Monday, May 17, 2010

Of Excess and Structure

Friday night I learned a lot of new info about using coupons and how they can be maximized in order to save the most money. Both Sabrina and Ellen reminded us through God's word of how we are to be good stewards of all that He blesses us with. Using coupons in a wise manner is one way to do just that. I came away both challenged and inspired to take my use of coupons to a new level. I even went out this weekend and purchased a 3-ring binder and some photo/ball card pages to organize my growing stack of coupons! Bought a Sunday paper for more coupons and looked over ads for the two stores I most frequently shop at to plan my strategy for this week's shopping/saving expeditions.

As I've been thinking about why I am energized to actually begin this new way of shopping (my usual way is to be excited at the class/workshop but lose the 'glow' before I even get started), I've concluded that it is because they reminded me of a truth that, in our American culture of excess, we have forgotten. God requires us to be good stewards of all of the blessings He showers upon us and that goes beyond giving the first ten percent.

What do we do with the other 90%? I confess that most of the time I wind up spending it without a lot of thought. Oh, I don't go on huge shopping sprees. I have more stuff than I know what to do with now and that's after downsizing when we last moved over 3 years ago. But I do wind up spending a lot more than I should due to poor planning (lack of structure) on my part. And that is money that I could be using to help others and to further God's kingdom.

And so I begin with my notebook, coupons, and sales fliers. A small step, but a step in the right direction. A step that will, hopefully, lead to another and another and yet another as I learn to be more disciplined in my approach to managing the money that God has provided.

Which goes along with something else God has been nudging me about lately...structure in my use of time. Like a lot of you, I often bemoan the 'fact' that I don't have enough time to do it all. Truth is, I have all the time I need to do the thing(s) God plans for me to do. It is my own haphazard use of time that robs me of fulfilling those plans. Perhaps my step in the right direction in regard to managing my financial resources will also turn into a walk toward time freedom as well!

What things do you do to be a wise steward of the time and other resources given to you by God? Let us know by clicking on comments below and sharing your tips. We benefit from each other's wisdom as we.........share the journey.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Peace Redefined

Webster's Dictionary defines peace as 'a state of tranquility; absence of war; a pact to end a war; freedom from disorderly disturbances; freedom from fears or worries.

Over the past couple of weeks I've asked other women to describe what peace means to them. "Freedom from chaos." "No anxiety." "No stress." "Calm." "Freedom from worrying." These are a few of their answers.

Peace, to me, is all of these and so much more. An ability to float above the chaos and storms of life - kind of like when you are flying high above the clouds, the sun ablaze while a thunderstorm rages below.

We tend to think of peace as being freedom from anything that causes us stress, worry, fear, anxiety, trouble. You know, all those 'negative' things! All those things that interupt our daily lives and rob us of peace as we define it.

When Jesus promised us that He will give us peace, did He mean that He would eliminate all of those peace-robbing circumstances and people from our lives? Of course not!

So how do we let Him redefine peace as it applies to our lives?

We start by remembering that He is always with us, ready to replace our anxiety or fear with His peace. He is only a prayer, a breath, a heartbeat away. I don't know about you, but I allow the peace-robbing circumstances to get an upperhand way too many times. Most of the time when that happens, it is because I have rushed into my day without surrendering it to Him. Sometimes, without even thinking about Him. I wake up and my Type A personality brain kicks in with the 'to-do' list and the next thing I know I am rushing out the door, late for work (again!). Then life happens and the next thing I know I am in the middle of an exasperating situation, reacting with less than a peaceful attitude.

What a difference it makes when I spend a few moments with Him, giving my agenda to Him and asking Him for wisdom to live out His plan for my day. Then when life happens and my natural response would be to rip into a "how can you be so...." speech when someone irritates me, I instead respond to His prompting to respond with love. In her book, "Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl", Lysa Terkeurst writes "When I take the time to meet with Jesus each morning, I am prepared to face life with much more peace than if I just rush into my day without Him. Because God is able to stand in my yesterday, today, and tomorrow, He knows things and sees things for which I need to be prepared." (p. 63, "Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl, copyright 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst, Zondervan
To find out more about Lysa and her ministry, visit her at

And that, my friends, is how God wants to give us the peace He promises. Peace as defined by Him. Not the world's definition, but God's. There is no getting around the fact that in this world we will have troubles. If we wait for a lack of trouble to have peace...well, all I'm saying is we might be waiting a long, long, long time! But if what we seek after with all of our hearts is the peace that God offers, we will have it in abundance, because it is in seeking Him with all of our hearts that we will find it.

It's just a matter of redefining peace.

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