Recently, I bought a new dress at Carsons’ Going Out of Business sale. Oh, and a new top. Both for the price of $56. The dress is black and sleeveless with big white circles in a pattern on the body of the dress. The best part of the dress is it’s A-line style which makes it free-flowing over the hips and very comfortable! AND it has a slimming effect because it hides the not-so-flattering bulges underneath. Nice. Best of all, my husband noticed the new dress when I wore it for the first time and was VERY complimentary:-). You know you’ve got a winner when that happens!
Problem. When I put the dress on to wear it to church for the first time, I needed the perfect necklace to go with the black and white. Which I had….somewhere…..in the midst of a disorganized mess of jewelry in various places. When we moved from Georgia to Indiana two years ago, I did not have time to go through my jewelry, discard unwanted pieces and organize the rest. So….for two years I have basically used a small portion of the earrings, necklaces and bracelets I own. Those would be the pieces I put in a small jewelry travel case. The rest of my jewelry ended up thrown in a clear plastic storage container, or various drawers in the bathroom, closet and bedroom.
I knew I had a single pearl in a 14k gold setting on a fine 14k gold chain, somewhere. So I commenced to look for it. I pulled out every container of jewelry I could find and searched everywhere to no avail. (That pearl necklace was one of the gifts my late husband gave me early in our marriage along with a pearl ring, which I couldn’t find either.) In the process of the search, I left jewelry everywhere! On the dresser. On the bathroom counter. On the bed. Did I mention I was in a hurry? Did I mention I was supposed to be at the church in 20 minutes? So I left a mess in the wake of my desperate search. I never did find the necklace that morning:-(.
Now I am in the process of going through all this jewelry to finally organize and discard or give away any I don’t use anymore. The task seems daunting. I did not realize HOW MUCH “bling” I really had since it has been hidden away for several years. Who NEEDS that much jewelry?! If I tried to wear every piece of jewelry I own at least once for the next 3 months, maybe I would exhaust the pile. Maybe. So, bottom line, I have an EXCESSIVE amount of “bling!” Can anybody relate out there?!
In the midst of this “bling” dilemma, I realized it’s not just an abundance of jewelry that is the problem. There are other areas that need to be trimmed. Like my food intake, spending habits, “stuff” to decorate our house and worry, just to name a few. Maybe you can relate. Your “excess” may not be the same as mine, but I bet we could all name a few areas where we could cut out unnecessary things that are weighing us down. Like overcrowded schedules.
I used to have a major problem with over-committing my time. I couldn’t say no! But I’m learning to put in “margin” and give myself time to breathe. To just be. I’m currently leading a Bible study written by Priscilla Shirer called Breathe. In the study, Priscilla emphasizes the importance of creating Sabbath rest in every area of our lives. If we don’t, we end up slaves to our busy schedules, our debt, our job, our stuff, whatever it is that keeps us from stopping to breathe, rest, re-group and be in the presence of God. We end up doing our own thing, in our own strength, rather than relying on God to equip us, guide us and energize us.
So, I challenge you to evaluate your life and see what you may need to “throw off” to run this race of life more effectively and efficiently. In Hebrews 12:1-3, God admonishes us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles (or trips us up), and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…..” Our “stuff” is weighing us down and preoccupying our thoughts. If we can remove the clutter, maybe, just maybe, we will see the finish line more clearly and Jesus waiting for us. And that will help us run with more purpose and determination. I confess I have wasted too much of my time and monetary resources on things that don’t matter. It’s time to lighten the load, throw off the excess and free myself! Will you join me?
I’m happy to report that my “bling” collection is now whittled down to about half what it was! I’m “throwing” off the rest to someone else who could really use it. When I showed Lane, my husband, the newly organized “bling” collection, his first words were: “So, I won’t be buying you any jewelry for a very loooong time, right?” Hmm. I wasn’t thinking about that possibility. Guess I will need to be more creative with gift ideas:-). The good news is now I know what I actually have and can find it easily when I want it:-). It does feel good to have my “bling” organized and scaled way back.
Friends, I challenge you to think of one area in your life (just one to get started) you know is out of control and weighing you down. Make a battle plan to attack that problem area and “throw off the excess!” It will feel so good!! Check out the picture of my newly organized “bling” collection:-).
God is talking to me about another area of “excess” in my life, but that’s another conversation for another time……..to be continued…….
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the way you provide for me each and every day. A home. Food and clothing (much more than I need). Loving relationships. Your presence with me. Help me today to throw off things that keep me focused on earthly “stuff” and help me watch out for sinful attitudes and actions that might trip me up. Keep me on course and help me run with perseverance, determination and discipline the course you have mapped out for me. Keep me “on map, on mission” and focused on the prize!
In Jesus name, Karen Renae
P.S. Only 6 more days to reach my goal of 60 days of “Pop, Drop and Pray!” I will admit there are days I don’t “pop.” It’s more like “drag” myself out of bed. But I am making it a priority to spend time in prayer before I get going on my day:-). And God is meeting me there…….I will keep on, keeping on!