I often wonder about God’s story, how He created everything for a purpose.
I also think about myself, my life, the choices I have made.
I wonder if I even remotely fulfill the intentions He has for me.
The past two weeks were grueling. I felt emotional pressure, time constraints, and work-related issues that needed all my focus and attention. I tried to hide the stress, but a few people randomly asked if they could pray for me. I realised that my turmoil was visible. Everyone could read it on my face. The pressure was so immense that it felt as if I was captured in a boiler, and that the all-consuming fire below me brought the boiler to boiling point.
I felt trapped, irritated because I thought I was stuck. The internal war raged, I shouldn’t be here, I should be able to get myself unstuck, I should be able to apply everything that I so happily write or blog about.
Our suitcases are filled with all kinds of dead weight: habits we need to give up, attitudes we’ve long since outgrown, and activities and possessions that no longer serve a reasonable purpose. (Nancy Twigg)
It didn’t take too long to realise that I had allowed a few things to re-enter my life, and I had lost my peace. I had become too busy and the clutter in my mind and all the unnecessary responsibilities were affecting my spiritual well-being.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace. (Hebrews 12)
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus… (Hebrews 12:1-2)
But all things should be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40)
I had to push the reset button to remind myself of my personal values. The discord comes when I forget about my own values, and start living out other people’s values. I subconsciously make other people’s priorities my own. For me, the result is stress and misery.
Spiritual clutter can be defined as anything that complicates your life and prevents you from living in peace as you live out your purpose. (Nancy Twigg)
Hebrews 12 encourages me to search for inner clarity, to rid myself of counterproductive thoughts, to a mindset that yearns for simplicity. It also speaks into my outer life, my use of time and the simplicity of my daily life. I knew that I had to get out of the boiler, but to do that I would have to embrace the embarrassment of acknowledging that I was there.
This is the problem with life in the boiler… if I stay there it means that I am more concerned with my own comfort, than the collective well-being of my community, the people that I serve. It is hard to confront my fears, to look bad, incapable or like a failure. It is easier not to tackle the tough issues, to avoid confrontation and to procrastinate.
Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions. (Barbara Hemphill)
In a sense, clutter is the end result of procrastination. (Jeff Campbell)
While in the boiler, I am concerned only with myself and how the behaviour of others will affect me. Because I have no voice, I become angry, frustrated and irritated. God’s story goes well beyond my own limited view. And if I want to be part of His purposes for my life, I have to leave the boiler. If I want to achieve great things for God, I need to push myself to go against the herd mentality. If I offer myself to be used by God, I need to acknowledge that great things (by their nature) are unique and sometimes unconventional.
We become less self-centered, and begin to have a wider view. Everything changes, from letting go of fear and anger and procrastination, to changing our habits and finding work that matters. (Mark Huber)
A genuine confrontation with the truth… demands authenticity and personal integrity. When one feels one way and acts in another, one creates conflict rather than coherence and experiences stress and disharmony or dis-ease. (Frances Vaughn)
God has a purpose for my life, for the work I do, for the relationships I find myself in. I must constantly test myself, re-adjust and realign, because only then can I see that the things that matter to God are much bigger than me.
Every story of success is a story of community. Some people will help you willingly, while others may contribute to your education by accident. If you are wise, you can use it all. Even though each of us has a unique journey, it’s full of teachers who can help along the way. Your job is not to seek them out necessarily, but to recognise them when they appear, because oftentimes they are closer than you think. (Jeff Goins)
These events served me well. There are warning lights, and I am trusting God to remind me of them, every time I choose to veer off the path. The warning lights are flickering when…
I am at the centre of my universe, and everything is relating to me and my feelings (angry, frustrated, irritated, fearful, anxious and feeling hurt)
I am condemning others. I am judgmental.
- See others, focus outwardly.
- Examine your intentions. Learn skills to improve your behaviour.
- Go about your daily tasks, but always remember that there is a greater purpose. This is God’s world.
- Outgrow yourself. Life is a gift.
- Find fulfilment in serving others.
I want to dedicate this article to my colleagues, for showing compassion, leadership and guidance. Thank you Father for keeping me humble, by allowing me to make spectacular mistakes.
To my children, for their loving-care and encouragement when I struggle to believe in myself.