The Empty Box

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I got this prayer box necklace from my aunt years ago and recently it got me to thinking.

Looking at the empty box, I could have worn this as just a pretty necklace over the years, or I could take my prayer and place it in the box, close to the heart. I chose to write my favorite scripture and put it in the box and whenever the necklace moved or I saw it in a reflection I would meditate and believe that word was qualified in my own life.  The empty box did not remain empty.

I use this, as an illustration, to show how we may take the time for our empty box during our downtime. We have spent all day, pouring out our energy and when we stop we are depleted. When we take the time to recharge,  we make choices. Those choices are to leave that box empty, fill it with distraction, or fill it with life.

For a season I found myself filling the empty box with distraction. Such as binge-watching Netflix or spending hours on my social media accounts when I wanted to just ‘chill’. Not before too long it became habitual and without any thought, I pick up my phone first thing in the morning and throughout the day, all day, and mindlessly scroll.
Then there is the other box in the room that grabs my time. As soon as I sit on my couch I would reach for my remote and scroll for an hour looking for something to watch.
Then one day it hit me, did I really just waste an hour (or hours)  scrolling nothingness?

There is a danger for me personally to use ‘nothing’ or distraction during down time. Before too long it becomes same old’ same old’ and if not careful I slip into the melancholy of nothingness and the empty box turns into a life of meh.

Think of your own life, are you working and going home and doing nothing? Is the place that you want to be in 5 years? I ask this because if you are filling your free time with nothingness or distractions, then in 5 years time, you will accomplish only keeping your box empty.

I know this may be an extreme thought, but for me it became extreme. I was created to write, paint, minister and to be present, yet I filled up a season of my life with nothingness and wondered why I was not getting anywhere. It all turned so quickly and without notice went from a few minutes of decompressing daily, into a lifestyle.

I am being exposed here. Not because it is fun to admit it, but because I know I am not alone and my hope is that others will see before the melancholy or time thief sets in. The thief of your time can also be a thief of your joy.

So what can you fill the empty box with?

I am determined to fill my life with things from the Lord through prayer, worship of all forms and pursuit of my future that He has planned for me. I want my empty box to become filled with life. So that I may pour it out onto others and not be running on a nothingness.  So that I may remain young and strong.

Psalm 103:5- He fills my life with good things so that I stay young and strong like an eagle.  

Rhythm of My Heart

 

28167194_1096435737165994_841401734140422186_n      This picture, not the property of Writing for Joy.

 

I would lay in bed and hear the sound of my heartbeat. The rhythm was off. With every early beat, the heart would have to pump fast and hard to catch up. I feel like I have a constant lump in my chest. This usually would pass after a few weeks. But this last time has lasted long enough to affect my every day. For over 6 months my body has had to work harder to function, often leaving me fatigued and constantly dizzy.

When the heart is out of rhythm it has to work harder. This has me thinking of the spiritual life, not just the physical.  When our spiritual heart gets out of the rhythm of Gods word, the very heart of God,  we cannot accomplish all the tasks he has before us with ease.
Disobedience to God’s word leads our hearts to be out of Rhythm from what the Lord has for us.

Psalm 119:11
I have stored up your word in my heart,

    that I might not sin against you

When our spiritual heart rhythm is not in sink with our God, we have all kinds of spiritual symptoms and some of those even cross over into the physical.
Spiritually, we may not hear His voice with the same clarity.
We may not have the same spiritual discernment and direction.
Because of this, our physical life can be impacted. We may get depressed, we may see our ministries dwindling, we may see our relationships suffer and many other signs that our spiritual heartbeat is not in Rhythm.
Just like my physical heart now needs medication, my spiritual heart needs the medication of the word of God.  With that word of God, I must hide it in my heart and walk in obedience to it. My heart beats with my father. He is The  Rhythm of My Heart and I pray that I stay in sync with Him and all His great works for me.

 

 

Complain, complain, complain

 

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One of the triggers for my fibromyalgia is the rainy weather. The rain also starts the mold in the window sills that have to be diligently watched to keep clean. The rain makes me cold and once I get cold from wet jeans, it takes hours to feel warm. The rain makes the floors nasty when we are loading and unloading the car.  These are all my thoughts most of the winter and I complain, complain, complain. 

I complain without even realizing that I am complaining. It has become such a habit to be negative about the wet weather that when I rise and see rain ‘again’ my heart gets deflated. One year, I even cried when the first rain of the season arrived.

Then this morning! I woke up blurry eyed and sore and I looked out my window and saw the fog admit the greenery before my eyes. I saw golds and greens and the most vibrant colors and I realized, without all that rain my view wouldn’t be as breathtaking. 

It was a shifting and a reflection of myself. What other beauties am I missing with my complaining heart? What other joys, or moments pass by because I complain, complain, complain? 

*God wants me to give thanks in EVERYTHING!

1 Thessalonians 5:18- In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

This is the day to rejoice! This is the day the Lord has made! I should wake up with a song on my lips despite what is going on in the weather forecast. Yes, it hurts my muscles, but I can rejoice that I am able to rest when needed. Yes it is cold, but I am able to rejoice I have a warm home. I need to shift my thinking to be on my rejoices rather than my frustrations. The frustrations are going to be there weather I like them or not, but if I let them be my focus they have robbed my joy. 

*I am not shining if all I am doing is complaining.

Philippians 2:13-15 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

 

Time to remember the things the Lord has placed in my heart and break the habit of complain, complain, complain. I am not picking that back up!

quote: Watch out for the joy-stealers: gossip, criticism, complaining, fault-finding, and a negative, judgmental attitude.
Joyce Meyer