Open and Willing

Confession: The word focus can give me the heebie-jeebies.
No, not the focus on a camera, although I’ve been known to have trouble with that too. I’m talking about the word focus when it comes to blogs.

I’m kinda auditing Edie Melson’s course on blogging. I love Edie’s teaching and always learn something from her. She really knows those fine points, those little details that I love discovering, so that’s why I’m buzzing through her lessons and some of the responses. I want to learn. I want to stay somewhat on top of what I love and do.

But of course there’s that focus word…
How things look with the wrong focus!
I knew I’d see it. I expected it and was braced for it.
But I still wasn’t prepared for it.

After reading through several lessons, I had to leave the computer. I needed space and time to think.

What’s my focus here?
That led to… What’s the focus of my life? That one was easier. Obedience. I want my life to bring glory to God.

Does that tie in to my blog?

I thought about the things Edie told us to—LoL, the very same things I’ve taught on here…
I thought about posts and comments and what others have told me in relation to my blog because I care about my readers and their thoughts and what they like and don’t.

And I kept coming back to how my personal focus affects and ties into my blog focus.
Is it a platform? After all, platform is often a key reason for blogging. No. In many ways, I don’t really care about a platform. I mean, if God wants me to stand in a corner and whisper to myself, I’ll do that.

Then I stop and think about THAT.

I’ve pulled away from my online commitments—the blogs I contributed to, and dearly love. This year could be a year of silence for me. I thought about Amy Carmichael, who spent time in silence, not that she chose to but because God chose it for her. I could be lining up for a modern version of that. Could I…would I…accept that?

Another thing some friends have been chatting about is letting go.

Am I willing to let go of my voice here on my blog?

I recently unclenched my hands—letting go of those online commitments. Sometimes it feels like my hands are empty even though they’re still so very busy.

Now it’s time to be open to the things God puts in my hands.

Even if that is silence.

My point is this:

Am I willing to be obedient even if it means silence?

What about you? Are you staying open and willing to what God has for you this year?

Dirt Rings

The other day we moved a big, old piece of furniture out of the back room—you know the one, where everything you don’t know what to do with is put because you aren’t quite ready to fully let go of it. The time had come to move out the behemoth so we could reclaim that space. It had been there for over ten years and I couldn’t move it to clean under it all that time. You can imagine the mess it left behind, especially since it was only steps away from the back door.

With that out of the way, I attacked the area with hot soapy water and a scrub brush. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but the water turned muddy. In my defense, country dirt infiltrates everywhere, and ten years’ worth meant a lot of dirt. Scrub, rinse, get fresh water, repeat. The stain is still there, but at least I know it’s a clean stain now. Thankfully, it’s hidden and I’ll be doing a lot of cleaning there in the months to come.

Once the job was done, I was called away to tend Toby and that groadie bucket was forgotten for a couple days. I just found it and washed it. Inside and out. It took some scrubbing to get it clean but I didn’t want to have to clean my cleaning bucket before using it the next time. I went to put it away and happened to see the bottom. It was muddy!

I was setting myself up. Cleaning with that bucket with the dirty bottom would have left dirt rings wherever I set it, even though it was clean inside and out.

The same thing happens in my life. Often I’ll carefully clean the inside and the outside, but neglect the base. After all, it’s not seen. It seems like it’s not important. Although it may not be seen, the effects of the dirt will be, and it will always be when I don’t want them to be—after I’ve cleaned another area and expect the job to be done and everything clean and looking pristine.

It’s worth the extra time to clean right. Inside, outside, upside-down. After all, God already knows it’s there. The only ones we’re fooling is ourselves and a few people around us, and that’s only until the dirt shows up. And it always does.

Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.
Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good;
Seek justice…
“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORD,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Thought they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.”
Isaiah 1:16-18 NAS

His Song in the Night

I'm part of a Proverbs study group that is also committed to memorizing Scripture. We've been chatting about following and resting and prayer.

Many of us fall asleep at night praying, or wake up in the middle of the night and pray ourselves back to sleep.

We're finding that maybe praying Scripture at night is a good way to go...

I mulled this over last night as I lay in bed, awake and praying. 
Praying Scripture.
His song with me.
I like that.

Another reason to memorize Scripture.

Interested in this Proverbs study group? Check out Jennifer Slattery's site, or click her to simply join us.

What about you? Have you been memorizing lately?
What's your favorite Scripture to quote or meditate on at night?

This Season

Change is simply part of our lives. If we ever quit changing we become stagnant.

I learned a lot in 2012. The hard way. A year ago I wasn’t willing to do what I suspected I needed to do. In fact, I dug my heels in and resisted as long as I could. The results weren’t pretty. You know how it is when you have to pry something forcibly out of a child’s hand? Well, that was me. And I know better. Much better.

But God is faithful and merciful. And ever-so loving.

Last week I unfisted my hand. As my fingers extended, relief, peace and great joy came flooding back.

Why did I wait so long?

Toby's view as we travel.
This season of my life will be full of change. Not only are the kids getting older but we might be on the road more with Toby and Fonzie—working with them. After traveling this last fall, first to Puerto Rico to visit my sister, then to a fair in Missouri to learn the monkey business, then to Arizona to see and help my parents, then back again with the family, I realized that keeping up with my online responsibilities and commitments would be impossible. As it is, the computer time I had in 2012 was spent mostly in meeting online due dates and fulfilling responsibilities there. I did very little real writing, even though I had both fiction and nonfiction things I wanted to work on.

Because I had fisted my hand around those online commitments, I wasn’t able to write (not even to fulfill those commitments!) and I was frustrated and felt like I was living on a stationary wheel in a gerbil cage.

Thankfully, I did learn something last year, albeit the hard way. It’s time to let go.

The girl who loved to blog has set it all aside.

I’ve officially withdrawn from the sites I contributed to, and loved contributing to and from ALL my online commitments. Oh, I’ll still be here on my own blog—as I can…if I can. No posting schedule unless it’s a series that is completely written and scheduled ahead of time, before it starts, and no pressure on me.

My hope is that this year, as I focus on our family and jump starting the monkey business, that I’ll take the computer time I have, whether it be chunks of time between trips or slivers of time squeezed amongst the other things, that I’ll invest them in working on my fiction and nonfiction.

I still love blogging. I’ve missed it greatly while at the same time I appreciate the breaks I took in 2012. They helped me see some things I needed to accept, and the determination to take action on them.

Now that my fist is uncurled and my hand is empty and open, I’m excited to see what God puts it in.

How about you? Are you clinging to something you need to let go of? Now is a good time to unfist your hand.

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