Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Author: Jean (Page 3 of 52)

When You’re Ready to Throw In the Towel

God knows how to God

 

Note: I’m still doling out posts from the archives while I enjoy my summer break. This post originally appeared March 24, 2016. As I write this note and prepare to load this post into the publishing queue, it’s the Monday following my latest book launch and this message is one I really needed today. I’m sure there’s someone else out there who could use this reminder. If that’s you, hang in there, friend.

***

“If this is my calling, why is it so hard?”

“If this is really what God wants me to do, why is there so much opposition?”

“Is this dream really from God? Is He trying to tell me I should just give up and stop wanting it?”

I’ve been in a place of asking these questions. Sometimes, I’m still there. But when I do, I’m reminded of the following:

We’re called to trust, to persevere, and to be patient. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to trust and submit, and then He’ll make our paths straight–not the other way around.

Trust isn’t really trust if the way is clear and easy.

Perseverance isn’t really perseverance if there’s no opposition.

Patience isn’t patience if the outcomes happen when and how I want them to.

Quick and easy is wonderful in the moment but then it’s over and it does nothing to strengthen our faith, sanctify us or grow us in our daily walk. And when the results come easily, we don’t appreciate them nearly as much as when we work hard and fight for them.

If you’re facing hard, if it seems like everything in the universe is trying to keep you from even trying, let alone achieving that thing you know deep in your bones you were put here to do — consider that you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to, and the enemy is pulling out all the stops in an attempt to get you to give up, because he’s terrified of what will happen if you don’t.

So don’t.

Don’t give up.

Persevere. Keep going. One day at a time. One little hard-fought step at a time.

Be patient. Be flexible. Surrender the outcomes to God.

Trust with your WHOLE heart. Trust in His goodness and His complete love for you.

And in due time He will clear the way for you to be ALL He means for you to be. He promised.

You’re not fighting this fight alone. He’s with you every step of the way, ordering your steps. You don’t have to do it all, and you don’t have to do any of it by yourself. Your Maker has a plan for you, and HE will bring it about. ALL that’s required of you is obedience. Show up and be willing. He’ll take it from there.

Remember that God knows how to God. He’s got this.

And so do you.

Love,
sig-transparent

 

 

 

PS – Linking up this week with Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart, Missional Women’s Faith Filled Friday, and the Faith Barista.

How to Keep a Clean Enough House

how to keep a clean enough house

Note: Not my actual house.

 

Note: I’m digging into the archives so I can keep the content coming while I enjoy a summer break. This post was originally posted on June 6th of 2016, and I decided to share it because it’s a good complement to my recent Faithfulness series. For a more recent post from that series that covers more ground on this topic, click here.

***

I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that I’ll never be as good a housekeeper as my mom. Seeing as how I’ve made it this far in life without the cleaning gene kicking in, I have a feeling that the day I’m finally good at keeping a clean house will be the day I can pick up the phone and call in a cleaning service.

And do you know what? That’s okay. I don’t need to hold to my mom’s standard of cleanliness, and I can just go ahead and stop making that comparison right now. It helps to keep in mind that she was a full-time homemaker, and cleaning the house was her job–or at least a major part of it. I, on the other hand, am juggling writing multiple books, a blog, and a freelance career. It would be kind of insane to expect my home to look like I spend hours each day cleaning and decorating. I’m guessing the time and energy you have to devote to cleaning is also pretty limited. I finally made peace with these limitations by deciding it’s okay if my house is merely clean enough.

“Clean enough for what,” you ask? Clean enough that we don’t feel like slobs. Clean enough to ward off a feeling of embarrassment if someone drops in unexpectedly. Clean enough that my husband and I can relax and focus on our work (or rest) without being distracted by the nagging feeling that we should be making more time to clean. Clean enough that we can feel like actual grownups and not middle-aged adolescents.

So how do you keep a clean enough house?

First, you figure out what “clean enough” means for you. Obviously, the “enough” in “clean enough” implies that we’re not aiming for perfection, here. What’s the minimum that needs to be done in order to free you to relax in your own home and let go of guilt and embarrassment?

For me, that means keeping the bathroom clean, smoothing out the covers on the bed each day, staying on top of the dirty dishes, keeping the carpet vacuumed on a regular basis, and controlling the dreaded cat smell. It also means keeping an uncluttered and welcoming entryway so I can answer the front door without feeling like I need to apologize (full disclosure: currently my entryway does not meet this standard).

My clean-enough bathroom. Just don't look too closely at the floor.

My clean-enough bathroom. Just don’t look too closely at the floor.

 

My husband and I both have a pretty high tolerance threshold for dust and clutter, so these are not things I worry about on a daily or weekly basis. I dust and sweep the tile floors every so often when I get bit by the deep-cleaning bug, but I don’t sit around worrying about how to fit these chores in. And while we do make an attempt to keep the clutter contained, I think we’ve both made peace with the fact that as introspective creative types, we’re probably always going to live with a certain amount of clutter. Honestly, I don’t think I’d be completely comfortable in a totally clutter-free environment. I’d be too afraid of cluttering it up.

At any rate, the point is that your threshold might be different. Maybe you need to dust every day but making your bed isn’t even on your radar. Only you can decide what makes your home feel clean enough for you. So decide that, and figure out which tasks are required to achieve that minimal level of clean, and how often.

The second, and most challenging, part is, of course, implementation. If making time for cleaning chores came easily, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. So allow me to introduce you to the two-minute rule.

The two-minute rule is something I learned about recently from The Lazy Genius, and it is thus: if there’s a task that takes two-minutes or less, and you have two minutes to spare, go ahead and do it.

You would be amazed at how many housekeeping tasks can be done in two minutes or less. Here are the things I can do in that time:

  • Smooth the covers over the bed
  • Wipe down the bathroom sink and mirror
  • Swish cleaner around the toilet bowl
  • Scoop out the cat box
  • Pick up an entire trail of dog toys
  • De-clutter the entry-way table
  • Rinse out my dirty dishes
  • Put away my shoes when I’m done wearing them

That’s almost every chore on my “clean enough” list. The only thing on there that can’t be done in two minutes, vacuuming, only needs to be done once a week (once every two weeks . . . or more if I’m in a busy season) and takes up about thirty minutes of my weekend.

So you can see how this is totally doable, right?

What about you? Do you struggle to let go of a standard of cleanliness that’s driving you crazy? What makes your house feel clean enough? Got any nifty, potentially life-changing cleaning tips to share? Let’s hear about them in the comments!

11 Simple Life Quotes to Inspire Clutter-Free Living

 

Here’s an excerpt of a recent article I wrote for Brightpeak Financial blog.

***

You’ve cleaned out your closets, given truckloads of stuff to charity, streamlined your schedule and seen firsthand how living with less can free up time, money and energy that you can use to focus on what truly matters. But no matter how great the rewards of simpler living, it isn’t always easy to maintain a clutter-free lifestyle.

Here are 11 simple life quotes to help you stay focused and motivated when the clutter starts creeping back in.

1. “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” —Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

2. “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?… But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” —Matthew 6:25-27,33

3. “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” —Marie Kondo, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up

4. “The best way to give yourself a raise is to spend less money.” —Joshua Fields Millburn, Everything that Remains

5. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” —Matthew 6:34

Read the rest at Brightpeak Financial!

 

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PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

Slowing Down and Other Changes

First of all, Happy July Fourth! Here in the U.S., that means it’s Independence Day, the day we celebrate becoming one nation under God by grilling hot dogs and blowing things up. If that’s you today, may your hot dogs be tasty and your fireworks awesome (and safe). Hooray for freedom!

Image result for america freedom gif

In the spirit of exercising my freedom, I’m going to be slowing things down here for the rest of the summer. I know, I know… I just got back into a posting groove after moving forced a long hiatus this spring. But I have another book due in August and I’m ridiculously behind on it, and so for the next couple of months I’m going to need to simplify my life as much as possible and devote as much of my writing energies as possible to getting the book done.

Also, it’s summer, and the truth is that I’d rather be spending my downtime enjoying the outdoors and my family than sitting here blogging at y’all, as much as I love you. *kissyface*

But that doesn’t mean I’m going away for the summer, because I do love y’all and I can’t stay away completely. This isn’t a hiatus–it’s just me giving myself permission to not worry about sticking to a regular posting schedule and to only post when I have something worth saying or sharing. And I’ll be filling in some of the gaps with some golden oldies from the archives.

In the meantime, if you’re hungry for content and you have a taste for the weird and sometimes creepy, you might check out my author blog. I’ll be slowing things down over there, too, but I’ve added a lot of fun content in the run up to last week’s launch of my newest novel, so that might keep you occupied for a while.

And in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m going to be making another minor change going forward–so minor you might not even notice it if I didn’t point it out. I’m going to start adding affiliate links where appropriate. Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn this into an affiliate marketing blog. Just, whenever I want to recommend a book or a tool or something, as I sometimes do, if there happens to be an affiliate program for it, I’m going to go ahead and sign up for it and use the link. Or at the very least I’ll use the Amazon affiliate link.

And there’s one more thing, y’all. I have a goal, and I just thought I’d go ahead and put it out there so the prayer warriors among you can give me some prayer support. My goal is to get to a place professionally where my time is my own to decide how to use–where I’m not dependent on content agencies and subject to their editorial schedules and whims, but I can set my own schedules for both my writing and my clients’, and be able to keep consistent rhythms that allow me the time and energy to focus on my passion projects–like providing encouragement for soul-weary women and practical tips for doing life in a way that honors God.

I’ve been thinking that getting into ghostwriting books might be one path to that goal (I’ve ghostwritten plenty of blog posts and articles, but never anything book-sized). This is something I’ve been researching and praying about, and asking God to show me the steps I need to take in order to move in that direction, without falling into old habits and running ahead of Him and trying to force it to happen under my own power. So if y’all could maybe send up a quick prayer or two for me along those lines, I’d sure appreciate it. And if you know someone who might be in a position to hire a ghostwriter, maybe mention my name?

In the meantime, I’m going to keep my head down as much as possible and focus on doing the work that’s already before me, like writing the book I’m actually contracted write, hallelujah amen.

What about you, sister-friend? Are you slowing down for the summer, or has this summer got you doing the holy hustle? Do you have any goals or dreams that I can be praying for? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

Faithfulness Doesn’t Mean Perfection

 

I thought I was done with my series on faithfulness, but there’s one more thing I think needs to be said, and it’s important:

Being faithful does not mean you have to be perfect.

It doesn’t mean you always do it right, or that you do it 100% of the time, that you never have bad days or need a break.

I’m convinced that God doesn’t look at our actions as much as He looks at our hearts. And having a faithful heart doesn’t mean you’re always consistently successful at being faithful and obedient in some area or task. Having a faithful heart means you desire to live for God more than for yourself, and being a faithful steward means that you keep doing your best to serve Him in all of your brokenness and fallen-ness. And you don’t let the bad days completely derail you from getting back up and trying your best.

Because that’s all He asks. He knows that we’re fallen, and broken, and cursed, and made out of dirt. He knows we’re not capable of being perfect or doing life perfectly. That’s why he sent His son to be perfect for us, so we could live under the protection of His grace.

Perfectionism is bondage. Jesus came to set us free.

You don’t have to be a perfect housekeeper, or employee, or wife, or mother, or anything. You don’t have to perfectly stick to your diet and never skip the gym and you don’t even have to always get dressed or comb your hair or even get out of bed.

You’re allowed to fail and to do it wrong sometimes and to sometimes not even do it at all.

Faithfulness only requires holding it–whatever your “it” is–out to God with open hands and a surrendered heart and saying, “This is the best I can do today, Lord, and I offer it up to you.”

And that’s enough.

You’re enough.

Love,

 

 

 

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PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

Cultivating Faithfulness by Building Good Habits

Last time, we looked at Psalm 37:3 and its many varying translations. One of those translations tells us to “cultivate faithfulness,” which is something I’ve been led to focus on this year.

I already talked about my own struggles with faithfulness, especially in the mundane, day-to-day tasks involved with good stewardship.  The big area where this has been particularly challenging for me is housekeeping, and I feel like this is an area where the Lord’s been nudging me to improve. So before I close out this topic, I thought I’d share what that looks like in my own life.

Basically, it comes down to two things: rhythms and habits.

I’ve talked before about establishing rhythms, so I won’t get detailed about that here. But establishing rhythms for my days and weeks is essential to my ability to get anything done, and figuring out how to fit cleaning and house work into those rhythms has gone a long way toward making me feel like an actual grownup person. And the way I’ve done that is to focus on building habits, one new habit at a time.

The key to this is to connect the new habit you want to build to an existing habit. I kind of figured this out on my own after a lot of trial and error, but apparently, it’s actual science. The old habit acts as a trigger to help you remember and launch into the new habit. For me, this looks like wiping down the bathroom sink and mirror every time I brush my teeth. I don’t have to think about brushing my teeth. I just do it. Okay, truth time–sometimes my husband has to remind me to do it. But still, I do it, and when I do, I remember (helped largely by seeing the toothpaste splatters on the mirror) that when I’m done I need to go ahead and wipe the mirror and sink.

The other key to successful habit-building is to set yourself up for success–i.e., make it as easy to do for yourself and eliminate as many barriers to actually doing the new thing as possible. In my sink/mirror cleaning example, this means I keep a spray bottle of cleaner under the sink and a roll of paper towels beside it. So once I’m done brushing, I don’t have to go hunt up the necessary cleaning supplies and risk that I’ll get distracted and forget all about it. I just put my toothbrush up, grab the bottle and a wad of paper towels and get to wipin’. The whole thing takes about two minutes.

This was my starting point, and the thing I always make a point to remain consistent in no matter how hectic my life gets and no matter what other habits fall by the wayside. Since we moved, I’m having to re-build some additional cleaning habits that I had developed in our former residence. These include things like doing the dishes once I’m finished eating and remembering to grab a baby wipe and spend five minutes dusting surfaces each day after my lunch. I’m also working on establishing a morning each week to run the vacuum and swiffer the hardwood floors–a task that takes about 20 minutes, which is a fraction of the time it took just to vacuum our old house.

Have I mentioned that I’m kind of loving living in a small apartment?

And here’s the other thing: my biggest hang up BY FAR when it came to this sort of thing was that I always built it up in my head to be a major chore that would consume so much of my time and energy that there was no way I could fit it in. This is because I would put it off for so long that once I finally got around to cleaning it WAS a major chore that ate up all my time and energy. I would go weeks without cleaning more than absolutely necessary, not really noticing that things were getting bad until they were too awful to ignore (side note: I should mention here that my husband does what he can to clean. Because of his physical limitations there are tasks that he can’t do, or that are a lot more difficult for him than they are for me, so that’s pretty much how we divide the household labor–he does what he can and I do the rest. But God bless him, he doesn’t complain when I don’t step up and do my part on a consistent basis. This man, y’all. I am richly blessed). So then I’d have to devote an entire weekend to cleaning, and be so wiped out by the experience that I wouldn’t want to  even look at a cleaning product again for weeks, if not months.

If this sounds a little too familiar, I recommend checking out A Slob Comes Clean, where Dana has all kinds of things to say about Cleaning Brain and how some people (like me) just aren’t wired that way (I still really need to check out her book).

But the thing is, you guys, that when I do these things habitually? They usually take a couple of minutes. Two minutes here, five there for the daily chores, and 20 minutes once a week or so for the bigger chores. Cleaning is not actually a big deal. I just blew it up into one in my mind, and I had to break myself of the habit of seeing it as this impossible chore and retrain my mind to see the reality. And the reality is that it just isn’t that hard.

I’ve been talking specifically about cleaning, but I think these principles have broader application to a lot of different areas of our lives. If there’s an area where you’re struggling to be a good steward, I hope this helps.

Another thing that helps is figuring out why you want to be faithful in this area. Of course, as Christians, the big one is obvious–we want to be obedient stewards of the things we’re blessed with and honor God by taking good care of them. Also, we’re promised that if we’re faithful in the little things, we’ll be entrusted with bigger things. That’s pretty motivating all by itself. But it helps to identify more personal motivating factors. For me, I want my home to be a place where my husband feels loved and cared for and anyone who comes to visit can feel welcome and relaxed. Since my home is also my workplace, I also want it to be a place where I can feel relaxed and inspired instead of distracted by messes and guilt.

Do you have anything to add? I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about how you cultivate faithfulness in your own life, or share your own tips on building good habits and staying motivated!

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PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

Trust and Obedience: the Faithfulness Cycle

Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. — Ps. 37:3 NASB

Psalm 37 is one of my favorite passages of scripture. To loosely paraphrase and summarize, it basically says that the world is a seemingly unfair and unjust place where bad people seem to prosper at the expense of good people, but it’s not our job to worry about that. God is fully aware, and He’s in control. Nobody’s going to get away with anything, and those who are dealt with unjustly will be vindicated in due time. That’s His job.

Our job is outlined in the verse above: Trust the Lord. Do good within our own communities and spheres of influence. Dwell patiently where we’re planted and…?

The third verse of this psalm is an interesting one. Not just because of its instructiveness but because that last instruction appears to vary depending on which translation you’re reading. Take a minute and just look at all the different ways this last clause is translated. Apparently, the original Hebrew verb literally means either “feed on truth” or “be fed in truth,” and Bible translators aren’t sure exactly what that means. So we get translations like the one at the top of this post that tell us to “cultivate faithfulness,” and others, like the International Standard Version, that say to “feed on faithfulness.” Still others, like the NIV, say to “enjoy safe pasture” or something along those lines.

So which is it?

I’m no Bible scholar, but I think that they’re each right in a way. I think it’s a cycle. God is faithful. We trust in this aspect of His character and this builds our faith and enables us to be faithful and obedient. And when we’re faithful to meet the conditions of His promises, He’s faithful to keep His promises, which further builds our faith and helps us to grow in faithfulness, and so on. And throughout this cyclical process, as our faith is strengthened so is our sense of security and our belief that God is fully in control and we don’t need to worry. We can relax. And the more we’re focused on faithfully serving God and His agenda, the less worried we’ll be about what people in the world are doing or what they’re thinking or saying about us.

It’s like a never-ending loop of faithfulness. God’s faithfulness builds my faith and confidence in Him, which increases my faithfulness, which in turn increases my trust and obedience, which increases God’s faithfulness in my life, and so on. And knowing that faithfulness is part of God’s character, if the loop breaks down I know it’s because of some failure on my part–I’ve failed to be faithful in some area–and not on His. I can pray and ask Him to show me which areas of my life are lacking in faithfulness and focus on improving in those areas.

Next week I’ll share some specific examples of how I’m working to cultivate faithfulness in my own life, but in general, how can I be sure I’m being faithful?

I can do my best to be obedient to His word. To keep His commandments and live an overall life of faith, trust and obedience, staying surrendered to His will for my life. I can keep showing up to carry out the assignments He’s given me, even when I don’t feel like it, even when they seem pointless, trusting Him not only to give me the ability and strength but also entrusting Him with the outcomes.

And if I’m doing all of that, I can rest in the knowledge that He’ll take care of me, and everything will work out according to His plan.

God is faithful. Just this morning my husband and I received some good news that was an answer to a lot of prayer, reminding me yet again that He’s got this, and He’s got us, and we don’t need to worry or fret.

What are some examples of God’s faithfulness in your life, friend? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. And in case you missed it, click here to read last week’s introductory post examining what faithfulness is and why it matters!

Love,

 

 

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PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

What is Faithfulness and Why Does it Matter?

Back when I was choosing my One Word for 2017, I felt certain that faithfulness was going to be a big theme this year. Just as I was about to commit to it, I thought I felt a nudge to change my word to Abandon, but even so, it’s themes of God’s faithfulness and faithful obedience that keep cropping up in my devotions and Bible studies, and in my life in general. Clearly, faithfulness is something I’m supposed to pay attention to and work on this year.

But what, exactly, is faithfulness, and what does it mean to be faithful? The dictionary defines faithfulness as “the quality of being faithful; fidelity.” Okay, but then what does that mean, exactly? There are actually several dictionary definitions of the word “faithful”:

1. obsolete :  full of faith
2. steadfast in affection or allegiance :  loyal – a faithful friend
3. firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty :  conscientious – a faithfulemployee
4. given with strong assurance :  binding – a faithful promise
5. true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original – a faithful copy

Synonyms include the words loyal, true, dependable, trustworthy, steadfast, staunch, constant and resolute.

It says that the first definition is obsolete, but I’m pretty sure there’s nothing obsolete about being full of faith when it comes to the kind of faithfulness God desires from us.

Apart from the dictionary definitions, here is what I know and understand about faithfulness:

It’s an attribute of God’s character. He is faithful, reliable, dependable, steadfast, unchanging, an unfailing keeper of His covenants and promises.

It’s a fruit of the Spirit. If the Holy Spirit dwells in me, then I am capable of exercising faithfulness and being faithful. Not just in my relationship with God and in my marriage and other earthly relationships, but in all areas of my life, every day, in every task I’m given.

Faithfulness is a quality that God desires from us. Biblical faithfulness means being obedient, following through and finishing what we start. It means faithfully and obediently carrying out our assignments, both the big, scary exciting ones and the mundane, boring, day-to-day ones.

Faithfulness is an act of faith. Our faithfulness requires believing and trusting in a faithful God.

I don’t know about you, sister friend, but I’m not always so good at exhibiting this particular spiritual fruit in my life. It seems to me that it’s easier to be faithful in the big things than in the little things. Things like being a faithful steward of my home or my money or my health. Faithful obedience tends to fly out the window when I’m too tired to clean or exercise or I’d rather splurge on some shiny thing I don’t need than save responsibly or I just really want that third (…or fourth or maybe even fifth) slice of pizza.

Thankfully, just like any fruit, this one can be cultivated, and how to do that is what I’m going to be looking at here in the coming weeks, with a more in-depth look at what the Bible says about faithfulness and some practical steps we can all take to grow this fruit.

What about you? Is this an area you need to work on, or have you got this whole faithfulness thing down (and if you do can you share some tips with the rest of us)? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Love,

 

 

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PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

 

What I Learned This Spring

 

Thank goodness Emily P. Freeman is ready to do another link roundup for stuff we learned this spring. This is actually a life saver because I need something easy to ease me back into blogging here regularly and list posts are easy and now I have an excuse to do one. This list is mainly going to be about things I learned pertaining to moving because moving pretty much consumed our entire spring. So with that in mind…

  1. Moving is hard. I mean, duh, right? We knew this, but it had been nearly nine years since the last time we actually had to do it, and it’s easy to forget just how hard something is when you haven’t had to do it in a while. But it is HAAAAARD.
  2. Good friends are a blessing. Good friends with a large truck and a flexible schedule and a heart for helping and serving others are an extra-special blessing.
  3. Downsizing your stuff is not something that should be put off until AFTER the move, especially if you’re considerably downsizing your space. We’d planned to do away with a lot more of our stuff before the move happened, but a window of opportunity opened up for us to move sooner than we’d planned, and so we ended up packing and bringing with us more stuff than we have space for. This is making unpacking extra super fun.
  4. There’s always more to do than you think. The actual moving part didn’t take too long, but then we still had a lot of stuff left to deal with at the old place–furniture and stuff we’d decided to donate instead of bringing with us, etc. Not to mention an entire garage filled with my deceased in-laws’ belongings. Getting all of that sorted and dealt with was a much, much bigger job that we’d anticipated. SO much bigger.
  5. Transitions are hard, even when they’re desirable and good. We really, really wanted this move to happen, and when the door opened for it we dove in faster than Michael Phelps at the sound of the starting pistol. Other than the actual time and work involved in moving, I didn’t think it would be that big a disruption to our day-to-day lives. After all, we don’t have kids and we both work from home and simply changing our location shouldn’t have much of an impact on how we do things, right? I could not have been more wrong. One of our biggest struggles has been re-establishing rhythms and routines and adjusting to the fact that we no longer live a convenient distance from anything.
  6. Transitions are hard, even when they’re desirable and good. No, I didn’t accidentally copy and paste that from above. I deliberately added it again to make the point that it’s okay not to be joyful and bursting with gratitude every second of every hour whenever you finally get something you’ve been praying a long time for. It’s okay if sometimes you’re too worn out and exhausted and a little depressed because everything is so much harder than you expected and you’re beyond frustrated at how difficult it is to get back into a flow. Give yourself grace, acknowledge that it’s hard, and then step back and try to remember why you wanted this thing in the first place and why you actually are, in fact, so grateful that it finally came to pass.
  7. Don’t unpack in a hurry. Apart from unboxing the things we absolutely needed in order to set up house and be comfortable, we’ve been taking our time about unpacking, finding a home for things and decorating. We want to see how we actually live and utilize this space in order to determine what makes the most sense in terms of where to put stuff. While it feels a little chaotic still being surrounded by boxes, when we finally do pull something out and put it away we can be reasonably certain it will stay in that spot and we won’t have to endlessly rearrange things.
  8. My soul is so much happier surrounded by nature. We moved back to the place where I grew up, a little housing edition out in the country overlooking a lake. There are woods within walking distance and we only need to cross the street for views like this one:

    The people are much friendlier here, too. Every time I go for a walk in this neighborhood my heart soars with joy to be here.
  9. God is so, so faithful. Last week I reblogged this post that I wrote a little over a year ago. In that post I talked about how trapped and hemmed in I felt where we were living, and how our prospects of getting to move anytime in the foreseeable future were slim to none. But I kept praying even though hope seemed small. And at last, after a long season of waiting and having our patience tested and stretched, He’s answered our prayers and delivered us into a safe place and a season of rest.
  10. Resting is the hardest part of all. For all of the difficulties involved in moving and transitioning, I think what I struggle with the most is simply receiving this blessing and enjoying it instead of immediately looking to the next thing. I’m not going to lie — the last eight and a half years or so in Tulsa were some of the most challenging years of my life. God used those challenges to grow us in ways we’d never imagined. And now I believe He’s brought us here–beside the still waters, overlooking green pastures–to rest and heal before we move on to whatever He has planned next for us. But I’m so future-oriented and I’m having a really hard time relaxing into this new phase of our lives and enjoying this step along the journey instead of worrying about where we go from here. I’m having to be really intentional about letting go of that worry and trusting that God’s got this and everything’s going to continue to work out as it should, in His time.

What have you learned this spring, dear reader? Do you also have a hard time enjoying the present instead of constantly thinking about the future, or does God’s rest come more naturally to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

I’ll resume my regular blogging schedule next week (Lord willing) with the series on faithfulness that I’d originally planned for March. See you then!

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PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

Don’t Fence Me In

It’s been a little over a year since I wrote this post. Oh, what a difference a year makes. God is faithful, y’all. I’ll resume some sort of regular blogging schedule next week (…hopefully) and tell y’all all about how He’s answered the cry of my heart and made a way out of our wilderness. Hallelujah!

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