Constrained by I Know Not What

rusty-chain

I am reading a lovely book on the creative process.  In it, I am told to do a half an hour of creative work “right now.”  Write a post?  Make cookies?  Work on my novel?  All of these sound like work, and I’m not afraid of work.  But at this moment in time they also sound like toil.

The Bible tells me His yoke is easy.  So, I ask, what can I do that is work, with all work’s inherent creativities and satisfactions, but without toil?

Laundry.  Dirty clothes in the wash, clean ones ironed.  It is a clearing of the mind exercise, which will pave the way for a more deeply creative endeavor.  Perhaps.

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But alas, all this, all these tools I attempt to use, they leave me pretty much where I was, only with clean laundry.  Dull, constrained by I know not what.

I read the words of Jesus, telling me not to worry, which was what got me into this funk in the first place.  I go back for more of His words, put on Celtic Woman, diffuse lemon essential oil and make my bed – so lovely.  And yet.

“I will conquer this,” is a mantra no longer of any use.  “A smart girl like you oughtta be able to figure this out,” is yet another mantra gone by the wayside., at least for the time being.  It’s beginning to feel complicated.

Complication, I know, is the nasty covering over truth, which is always simple.

God never meant to be a formula.  He meant to be a friend.  Sought out, communed with, adored, enjoyed.  The author of all things lovely and right, acknowledged, experienced, loved.

As always, I will return to the Word.  Not for a get-by message, but to enter into His very presence.  Everything else can wait.  Even my book, the one that told me to go DO something.

This one thing I can and will do:  Be still and know that He is God.  Shhh.  Listen.  Be still.

Ah, and Heaven is helping.  It’s beginning to rain.  What could be better than rain to reestablish rhythms of grace?  Perhaps a walk in the rain?

little-girl-in-puddle

Constraints?  What constraints?

Family First?

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Or last?

One of the many beauties of home education is that family comes first, naturally.  The fruits of that, provided grace is in place, are unlimited, and this was brought home to me recently when I read an article about eliminating negative people (especially those who hinder living in faith and love) from our lives.

I respect the author of this article, and gave serious thought to her words.  Was I not eliminating such people out of fear of conflict, or perhaps because I’m too nice?  Were they truly a hindrance?  There was no question that these people are difficult and tiring, but were they really a problem?  A spiritual roadblock?

No.  And here’s why:  My family keeps me strong, on track.  We pray with and for each other, and with and for others, every single day.  When I am brought down by someone or something and make my fall evident with frustration and negativity, someone in my family will do as I’ve asked them to do:  Don’t let me get away with it!

We learned from Pastor Keith Moore’s example to say, in response to negativity (anything contrary to scripture), “If you say so.”

Aaaargh!  It makes us wanna box someone’s ears (I’ve been reading too much Georgette Heyer, if there’s any such thing as too much Georgette Heyer ).  But, instead, we take deep breaths, roll our eyes, wrinkle our noses as though at a very unpleasant odor, and change our words.

Example:

Me: I’m sick to death of his crap and I’m gonna give him a piece of my mind.”

Brat Child of Mine with Snarky Grin:  “If you say so.”

Me:  Really deep breath, mutterings, stomps, yeah-buts, etc.  Another deep breath.  “I am taking his nonsense as an unconscious cry for help, and I’m not giving him a piece of my mind because obviously I can’t spare it, and I’m going to stop and pray for him right now.  Will you, dearest child, agree with me in prayer?”

I just strengthened myself, lightened the load of the child who has to listen to MY crap, and prayed myself right out of Satan’s way of thinking and doing, and changed things for the person I prayed for.  Rather than a piece of my mind, he got a piece of God’s love.  Amen!

 

“NO!” to Corrupt Communication, “YES!” to Grace

file000868689848 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” – Paul, in Ephesians 4:29

Paul says you have the say so.  YOU “let” no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.  If you have to duct tape your lips together, you just say “No!” to corrupt words.  “Corrupt” in this instance is translated from the Greek word sapros, meaning:

  1. rotten, putrefied

  2. corrupted by one and no longer fit for use, worn out

  3. of poor quality, bad, unfit for use, worthless

So, what kind of words, then, do we use?  Words good for edifying and ministering grace.  Let’s begin with “edify”, which comes from the Greek word oikodome, meaning:

  1. (the act of) building, building up

  2. metaph. edifying, edification
    1. the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness

  3. a building (i.e. the thing built, edifice)

Now, let’s look into ministering grace.  “Minister” is from the Greek word didomi, meaning:

  1. to give

  2. to give something to someone
    1. of one’s own accord to give one something, to his advantage
    2. to bestow a gift

  3. to grant, give to one asking, let have

  4. to supply, furnish, necessary things

  5. to give over, deliver
    1. to reach out, extend, present

    2. of a writing

    3. to give over to one’s care, entrust, commit
      1. something to be administered
      2. to give or commit to some one something to be religiously observed
  6. to give what is due or obligatory, to pay: wages or reward

  7. to furnish, endue

  8. to give
    1. to cause, profuse, give forth from one’s self
    2. to give, hand out lots
  9. to appoint to an office
  10. to cause to come forth, i.e. as the sea, death and Hell are said to give up the dead who have been engulfed or received by them
  11. to give one to someone as his own
    1. as an object of his saving care

    2. to give one to someone, to follow him as a leader and master

    3. to give one to someone to care for his interests

    4. to give one to someone to whom he already belonged, to return

  12. to grant or permit one
    1. to commission

And now for grace.  In the Bible, “grace” has different shades of meaning, from different roots, all of them marvelous, powerful, and wonderful.  In this verse, “grace” is derived from the Greek word charis, meaning:

  1. grace
    1. that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech

  2. good will, loving-kindness, favour
    1. of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues

  3. what is due to grace
  4. the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace

  5. the token or proof of grace, benefit
    1. a gift of grace

    2. benefit, bounty

  6. thanks, (for benefits, services, favours), recompense, reward

And now, let’s put ourselves on the receiving end.  Do I want to be the recipient of corrupt words–putrid words, words unfit for use, rotten words, death words?  I think not.  I was not created for this.  In God’s very image, I am created for love, for grace, and to minister grace.

Our mates, children, friends, and associates have no need of any corrupt communication which may be trying to “proceed out of our mouths.”

Choose life and say so.