40 Days Lighter – Day 18: Room for Improvement

I had a humbling experience today.

Today was the start of my on ground seminary course for the spring semester, and I will tell you in no uncertain terms – I was NOT happy about having to take it. An Introductory course focused mostly on writing and research (at least that’s what I gathered from the description), was redundant for me at this point. I have an MBA, I write all the time, I know how to do research, and I’m pretty good in the editing department. 

I know – it sounds so arrogant – but in truth, this was my attitude going into the class.

I sat down, ready to “endure” 6 hours of what I  was sure would be a repeat of everything I’ve learned in my college career about writing.

I should have known better. 

Since starting my seminary journey last fall, I haven’t had a single course, no matter the subject, that hasn’t challenged me to my core. Every. Single. Class. Has lead to some “Aha!” moment about who I am, where I’m going in life, what I believe, and what on earth I should be doing with these gifts of mine.

I would soon find out, today’s class would be no different. 

Everything seemed to line up with my initial assessment of the course, until the professor spoke these words that bypassed my pride, sidestepped my assumptions, leaped over my intellect, and slammed straight into spirit.

“You are the people who will be publishing to share the Christian faith. And I have to prepare you for it!”

Arrested by this revelation of the deeper purpose of our time together, and yanked from my self-appointed pedestal, I had no other choice but to assume the posture of the eager student – humble and hungry to learn what I did not know.

In that moment, I let go of my “expertise”, my “experience”, and my “credentials” to free myself to receive new transformational insight on writing well. 

And the floodgates opened. 

As I opted to move from spectator to eager note taker, I found such profound truth in the simplicity of what was being taught – seeing the mechanics of academic writing with new eyes.

How many times have we been in the place to receive something new, something of great value to our purpose and call, yet because it appears simplistic and familiar, we treat it with disdain, missing the possibility of a transformational moment?

It is my sincere prayer that I won’t make this mistake again. I aim to see the world around me with new eyes, fresh perspective, understanding that even in the simple things, God is working His greater purpose out in my life.

This time, I needed to let go of “me”, so that I could receive more from Him!

 

40 Days Lighter: My Journey through 40 Days of Decluttering

declutter-photos

I was recently inspired by a Facebook post from a friend sharing a link to participate in 40 Bags in 40 Days, a challenge that asks participants to declutter their homes, work spaces, email inboxes, among a host of other “non-stuff” ways to declutter and incorporate healthy, beneficial habits. The challenge is aligned with the period of Lent, where many people give something up for the period of 40 days.

I found this particular idea to be a timely one, as I have recently been in a season of “letting go” – of unhealthy habits and routines, and of things that no longer have a place in my closet, home or life.

What I quickly discovered is that once you get a taste of the freedom that release brings, a new, simpler yet satisfying way of living begins to emerge. I also discovered that giving into the process of letting go of the “way I’ve always done things” has made so much room for new habits, opportunities, and simple joys that I didn’t imagine achievable at this stage in my life.

Over the next 40 days, I would like to share with you, my experience as I take daily, intentional steps to release the “extra weight” in my life. (I’ll talk about dropping the literal weight in an upcoming post!)

During this time I’ll share my journey to release the emotional baggage that this newly embraced way of living has revealed, that still hides in the corners of my heart. I’ll talk about shedding the doubts and fears that have held me back from bringing my dreams to life. I will also be making observations on my journey to become more consistent in the spiritual disciplines of worship, prayer, fasting, reading my Bible and meditation.

And of course, I will be setting aside time each day to write, and provide even a small update on my progress through this challenge.

I hope that you will join me in my journey, and that you might take a journey of your own to live a lighter, freer life.

I can’t wait to be 40 Days Lighter!

P.s. Here is a list of some of the tools/books I’ll be using/reading as I go through this process:

Garbage Bags!

A Journal

ESV Journaling Bible

Fitbit App

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K. A. Smith

the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun