Saturday, 28 January 2017

The ever-changing dance of control

The wrestle between control and letting go is an ongoing dance in my life. Sometimes that dance is frenetic with a tugging between my desire to trust and my desire to feel an illusion of safety through control. At other times, it is a slow waltz where I am able to relax a little but can still see that need for control simmering in the background. Just when I think I have the steps of this dance mastered, the music changes. I enter a different season, my hormones flare up, family cohesion shifts, I have to lay down another level of myself. I recognise that this is a dance that will continue throughout my life. The key is letting Jesus lead in the dance and following His steps. I am amazed but shouldn't be at the difference that happens when I am walking in His presence, praying and tapping in to his peace and joy. The situations around me may remain the same and may rage at times. I am sheltered in the midst of the storm. I hear the wind and waves and may even get wet from the spray but I am not consumed by the water. When hit with situations I feel out of control in, I am learning how to let go and rest instead of trying to plan and control.

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday challenge, where writers come together to write for 5 minutes unedited on a prompt word. This week's word was "control" and you can read what thoughts others had on it here.

If you are interested in a bundle of tools to help you be more organised, have a cleaner and clutter free home and manage your time and energy more effectively, check out the amazing Super Bundle on offer until Monday 30th January 2017. (Contains an affiliate link that helps to support me at no extra cost to you.)

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Loosening the grip of clutter from around my neck and how you can too.

If you are anything like me, clutter and disorganisation can creep up on you until you suddenly feel strangled by it. It seems to spiral and compound on itself making it harder and harder to claw back. Part of me is naturally organised but in other ways, I am really relaxed. Becoming a mum took this to a new level. I didn't have the energy or headspace to deal with my environment too often. The bare minimum was done and that was ok for that time. I am no longer living in survival mode, though. 

About two years ago, we had planned to sell our house to upgrade to a bigger place. We packed up so much of our house to make it more display home worthy. We did some decluttering at the time but still had at least 30 boxes packed. Then the plans fell through at the last moment. I was devastated and discontent with where we were. I refused to unpack anything but the essentials. The boxes were retrieved from the various garages and spare rooms of family members and stacked in our back room. There they had stayed. I had some heart work to do. I have made peace with staying where we are for an indefinite period of time. I have fought for contentment. Now I wanted our home to reflect that.

I have spent the summer Christmas holidays unpacking boxes, donating several boxes to op shops (second hand charity shops for those not in Australian lingo), throwing away bags of things. I have had to shelve some of my sentimentality and be realistic about living within the space we have. My biggest motivator was clearing space to set up a home office for myself. I knew that this year would be infinitely more difficult without some dedicated work space. The more I have decluttered and cleared, the more I noticed my internal system breathing deeper and feeling more at peace. I have had the head knowledge that our external environments impact our internal space. I have experienced this now. Our house may not ever be a model home of organisation and minimalism and that is ok. 

With the calmed internal space and added benefit of rest over the holiday period, there was a flow on affect to other aspects of organising, like getting into better house cleaning routines. Doing a little each day really does save time in the long run. The challenge I now face is maintaining these gains with work starting up again next week and my daughter going into school full time for the first time. I have vague ideas of routines and ways to manage my time effectively but have no idea how they will work when reality is here. There are still areas of clutter and spaces that need better organisation strategies to prevent the same build up from happening again. That is the challenge of the rest of this year.

A large part of my motivation in all of this effort is to better position myself to lead well in my family, in my work and in my ministry. If I can be organised, use my time effectively and save time on the mundane tasks, I open up space for what is really important in life. I recognise the tendency in me for this organisation and discipline to start becoming the focus and perfectionism to raise its head so I need to keep that end goal in mind. It is not being organised and disciplined for its own sake but to enable me to love and lead more effectively.

In the midst of sorting and trying to work out strategies, I found that the next Ultimate Bundle release is called "Conquer your clutter" and is not just about clutter management but has ebooks and online courses on time management, family organisation, cleaning and chores, and decluttering. I have been looking forward to getting this for myself to help maintain and progress on the gains I have made already. I wanted to share it with you too. I love the value that they pack into the bundles and the practical nature of the tools they contain. Below you can see some of what is contained in this bundle. Click on the image to find out more. (This contains an affiliate link which helps to support me at no extra cost to you.)

Friday, 20 January 2017

Refining my life

While the start of the year has not been without its challenges, it has been wonderful. Taking that time to reflect on last year and look ahead to this one was so valuable. I am now in a time of refining that view. I am refining what it means to spend time with God. I am refining what I want my house to look like. I am refining what organisation looks like for me. I am refining the goals and expectations I have for myself. This is a messy process but I am happy. I am deep in my soul happy and at peace. Life is not all smooth sailing and some of the realities of my new role have slapped me in the face this week. That has not shaken the core of who I am and what I am focused on. I am feeling rested, excited and committed to doing the hard work necessary to fulfil what I feel needs to be done this year. I know that my faith is being refined, even through things like decluttering my house. I sense a deeper maturity, a letting go of stuff and expectations and a quiet sense of God's presence as a daily constant. I love seeing the refined gold that God is moulding in my life. I have a canvas up in my room that I made at the beginning of 2014 with the big things I wanted to focus on. They are still true today and are being constantly refined to reflect the season I am in and my day to day.

The writing that I have been doing has been for my book or preparing MOPS talks and leadership training events so it has been pretty quiet around here. The Five Minute Friday link up is always a wonderful way to stretch my writing and let me dip my toe back into my blog in busy seasons. Five Minute Friday is a community of writers who write for five minutes unedited on a prompt word. This week is "refine" (if you hadn't guessed!) and you can read the contributions of others here.

Friday, 6 January 2017

My connection epiphany

In the process of finding my word for this year, another word kept coming up, "wait." I resisted this word. Wait is connected in my mind and heart with a dark season of two years where all I ever heard from God was wait. Every Scripture and message seemed to drill this unwanted message home. It was a time of frustration, feeling stuck and overwhelmed. I have come so far from that time that "wait" was the last thing I wanted to hear. Was there another season like that coming? It didn't make sense seeing that all the other signs point to a year of surging forward and making brave steps. "Faithful" felt a much better fit and definitely came out on top in the end. I needed to focus on God's faithfulness in this season of brave and on being faithful myself to what is required of me. That word wait couldn't be fully silenced, though.

This week the epiphany of the connection between those two words came as I wrote out the Scriptures from this Scripture writing plan

Contained in this passage are both wait and faithfulness. I suddenly have a clearer understanding of how these fit together. This season of wait is not the same as what I have experienced before. (*) My ability to be faithful is entirely dependent on my ability to wait on the Lord. The other verses that came to mind to back that up were these. 

This is the waiting that I need to be doing: connecting with my Father every day, waiting for that presence and deep connection, not simply crossing off a task on my list for the day. 

This post is linking up with the Five Minute Friday community: a group of writers who gather and write unedited for 5 minutes on a prompt word. In the interest of honesty, my five minutes was up at the * but my thoughts needed to be completed more. This week's prompt was "connect". Read more of other thoughts on this word here.