The Tablet Challenge
Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction. Proverbs 29:18
…the people cast of restraint, the people let loose, the people are not directed…
The word restraint or restrained is not attractive. It doesn’t feel welcoming or comforting. A normal reaction would be to CAST off or FIGHT restraint. Initially, “restraint” doesn’t bring thoughts of freedom. And freedom is what we are made for.
A train is restrained in that it must ride the rails of it’s tracks. It only travels where the tracks lead. In truth it could move along without them but a train driving without tracks would slip and slide. It would move, but slowly and in many directions. In contrast, a train on rails is focused, gains speed and quickly reaches it’s destination. It’s restrained but purposeful!
If one would heed
be alert to and take action with
the instruction of wisdom,
the revelation or vision they have been given,
they can lay track
restrain themselves, limit where they put the focus and energy, know what to say “yes” to, direct their path
and will reach their destination.
Attain their destiny!
Freedom allows us to let loose! But wisdom in freedom allows us to choose how to restrain ourselves in order to give our life focus and direction.
Seek wisdom, heed it’s instruction and lay the tracks!
Reaching your destiny depends on your vision and self restraint!
What is your vision? What has Wisdom instructed you towards?
In what ways can you restrain (direct) yourself in order to see your vision realized?
Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com
We love New. New beginnings. Fresh starts.
We like January Firsts, Mondays, New fiscal quarters; to flip the page to a new month or week in our calendar.
We like Resolutions. Solutions. Resolve – unmarred by failed attempts. The hope in them still bright.
Hope is empowering! It reminds us our dreams can still come true, our destiny actualized.
One month into 2013 you may have already found yourself falling short in your new years resolutions. Maybe you set financial or exercise goals, perhaps you made a plan to read more or serve more, be angry less or forgive quickly. Perhaps you are not seeing the progress you envisioned. Whatever you resolved to do, don’t dismay!
I have some encouragement for you!
The mercy, grace, empowerment and hope of God is available in every breathe. Mistakes covered, shortcomings made up for, debt paid. We need only to turn to what He provides. We do not have to flip the calendar to a new year, month or week. We don’t need to wait until the new fiscal quarter.
Every. Day. Is. A. Fresh. Start.
“His mercies are NEW every morning.”
“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23
You can start over right now. Now is your fresh start. Now is your new beginning.
Now is your NEW.
In Him you have ALL that you need.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness”. 2 Peter 1:3
My oldest son is three and half years old and seems to have entered into a new phase. The last few days it would seem his greatest joy is making a mess. He would dump out a bucket of toys kick them all over the room, toss some at the windows and call proudly out to me, “Look, Mommy, a BIG mess!” Once dumped he doesn’t want to play with the toys – dumping seems to be the joy he was going for. He hasn’t seemed satisfied with just one bucket of toys but procedes to find every possible dump-able container to add to the BIG mess.
Last night he made his biggest mess yet. After nap time it started. My other two children were happily playing with a small set of toys and my eldest began the dumping. Instead of my normal freaking out I decided to allow him to “take responsibility” for his mess and that he would be required to clean it up before his dinner. He would dump something and proudly call out as he does and I would respond with my new found empowerment, “No Problem!”
At dinner time I said, “Feel free to join us after you’ve cleaned up the toys.”
He would respond with, “Not right now.” (A phrase I am certain he picked up from me.) He dumped the bucket of action figures, the bucket of Hotwheels, two huge boxes of books, the train set, the shape sorter box of blocks and threw the toddler chairs in front of the door. The mess grew and grew and grew. The two younger ones ate dinner – and the mess maker showed no interest in one of his favorite pasta meals.
Our dinner guests arrived and the adults all enjoyed dinner, still he stated no interest in joining us. He would occasionally start to put books back into the box but by the second or third book he would get distracted and start “reading”. My middle child ate a huge dinner and he was able to get dessert. Sugar cookies! This was slightly motivating to the mess maker – he would poke is head out of the playroom and politely ask, “Excuse me, could I have a cookie or something?” The “or something” is an interesting little phrase he’s begun tacking onto many of his sentences. And I’d call back,
“Feel free to join us after you pick up the toys.” and he’d run back into the playroom without a word.
Dinner came and went, Video time came and went.
I went to put our little lady to bed and our middle child was starting his “bedtime routine” with daddy. I came down the stairs and into the playroom. What a disaster. I could hardly walk. It had now been over two and half hours and he had become destructive. He had started ripping book covers and taking my things off the walls. He even climbed up on a little table and turned the heater off. He sat in the middle of his mess distracted, looking at or playing with whatever happened to be in front of him. I had started to wonder if the mess was too much for a three year old. I know when my sink gets more and more full of dirty dishes I sometimes keep putting it off because I don’t know where to start. Perhaps, he kept making a bigger mess because it was all he could think to do. He didn’t know how to start cleaning up.
So I said, “Hey bud, how you doin’?”
“Look, Mommy, I ripped this book! Here you go” and he tries to hand me the broken pieces of paper. I ignored them.
“Do you want to clean up the books?”
“Would like some help cleaning up?”
“Yea” So I put a couple of books in the box and he started putting books in the box. As long as he kept moving I kept helping (just a little – I still wanted him to feel the weight of the mess he had to clean.) When he would stop and get distracted I would say, “Do you want to finish up on your own, or do you want my help?” And he would quickly regain focus and continue cleaning. Occasionally I would offer direction like, “Do you want to do the cars now or the train tracks?” And he would choose one. Surprisingly, once he got going he cleaned up very quickly and even took the time to make sure misplaced items were back in their proper bucket. He did a great job. I offered him my hand and he gave me a proud “high-five” and I told him he did a good job. I provided him a small bowl of pasta which he willingly ate and he went up to join the bedtime routine with his Dad and brother.
I am certain I didn’t follow the parenting techniques we ascribe to perfectly. We do our best to adhere to the wonderful wisdom from Loving our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk and Love and Logic, Inc. After the children were down I put parenting psychology aside and had a revelation.
Making good choices is often a challenge for many of us. And it’s not uncommon to find ourselves in the midst of a really big mess. Be it failed or troubled relationships, debt, the misuse of drugs, joblessness or even jail. Sometimes we’re in such a mess we don’t even recognize it and we just keep dumping more mess into our lives with more poor choices even to the point of self destruction. This seems easier than cleaning up our mess, it reinforces what we believe about ourselves that mess is all we are capable of, or we just get distracted from how awesome we are and the dreams we have. Maybe we don’t know where to start.
It’s possible all we need is a little help. Expert mess makers are great at building their lives around people who will clean up their messes for them. Asking for help isn’t that difficult for them – it’s part of their messiness. With a toddler it’s usually easier and faster to just pick up the mess ourselves – but then they are always looking for us to clean it up for them. What we really need is someone who will come encourage us to clean up.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
Our God is always with us and willing to help but He will not help us continue to be destructive. When we choose to continue destroying our lives he stands by and waits patiently for us to turn to him. I wasn’t going to help my son make more mess but I did come along side him and ask if he wanted help – I showed him how to start. As soon as we take one step towards cleaning up our mess God is there with the strength and encouraging presence we need. He is continually speaking to us words of wisdom and revelation but we must tune in to listen. He is always there asking, “Would you like some help?” and ready to provide some.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Psalm 103:8
If you find yourself in a “big mess” seek God’s guidance and help to clean it up. Coming to Him and admitting you made a mess is your first step. Own your mess, take responsibility for what you made. Then receive the strength and grace He provides. Feel free to seek the help of others but make sure you are the one doing most of the “cleaning.” Once you get started you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can get back on track.
Of course, I recommend the book and website included above.
Loving our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk
Life is pretty crazy. Maybe your life is like mine and you’re a mom buried in diapers, laundry and Hotwheels. Maybe you are financially strapped and struggling each day to get a job, keep a job, keep your house or get out of debt. Are you the ‘soccer mom or dad’ distraught keeping up with your children’s seemingly endless list of extracurricular activities? Either way if you are like many people you are fighting, treading to keep your head above water, hoping for the next big something so that you can take a breath. Survival is the goal. Having just enough to maintain status quo feels like success. I remember earlier days as a mom thinking if I got to brush my teeth that day it was a good day. Or on a worse day the success was marked by the fact that we all made it alive to bedtime. My children keep me busy. We all have our own busy-ness. If your goal lately has been to simply make it through the day then you have landed in survival mode. Survival mode keeps us narrow minded, tired, worried and scared.
As long as we are in survival mode the only person we can think about is ourselves. If we are drowning how do we reach out to someone else without pulling them down? Maybe all you really want is a manageable day – just one day that doesn’t feel like you’re brought to the end of yourself, where things feel under control. If this is your life why would you want to add one more thing to your plate? Because you want more than just a manageable day. You want a dynamic life of love and hope. You want mountaintop victories and peace that’s not based on logic. You want more. You want all the promises, all the dreams and the happily ever after too. And who can blame you?
…those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. Proverbs 14:22b-23
Stop the panic and fear that things are never going to change. Change the thinking that breads fear into thoughts of hopeful anticipation of good. Sometimes we have to stop treading water, take a big breath and sink to the bottom, then push our legs up hard to break the waters surface with force. What does that look like outside the metaphor? It could be as simple as changing one thing.
When I was overwhelmed by my sleepless life of mothering three babies I reached a point where I was sick of hearing the complaints and whining in my head. I am energized by sleeping. I love sleep. Some people need quiet alone time, others need lively interaction with others, I need sleep. Mothering little ones I was up several times a night and then up early for the day. I started the day thinking about how tired I was, how tired I was going to be after this long day and how even if I get a nap (which is likely to be interrupted) I was still going to be tired – I felt lousy, grumpy, and overwhelmed all day. So I made one simple change. I decided not to think on that. (This is an example of taking our thoughts captive, and tearing down strongholds.) When I woke up – as soon as I could I started thinking about anything except how tired I was. As soon as I thought about the doom of exhaustion mid thought I would stop, tell myself, ” No, I will not whine about this!” -and begin being thankful for things. Thankful for my children, thankful for hot coffee, thankful for sunbeams in my window or the pitter pat of rain outside. Anything. Soon my mood changed, and then one moment I noticed I wasn’t as tired. All that grumpy whining sucked energy right out of me and when I closed that drain I felt the difference. I had more energy to take on the day and give to my family.
Maybe your one change is as small and simple as mine was or maybe you need to make some bigger changes. If you’ve recognized you’re in survival mode it’s time to get out. We are designed to thrive not just survive, to have dominion and authority over our lives, not be the victim of our circumstances. We hit the targets we aim for – sometimes it takes lots of practice but if we don’t aim we’re sure to miss. Even if it feels like the sky will fall stop for a few moments. You need to have a good goal: for your family, your marriage, your career, your body. Set some goals. Be intentional. If there are activities that are weighing you down that don’t help you reach those goals eliminate them. Often times just stopping and thinking about what we are doing makes a difference.
Great! You’re on your way out of survival mode. Next we’ll look at how to stay out and the connections that matter. (to be continued…)
Your feedback is appreciated.
Criticism is easy to come by but encouragement can change someone’s day and may even change their life.
Encourage. Inspire. Invigorate. Uplift.
I was actually opposed to blogging. I had a ton of ignorant thoughts about the blogosphere and they even kept me from reading blogs. But a friend of mine just kept encouraging me to write. In her soft, sweet Southern way she prodded me. And here I am – writing. Years ago I would write all the time and then I hit a wall. It became easy to make excuses and then day after day I just didn’t do it anymore. Without my friends’ recent encouragement I doubt you would be reading this now. (You can read her amazing blog about connecting to a life of significance here). Once I started Make It Plain on Tablets something inside me ignited and now I can’t keep from writing or thinking about writing. It’s been amazing!
We all need revival from time to time. Somehow we get distracted from our goals, give up, settle for less. We need a life giving word of encouragement to get us going, to keep us going or to bring us back to our life. Revival. Like CPR for the soul.
Encouragement isn’t flattery. Flattery is a type of sweet talk or praise that has manipulation at it’s core. Flattery is a way to get people to do what you want them to do. A way to get them to feel a certain way so that you feel a certain way. It’s self serving. Encouragement is about helping others do what God has designed them to do.
Encouragement is looking at someone and seeing how amazing they are and telling them about it. Often we don’t see ourselves or circumstances clearly. Our vision is clouded by failures or the grandness of our hope. We need someone to see us from the outside and remind us of the truth in us.
Maybe you feel like you are the one who needs encouragement and that you have nothing to give. My word to you is find someone else to encourage. It’s funny – when you start to encourage someone else somehow you get encouraged. And it’s contagious! Try it. But by all means don’t let me stop you from asking God to show you how He sees you and then staring yourself in the mirror and declaring to yourself that you were designed on purpose and for a great purpose, that you can receive the grace to do it, stop it, make it, choose it, build it, move it, write it or whatever your IT is. You are amazing and nothing less!
Set your eyes to find someone to encourage this week. When you take the time to look at others with intentions of hope it’s easy to see their truth. Then take that next step and tell them about it.
Consider leaving a comment below on how you plan to take on this challenge or how it goes or share an idea for other readers on ways to encourage.
Related book and articles
- Strengthen Yourself in the Lord a book by Bill Johnson
- Mean What You Say and Say What You Mean (thoughtsonscripture.com)
- Scripture Food for Thought ~ Real Heroes Are Just Ordinary People ~ What Makes Their Exploits Different? (scripturefoodforthought.wordpress.com)