Day 31: The Secret to NOT Trying to Have It All {Part 2}

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I’m coming to the end of these 31 days lighter. I knew going into this month the Lord was going to speak to me as much or more than anyone else reading this about letting go of having it all. And He did.

My list of topics to cover during the month came to me pretty easily and I know it was Him saying, “You can lay these down. They don’t HAVE to happen. They are stealing your joy.”

And many of the things I wrote about WERE stealing joy from my life. Too many expectations were weighing me down and writing about them helped free me.

I feel lighter. And to be honest, I’ll probably feel even lighter when I finish writing this post because writing 31+ posts in 31 days is a lot.

One final secret to help you stop trying to have it all…

In Christ Alone

Only in Christ alone can we truly have it all.

“In Christ Alone” has always been one of my favorite worship songs. I bawl every time I sing it. And as I was planning out this series, it was the first thing that came to mind in reference to having it all.

He IS all. He is everything. When we have relationship with Him, we have all we ever need. And when our lives are focused on Him, it is much harder to get wrapped up in trying to have it all.

The only way to have it all…  is to have Jesus – and like Him — to give it all away. ~Ann Voskamp

If you’re reading this, feeling weighed down by the pursuit of more stuff and expectations that always seem out of reach, I’m praying for you now. I’m praying for your load to be lightened, your focus to be changed, your heart to feel free.

You don’t HAVE to have it all. I don’t HAVE to have it all.

Breathe a little easier with me as we soak in this truth…

Have you let go of something you didn’t HAVE to do or have or be this month? I would love to hear what spoke to your heart in this series!

And thanks for sticking with me through these 31 days! I have been blessed by your comments!

This post is part of the series, 31 Days of NOT Having It All. You can find the rest of the posts in this series here!

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Day 30: The Secret to NOT Trying to Have It All {Part 1}

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There are two key secrets to keep in mind if we want to stop trying to “have it all.” After going through many things we don’t HAVE to do or have this month, these two secrets are actually quite simple, but must be brought to our minds often in order to do their magic.

Secret #1 to Stop Trying to Have It All:

Gratitude.

Yep. It’s that simple.

It’s really hard to be discontent or want more when you are practicing regular gratitude.

Eucharisteo as Ann Voskamp says. The counting of our gifts. Discovering the blessings right in front of us. Giving thanks to the Giver of all good things.

Secret to Having It All

When I took Ann’s Joy Dare, counting three gifts a day for an entire year, I felt a shift and this is why…

Giving thanks in all things is how to pray continually — and this is the way to get to the joy. ~Ann Voskamp

I’ve had lapses in the Joy Dare throughout the year and that’s when the discontent and comparison creep in. It usually takes me a little while to realize it, but once I get back on track, those feelings get swept away pretty quickly. And they are replaced with joy. I stop TRYING to have it all and realize I already do.

So let’s start practicing secret #1 right now. No delay. Share three blessings. The first three that come to mind. And encourage a friend to do the same. Let’s fight the discontent + comparison bug by spreading gratitude + joy!

 

This post is part of the series, 31 Days of NOT Having It All. You can find the rest of the posts in this series here!

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Day 29: I Don’t HAVE to… Have the Next Best Thing

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My children are a marketer’s dream.

They see a commercial for something that is “NEW” or “IMPROVED” or “BETTER THAN EVER” and they want it RIGHT. NOW. Obviously that pair of Stompeez would make their life SO much better, right?

I can’t say I’m much better. The newest thing has such appeal to me. I, too, am drawn to new and shiny and improved.

I am particularly partial to kitchen gadgets. I have thus far restrained myself from buying the cute little cake pop maker, but I have been tempted. I have a slight obsession with finding the best blender and/or food processor. I love reading kitchen equipment recommendations from America’s Test Kitchen.

As much as I might want to, I have not spent a fortune on this kitchen gadget fascination, but I know that desire is there. And the feelings of always wanting the next best thing in one area of life tend to bleed over into the other areas.

Discontent breeds more discontent. While I am quite happy with the beautiful life God has given me, when I focus on the “better” things I could have in my kitchen or garage or any other part of my home, the thoughts don’t usually stop there.

Next Best Thing

Sometimes we are forced to not have the “next best thing” because of financial constraints. Sometimes we are able to afford the latest and greatest, but we realize once we have it that it wasn’t so great after all or it didn’t fill the void we through it would.

Whether we have the money or not, part of living the self-controlled life laid out in Galatians 5:22-23 is about knowing we don’t HAVE to have that next best thing. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to reign in our misguided desires.

I’m praying and working on training myself to avoid the announcements of new technology and such. I try to look at the best options for a product ONLY when we actually need it and not just for fun. I’m an imperfect work in progress in this area, but my status quo is changing. I want that focus on “new” and “better” stuff to go away.

I don’t HAVE to have the next best thing.

Who is joining me in repeating that to themselves today?

This post is part of the series, 31 Days of NOT Having It All. You can find the rest of the posts in this series here!

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Day 28: I Don’t HAVE to… Fit In

31 Days of NOT Having It All BannerI thought this fitting in thing was something I would only worry about in school…

Turns out I was wrong.

And instead of having less worries about fitting in as I’ve gotten older, involvement in lots of communities has actually created more places I want to feel accepted.

Church.

Homeschool community.

Writers.

Bloggers.

Social Media.

I feel myself scrambling more than ever to fit too many different molds in too many different groups. And I’ve stopped trying to be just myself. The lovely, glorious me God created and said, “It is good.”

Sisters, I know it is so nice to find a place you belong, but that does not mean you should make yourself into somebody you are not in order to fit in.

Fit In

This is not just a “I don’t HAVE to…” today. It is a “please DO NOT!”

I’m afraid we spend too much time making ourselves appealing to a certain audience that we totally lose sight of the wonderful, unique human being God made us to be. Our energy is wasted on outward appearances and the “right” words, with no energy left to pursue His true calling in the place He has put us.

Please don’t TRY to fit in. You do not have to be someone else to fit. You need to be who you are and find the right place for that person. And most of the time, the right place hasn’t been something I found by trying really hard, but something God has blessed me with when I trust Him to show me.

Stop searching. Stop trying to fit a mold. Stop hiding behind a mask.

You, my friend, don’t have to fit anywhere else because you fit perfectly in the body of Christ just as you are. 

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Day 27: I Don’t HAVE to… Live a Balanced Life

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My sweet friend and mentor, Teri Lynne, calls it lopsided living. I love that term.

It really isn’t about balance. It’s about determining what is important in the here and now and doing that well.

You don’t HAVE to live a balanced life, friend. If you ask me, the thing people call a “balanced” life is more of a juggling act. The juggling act can look flashy and fun and exciting, but most often, it is stressful and the juggler is worrying about what will drop first. If you are juggling things you don’t HAVE to do along with the essentials of your life, who knows what will fall.

Hold on tightly and fight hard for the things that matter right now. Let the other things fall away.

Learn from someone wise like I did and do a little lopsided living.

 

This post is part of the series, 31 Days of NOT Having It All. You can find the rest of the posts in this series here!

 

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Day 26: I Don’t HAVE to… Earn My Salvation

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My dear one,

If there is anything currently in your schedule solely because you think it will make Jesus love you more or get you into heaven, please drop it now.

Yes, God calls us to do things, and when He does, we must respond in obedience out of our love for Him. But He doesn’t ask us to do these things to earn our salvation or His love.

He has loved you since the beginning of time and nothing you DO {or don’t do} will make Him love you more.

Grace is not given as payment for our work. It is a gift we receive when we commit our lives to Him.

The way to heaven is not paved with works, but with faith.

Please, sweet friend, stop trying to earn your salvation and rest in your relationship with Him.

He has done the work and paid the price for all of us.

 

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Day 25: I Don’t HAVE to… Have It All at the Same Time

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This post is part of the series, 31 Days of NOT Having It All. You can find the rest of the posts in this series here!

 

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Day 24: I Don’t HAVE to… Do Everything for My Children

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I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Moms, we have a problem…

A school administrator recently told a friend of mine that all the stuff that kids have these days isn’t what spoiling them; it’s their moms. Moms who hover. Mom who step in to fix problems. Moms who coddle. Moms who do not allow their children to suffer the natural consequences of their actions. No wonder a 25-year-old can be found still living at his parents’ home. ~Kay Willis Wyma, Cleaning House

It may or may not be hard for you to believe this, but I have already seen the beginnings of entitlement in our seven and five-year-old. It is my fault. I don’t really want to be one of the moms mentioned in the quote above, but I have underestimated over and over again what my boys are capable of, done it for them, and in the process, created boys who don’t think they can – or don’t want to – do the necessary things for themselves.

Do Everything for My Children

Does any of this sound familiar?

They know how to fold laundry…but it goes much faster if I do it myself.

They know how to clean the sinks…but I’ll probably just have to clean it myself again afterwards, so I’ll do it myself.

They know to make their beds…but they’re in such a hurry in the morning, so I’ll just do it myself after they leave.

Even at seven and five, my boys can actually do much more than I give them credit for, but I have to LET them do those things! In the past year, they’ve learned how to vacuum, fold laundry, dust, take out the trash, and do the dishes. They do these things quite well IF I don’t do the chores for them!

As moms, we need to recognize the value in teaching our children to do the things they should know how to do, around the house and in life. Yes, it takes a little more work right now, but it creates much less work for you and I in the long run!

And even though our kids might will complain at first, they will actually be empowered by this experience…

Our kids want us to challenge them to do more, particularly once they experience firsthand how much better it feels to be productive rather than to be catered to. – Kay Wills Wyma, Cleaning House

I’m fighting the grumbles of my kids and my own do-it-myself attitude this week to teach the kids some new skills around the house. I’m thinking big picture. I don’t want them to have life handed to them on a platter. I want them to know the value of hard work and the reward of a job well done, whether it be making their bed or putting together a big report for school on their own.

In Kay Wills Wyma’s book, Cleaning House, she goes through her 12-month journey to rid of her family of entitlement. In the second month, she teaches all of her children how to meal plan, shop, cook, and clean up from the meal. The month had major ups and some downs, but I love her observation at the end of that month…

I didn’t realize just how much I’ve shackled these kids by racing in and doing for them. On autopilot, I’ve shopped, cooked, and so much more, failing to see the countless opportunities to teach them about life and build self-esteem by helping them do what most of their friends have never considered doing.

Time to stop doing it all for them, moms. Myself included.

What could you teach your kids to do for themselves this week?

 

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Day 23: I Don’t HAVE to… Write a Book

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Everybody is writing a book these days. An ebook, a handbook, a devotional, a novel, an inspirational best-seller…

Everybody is writing a book these days…except me.

If I’m being completely honest, I have allowed not having a book on the market to make me feel less important and valued in the writing community.

While I know this is NOT true and is just how I FEEL, I am nagged by the reality that the majority of my blogging friends have written some kind of book and I haven’t.

I am 100% sincerely thrilled for all of the wonderful author friends who have released books since I have known them. I actually have felt very little jealousy in that area. I know the hours and hours of hard work they have put in to bring these books to life.

God actually put an idea for a book in my heart over a year ago. It is still sitting there in my heart. There are a few random notes in Evernote. I even have a book proposal drafted. But I also have the feeling that now is not the time. And there might never be a time. I’m learning to be ok with that…kind of.

I would really like to write that book – or any other book He gives me – someday, but I don’t HAVE to write a book.

Write a Book

In my life, right now, I don’t have those hours and hours to commit to book writing. I’ve tried. It just did not work with our family and current lifestyle. I felt God telling me to wait.

So I’m still waiting. And this wait has helped see the other areas He wants me to be focusing on that would get no attention were I to be writing a book.

If you’re plugging away at writing – on your blog, in a journal, for school – and have similar thoughts to mine about book writing, I want to encourage you to keep writing where you are until God tells you to GO. You don’t have to write a book right now to be considered a writer. We can learn and grow and be a writer without a book.

For me, the writing I love and that works right now is right here. Knowing you are reading and hearing your thoughts makes me a better person and writer every day. Thank you for being a part of this place.

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Day 22: I Don’t HAVE to… Go to a Conference {+ Five Minute Friday}

Five Minute FridayIt’s Five Minute Friday with lovely Lisa-Jo!

Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.

For me? An exercise in letting go and letting words flow. Five minutes only. {yes, I do set a timer and it quacks like a duck at 5 minutes, which totally makes me smile}

Today’s prompt: Together.

*****

And go…

Some of my very best online-turned-real-life friends are all together at a conference in South Carolina right now. I am missing the hugs and face-to-face conversation with them desperately, but that is not where I am to be right now.

After a busy, crazy, chaotic, FUN month of October, I am home, together with my family for the weekend. And while I long to see those far-away friends, my heart is overjoyed to be here, preparing for a “normal” weekend at home, together with my precious boys and handsome husband.

Yes, our normal together includes some on-call weekends, children not always cooperating, cleaning up spills and doing laundry, but THIS TOGETHER is what I crave right now. I need the family togetherness more than any other kind right now, no matter how messy it may be.

Conferences and retreats and events tug at my heart every once in a while, and if God says, “Go! Be together with them!” I will go. But His word to me has been “stay” lately.

And I will relish the together I have here, at home, with my family, every moment I get.

Stop.

*****

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I’m breaking the Five-Minute Friday rules a bit, but I need to add a little round out my thoughts on this aspect of NOT having it all…

Go to a Conference

I am a raging extrovert, so conferences are totally my thing. I LOVE meeting new people, networking, learning and being inspired, and most of all, sitting down with friends who live too far away for coffee and in-the-flesh fellowship.

But conferences require planning and money and sacrifice, and you know what? Going to conference doesn’t make you more important or special than anyone else.

You don’t HAVE to go to conferences to make a difference or be known or get connected. If God has made a way for you to attend one, then GREAT! I know you will have an amazing time!

But if the door has been closed on attending any “special” events right now, please don’t fret or mope, dear one. He has His reasons. And He is working out His plan and purpose for you right where you are. He doesn’t need a conference to accomplish His goals and dreams for you.

Today, I am praying for all of you at Allume and any other wonderful event or conference or retreat going on this weekend to have amazing, divine appointments and leave refreshed and renewed by Him.

And I am praying for those of you at home, wishing they were somewhere else, to see the value of being together where you. I’m praying you will see the divine appointments He has for you in your own home, church, community this weekend. Going to a conference doesn’t make you special. He has already done that.

And here is my favorite moment so far that I would have missed had I been away…

My Scary Pumpkins 2013

Wherever you are, have a blessed weekend!

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