As I said in part one of this series on restful living, my doctor recently told me that I needed to reduce my stress.He was very kind in the way he spoke, but he let me know that I needed to make changes–he told me the truth. In a firm yet gentle voice, he gave me what the writer of Proverbs calls, “a timely reprimand” (Proverbs 25:11) I love the Message paraphrase of this verse: “The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry, and a wise friend’s timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.” (verses 11 and 12)
I’ve slowed down some and noticed that more often during the day, I am singing. By reducing the expectations I have for myself, I’ve begun to make progress on another stress-producing problem–the clutter in my house. Because I am a visual person, clutter distracts me from the work I am doing and slows me down. Consequently, at the end of the day, I often end up with quite a few unfinished tasks.
In the past, I’ve made some very ineffective attempts to reduce my clutter–usually just stuffing everything in bags and boxes. This made it look like I was a very neat and organized person, but it produced a bigger problem–that of not being able to find things. For example, I often couldn’t find a pair of reading glasses. Last week,underneath piles of papers in my office, I found five pair.
Clutter has not only distracted me and reduced my efficiency, it also has made me feel frustrated and angry toward myself. I’m getting some help from my friend Liana George, a professional organizer. I joined her FB Clutter Wars group and I’m learning how to be gentle with myself, while clearing away clutter one small step at a time.
I enjoy watching Liana’s online videos because she has such a cheerful voice. She’s a very accepting person and speaks words of encouragement for every small bit of progress. Like my doctor, she kindly speaks the truth. Her group is about making war on clutter not on yourself.
(If you are interested in joining her group, search “Clutter Wars” in the FB search bar and then just ask to join.)
Throughout my life, God has given me kindly-speaking-truth friends. I treasure their friendship. But it’s God, himself, through the words of the Holy Spirit, who best speaks the truth in a gentle way. I have no words to adequately express how thankful I am for his presence in my life. I’m sharing a little of what this means in the following song.
The Spirit of God So Gently Speaks
The Spirit of God so gently speaks
When we go wrong, when we are weak
Not with judgment, not to condemn
He, with kindness, turns us again
Back to the path we know that’s right
He gives more grace; he gives insight.
Then with deep joy and confidence
We change our course; yes, we repent
The Spirit of God prays for us.
He sees our frame, knows we are dust.
He keeps watch all day and all night
We are, forever, in his sight.
So let’s not worry; let’s not fear
About the things that will disappear;
Our life consists of something unseen,
For God has washed our spirits clean
The Spirit of God has made us alive
Under his counsel, we now thrive
He brings to us the Word of Christ—
The Message of Truth–unrevised;
Not mixed with lies, not altered to please
Indulgent hearts, preferring ease.
Let’s receive his correction with joy
And in our lives, his wisdom employ.
The Spirit of God will seldom shout;
With all our noise, we can block him out.
That, my friends, is a very sad choice.
We need to hear his gentle voice.
We need his wisdom and his power
We need his grace, every hour
Apart from him, we will not succeed
In doing any worthwhile deed
The Spirit of God is our Comforter
And with his help, we can endure
Grief and pain of every kind
He gives to us a peaceful mind
And we give up our addictive stuff–
His gracious Presence is enough.
He gives to us his strength and love;
Someday, we’ll join the Saints above.
The Spirit of God so gently speaks,
So gently speaks,
So gently speaks . . .