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As I have shared previously, the Lord has me on a journey of simplifying this year. Just this week I read a blog post by Joy, one of Clay and Sally Clarkson’s daughters that has got me to thinking and praying even more. Joy speaks about how easily we tend to exchange things in our lives that are “real” for those things that are NOT “real”. Joy has challenged me to look at my own life to see how I measure up. Please note that I am not saying that the “NOT REAL” things that I have listed below are wrong or sinful. Most of them are needed and beneficial. But where we go wrong is when we stop at the NOT REAL and never get around to the REAL. The NOT REAL consumes our lives and we end up sacrificing the REAL. Ok…here are my thoughts…
Spending all my time “planning” instead of “doing”
I am a planning junkie. I LOVE to plan…whether that means meals, cleaning, homeschooling, my reading list…you name it and I love to plan it! BUT…I find myself many times spending all my time planning and never get around to really “doing” the things that I planned! Yikes!
The Lord is really convicting me of this. I need to plan LESS and do MORE. I think many times my problem is that I plan too much and then I get overwhelmed and don’t complete half of what I have planned. So…my plan of action (oh..there I go again, planning)..or maybe I should say my goal in this area is to look at each area that I have all “planned” out and simplify it…not planning so much. Then focus on actually DOING what I have planned.
The NOT REAL: Planning what I need to do…having it on paper only…feeling good about what I have planned.
The REAL: Doing what I have planned.
Saturating myself in parenting books instead of actually parenting
I love books…LOVE books! In the area of parenting, I have read a TON of books, tried to implement some of what I’ve read, failed, read another book, tried to implement that, succeeded some, failed some..the cycle goes on and on. I can get easily overwhelmed with too much information and then don’t have a clue of where I should start, what I should try to implement first…so I do nothing. Or I read a really good book and feel good about what I can do as a parent to reach my children’s hearts, to disciple them, train them, etc., but fail to apply it to my life in real time.
My goal in this area is to simplify, read less parenting books, seek the Lord daily, and simply obey. Parent my children as the Lord is parenting me. Putting what the Lord is showing me into action right now. Parenting intentionally…living in each moment…living in obedience.
The NOT REAL: Reading books “about” parenting by other parents.
The REAL: Actually parenting my children as the Lord parents me.
Seeking online relationships and neglecting those who are right here..face to face
This is another area that we can easily allow to consume our time and our lives. Social media such as Facebook, blogs, twitter, etc., are allowing people to communicate online in ways we have never been able to before. I’m not saying that any of these things are bad. In fact, I was on Facebook daily when my friend, Jill, and her daughter were in that terrible car accident. I was able to keep updated on how they were doing while Jaci was in the rehab hospital in Nebraska.
So…please don’t get me wrong…but what I am saying is that it is a real temptation to seek out approval from people online…to focus so much on these “online” friends and contacts…that we neglect to develop and nurture those relationships that should be the most important to us. I wonder myself sometimes if I use online time to escape from the real world. It is hard work to nurture and develop relationships with my children, to train and disciple them as I know I should. It is hard work to go to my children and help them work through an argument. It is hard work to reach the heart of my children, to not just address the surface things, but really getting to their heart.
There are days when I just want Calgon to “take me away”…have any of you ever felt that way? It is easier to jump online and feel good about posting something helpful, or leaving a comment on a blog, or messaging someone on Facebook, than it is to face the difficult task of training my children.
It is much easier dealing with online relationships than it is face-to-face relationships. I really think that is why we tend to gravitate towards being online…it is easy. God never said our life would be easy, but He did promise to give us the strength that we will need to do what He is calling us to do. And this extends beyond just our children, but to our friends, neighbors, and others that God has placed in our path.
My goal in this area is going to be to limit my online time and to intentionally obey the Lord’s promptings to meet the needs of my children..the easy AND not so easy needs! I also have decided to write one hand-written note a week and mail it out to someone the Lord places on my heart…nurturing the relationships the Lord has placed right here in my life. I have done this the past few weeks and I love it!
The NOT REAL: Seeking the “easy” relationships online.
The REAL: Seeking to develop the “face-to-face” relationships right here with my family and friends.
These are just a few things that the Lord is bringing to mind…areas that I need to bring to Him and allow Him to guide me in getting back on track.
How about you? Are there “real” things in your life that you are exchanging for things that are NOT “real”?
I encourage you to seek the Lord right now. In this world of social media and networking, it can be very easy to be absorbed in a world that is not “real” and neglect the “real” world that the Lord has put right in front of us…our husband, our children, our friends, our neighbors.
Let’s seek Him…asking the Lord to help us be discerning and wise in these areas.