to clean out!
Lisa Harris helps in the office of the Refresh Ministry Women Department of the SoMo District Council AG. She is a pastor's wife, mother and grandma, and a new transplant to Springfield MO. She is actively pursuing new friendships and welcomes any opportunities to connect with the pastor's wives of SoMo District AG.
Need a friend? Be a friend. Plain and simple as that. Not so simple, you may say. Indeed, maybe not, especially if you are by nature an introvert. For the introvert, developing friendships can be a slow and tedious process. I know because I am one.
I recently read a blog that helped me understand myself as an introverted pastor’s wife who has spent her life seeking and finding great and lasting friendships. I have modified the information I found, adding to each discovery a Suggestion. I want you to understand that you are normal; you are uniquely who God created you to be. His desire is that you walk this life with friends. My prayer is that you would gain understanding of how you are wired and pursue friendships that meet the need in your life.
1. We love people. However being around lots of people for an extended period of
time can be draining. Suggestion: When you are with people, give them your best. They deserve God’s love flowing through you.
2. We need space. We need physical space - time, solitude, quiet and the grace to be allowed to withdraw from people and re-energize alone. Suggestion: Plan into your schedule time to regroup, without feeling guilty. Give yourself permission to take this
opportunity because it will not only benefit you, but your family and those you lead.
3. We most likely will not be the social hub of the congregation. It’s ok; we are
not wired that way. Suggestion: Affirm those you lead. Celebrate who they are by acknowledging their gifts and find ways to encourage them.
4. We are not exclusive. We function best in a small circle of friends because making friends is a process and takes time. Suggestion: Invite someone to lunch who seems to have few or no friends. Make her feel special because you took time to notice her.
5. We probably would rather email or text than call on the phone. This doesn’t mean that you are unfriendly, just that you may need to mentally prepare yourself for the conversation to come. In fact, talking face-to-face is preferred because we are able to read body language and facial expressions to help us understand people’s intentions. Suggestion: If emailing or texting is preferred, then use it as a tool to speak life into other’s lives. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you when you need to make those
phone calls. Ask a family member or friend to hold you accountable for it.
6. We like to listen. This is a gift. We process internally and thoroughly, not making snap judgments about others or the subject of other’s conversations.
7. We thrive on serving the Kingdom outside of the limelight. We most likely enjoy working behind the scenes, organizing details, perhaps alone and quietly without any fanfare. Suggestion: Avoid hurt feelings by accepting that it takes every member of the body of Christ for The Church to be effective.
8. We have a hard time saying no. This can lead to way too many things on your plate, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and frustrated. Suggestion: Learn to say, “No.” The Word says to not become weary in well-doing. Do His assignment!
9. We cannot “fix” ourselves and become an extrovert. God created us uniquely.
Being an introvert is not a flaw or a weakness in and of itself. Suggestion: I believe that a blessed life is a balanced life. God can help us to step out of our comfort zones and initiate friendship. His Word say, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly…” Proverbs18:24, KJV.
10. We are not perfect. It’s okay. No one is. Suggestion: Accept it. Strive for
excellence, not perfection.
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