• Category Archives discipline(s)
  • Habits

    Habits are wonderful and habits can undo you! Ridding oneself of the bad ones and developing new ones is just plain hard work. When habits are good, they assist you in accomplishing even more because they free up the little bit of will power that is granted for the day. You can focus your will power on a goal rather than blow it to working your way through a “to-do” list. Unlike phone plans there doesn’t seem to be any roll over to build up will power points.

    I used to have some excellent habits in organizing my life, accomplishing the work I needed to do, and still have time left for some fun activities and contributing to my community. Then the MS hit and annihilated  all my good habits.

    When the brain fog mostly cleared and I could see the crumbled mess of my life and my home…dust buffaloes roaming freely through the house! I began comparing the old self with the new self–bad idea. It added to the downward spiral and the new bad self-image, It depleted an already severely weakened self-worth. Comparison works like a black hole and sucks up precious will power. Oy!

    I spend a majority of most days in my recliner…so I watch lots of video presentations. One I found particularly helpful. The presenter, Eban Pagan, told of a man who had  two large rocks, a whole bunch of smaller rocks, some pebbles and some sand to put in a tank…first the sand and pebbles, then the small rocks. When he tried to put the two big rocks in there was not enough room. But when he did it the other way around–put in the two big rocks, placed the smaller ones around them, then the pebbles, viola! the sand slid down between and around them all and there was plenty of room for everything.

    Aha! I had found my plan…identify my two big rocks and make sure I do them before anything else. I am aiming for these to be two-hour blocks. All the other tasks will fit around them and if something of a small rock or pebble size is not done it is no big deal. Each day I have identified one house work item per day as a “big rock” and writing as my second “big rock.” My goal is to make sure those “big rock” time blocks are uninterrupted. After that I am very interruptible, if that’s a word! If I can develop some strong habits around time flow it will free up the will power that is poured for me daily, some days a thimble full and some days a tea cup. If I can build a strong habit, I won’t have to use up the will power to think through what needs to be done next. It is already a habit. It might work!

    Michael Hyatt is a writing mentor I read and follow as I can. He says having a companion while you are in the “messy middle” (before you reach a goal) makes is much easier to accomplish. Thanking God for helping me see a way out! I’d love to hear how God brought you out of an impossible situation. Let’s help each other.

    shedding a little light…Carol A. Brown

    www.fromgodsheart.com  Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive.

     

     


  • Camel Hair Shirt

               I don’t know about you, but camel hair shirts really
    give me a rash!  Maybe I’m allergic to
    camel hair. I hadn’t even realised I was
    wearing one until one day my writing partner suggested several radical measures
    to take on the piece I was writing. She
    was absolutely right, but after the call I carried on like the camel from which
    my shirt was made! I bellowed my
    objections that the load was too heavy. The way was too long. I moaned
    and groaned. I whined and carried on!

    Just as my lament was reaching its crescendo, the Lord
    stood before me. He didn’t raise His
    voice. There was no sarcasm in His
    tone. He just stood there as Commander
    in Chief, as Lord. And He said, “You
    said you wanted to learn everything I have to teach you.” The truth of His words took my breath
    away. In the spirit I saw myself fall to
    my knees. I was undone by my own
    words. He was right. Absolutely right!   

    When I first awakened after the initial long sleep of MS
    many people wanted to pray for my healing. I let them. When I was not healed right away, another round of caring folk suggested
    first this healer and then another. I
    went to hear some of them, but always had to leave before much of anything
    happened. I don’t know why healing can’t
    happen in the church before 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. 

    There was always this hesitancy in me . . . a kind of
    knowing that the Lord was going to use the MS somehow for His glory and my
    benefit. That doesn’t make sense, I
    know, but God’s logic is quite different from ours and His values turn ours on
    end. I didn’t understand either—still
    don’t. But I told someone that I wanted
    to “milk” this experience of the disease for all it was worth. I was not in a
    hurry to receive my healing because I wanted to learn everything God had to teach me during this time. I did not want to do another lap
    around Sinai.

    As the Lord repeated my own words to me, they hit with
    such a force I stopped mid-whine. The
    way He brought my own words back to me did something inside me. The whine was gone. All I could say was, “Yes, Lord.” I felt complaining was over and done—that I
    could rub on liniment when arduous work made me sore, but not complain? Never again!.

    That was when I realised that underneath the robe of
    righteousness the Lord had given me was a camel hair shirt. I asked the Him “Why the shirt? I can’t get it off.” He explained that He
    provided the resources I would need when I accepted His calling. I was incredulous! “I need this hot, smelly, irritating
    undershirt!?” He didn’t respond to the
    question, just kept talking. “Every calling has its task(s). You are to engage the tasks, but as you do,
    the tasks will work on you, building and shaping you into the fullness of the
    character of Christ. The work and
    disciplines of your calling are the camel hair shirt. The things in and about that calling which
    poke and irritate the flesh, these are my gift to you.

    I stood there with my mouth hanging open. If I understood Him correctly, writing and
    the rigours of MS are my “shirt” and if I am to learn all the Lord has to teach
    me, I will submit to those disciplines.
    I guess once a camel, always a camel. Sad to say, once the initial shock wore off, I have since then skated
    quite close to the edge of complaining.
    Like Rudyard Kipling”s camel, I have “humphed”.

    I find I move into the flesh in ways I was unaware
    of. The work, or the people with whom I
    live and work, poke and jab and my flesh is irritatingly brought to
    light—sometimes raw from the chaffing, like an untended saddle sore. I am thinking,  probably all flesh is allergic to camel hair.

    I am aware that I have a choice at this point. I can
    choose to forgive and heal, bring flesh to death in relationship to others and
    the Lord. I can submit to the
    disciplines of my calling, or I can moan and groan and carry on like a
    camel. I am finding that as I do the
    nasty work of bringing flesh to death, the camel hairs irritate less. The disciplines, the parameters of my calling—even
    the people with whom I work struggle against or struggle because they are not
    available—all become the banks through which my spirit flows. They define my limits and boundaries; but
    they are not barriers to restrict or hem me in. Rather, they give direction and purpose to my life. They become the avenues through which others
    are blessed—to God’s glory and my benefit.

    I am finding that when I begin to overheat it usually is
    not the camel hair shirt causing the problem. I tend to overheat when I move
    too quickly. I can’t seem to sprint down
    the lane set before me like an Olympic athlete—too much friction from my

    shirt. The hairs poke my flesh reminding
    me to not move that way. They encourage
    me to proceed at His pace, to stand straighter and walk taller, more like our
    Lord. That irritating gift keeps me on
    task—it helps me remember what it is I am doing and why.When I tire and collapse in a heap; when my
    shoulders melt down into my hips, my body doesn’t fit the shirt properly and
    the goofy thing starts poking.  When I
    lean into the flesh the camel hairs encourage me to straighten up, to move and
    walk in the ways of the Lord. But until
    I learn to submit to it, this darned camel hair shirt is going to keep on
    giving me a rash!