I love clean, empty spaces. Fresh opportunities for creativity, goals, and accomplishments as well as restoring and recreating. In fact, my family probably groans a little inside when I bring up another new idea or project. But there’s nothing quite as refreshing and rejuvenating to me as working on transformations. Creating or repurposing items with little cost. They are my “go to” de-stressors and relaxation therapy.
I recently came up with this idea to create a little writing/working nook for myself. Since our ministry office is currently set up in the spare room of our house, and our school room is full, I was trying to be creative in how I could create a small, semi private alcove where I could work while blocking out some distractions. Plus I wanted a better “landing spot” for our mail and other “to do” projects, rather than cluttering our kitchen counter. With a bit more organization, I was able to find a better place for these closet items that were causing this clutter as well as creating an area where I could simply close the door. Drum roll please….I’m now in the process of replacing my always-messy, floor-covered closet space into a cozy, closet cubbyhole. And I think I’m going to love it and use it a lot. My sweetheart so kindly helped me with this project during the holiday break, but it’s still a bit of a work in progress.
Opening my new devotional journal for 2020 also fills my heart with hope and anticipation in the spiritual growth I’d like to experience this year. The new year ahead is such a beautiful, clean canvas. Full of such amazing possibilities for each of us…IF we allow it to be that.
I wonder if our Creator God doesn’t also desire to see our lives in much the same way I see clean, empty spaces. The incredible beauty of potential and purpose. Recreating something with greater function and value.
Is God wanting to recreate and repurpose your life in 2020?
Our culture is permeated by narcissism. Me-centeredness is becoming much too prevalent. We don’t have to look very far to see many individuals struggling and balking towards authority. It seems to become harder to commit to accountability and structure. What feels good and right to the individual is our new standard of morality. Cocky attitudes rather than humble entreaties are causing havoc within our youth.
I really believe our culture is affecting us in much the same way as the frog in a pot of boiling water. Complacency is all around us. Christians who used to be “on fire” for the Lord are now barely “lukewarm.” Far too many are completely walking away from their faith in God. Yet they believe they are becoming “better people” because of it. Talk about Satan’s deception!
Photos on Instagram and social media accounts continue to portray moral looseness and lack of convictions, and I’m afraid we’re becoming numbed to sin, because of this bombardment. What does it do to our own convictions and morale when we’re daily infiltrated by this complacency?
So how do we live godly lives while submerged in a narcissistic world? These six steps will help each of us…
1.) Being willing to deny ourselves. This encompasses many areas of our lives. Are we making healthy choices in how we treat our bodies? Are we being controlled by our cravings or God’s better plan of self control? Do our financial decisions reflect an extravagant life? Are we facing financial stress because of poor money management? Do we walk around with feelings of entitlement, or do we choose to focus on the gifts we already possess? Are we able to truly enjoy the simple things in life? Are we able to patiently wait for what we desire, or have we lost the blessing of denying ourselves and taking up our cross?
2.) Welcoming the protection, freedom, and beauty found in authority. I don’t know if you’ve noticed it yet or not, but we’re seeing the results of disrespectful children growing up into disrespectful adults. Because they’ve never learned to appreciate God’s gift of authority structure. Boundaries and accountability are a blessing. However, it amazes me how many individuals seem to want to get away from authority rather than seeing it for the gift and protection it is to each of us. Surrender is never easy, but always essential. Have we embraced the reality that there is absolutely no room for narcissism in surrender?
3.) Becoming unwilling to accept “grey areas” in our lives. In spite of God and His word never changing, the list of what we call “grey areas” continues to grow. What would change in our lives if we saw everything as either drawing us closer to God or pushing Him away? Would we watch the same movies? Read the same books or do the same activities? What does 1 Pet. 4:18 mean? “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” In my own paraphrase…If those who are actually doing right are barely able to make it to heaven, what will happen to those who are doing wrong or deliberately participating in things that push God away?
4.) Realizing the spiritual importance of organization and goals. Goals are important. A desire for better relationships and stronger marriages press us forward. Organization is important. In fact, one of our goals for our family in 2020 is to be more organized and intentional with our time. Intentionality creates more white space in our lives with less stress. When we have less stress, we create a more peaceful environment for those we love. God is a God of order. I believe He delights when we structure our lives in an orderly manner as well.
5.) Accepting our struggles and challenges without blaming others. Narcissism creates shallowness. Because of feelings of entitlement and victimhood, many are unprepared to face life’s disappointments–much less unable to face these challenges with a grateful heart. Gratefulness is the anecdote for depression and bitterness. A life of faith is clearly defined in scripture and never portrays an easy one without suffering. What is our response to brokenness, pain and unfairness in our life?
6.) Not allowing our pain and suffering to distort our view of God. Pain and suffering is an essential part of life. It enables a deep faith. A faith that defies all odds and is truly supernatural. A correct view of God produces a correct faith and authentic walk with God, while a shallow relationship with God is based on whether He heals, delivers, or rescues us in the way we think we deserve. The prosperity and “name it and claim it” gospel can be extremely detrimental. Yes, we are called to walk in faith. But our faith is never greater than when our prayers of faith are not answered and yet we still believe in God’s faithfulness. Focusing on God’s goodness while suffering pain and loss is our greatest epitome of faith.
Our lives can be a clean canvas for God to create His greatest masterpiece. Are we allowing our life to be a clean, empty space for God to use in 2020? He may want to repurpose us into something far more useful and beautiful. If we allow His transformation, 2020 could be our greatest and most fulfilling year yet.
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)