What is at the Heart of Simplicity?

Only as we allow the love of Christ to penetrate our wounds will we be able to love again as children love. Only as we open ourselves to the love of Christ and His people can we begin our journey toward being real.” Claire Cloninger

My Recalibrate Life Read this month is A Place Called Simplicity: The Quiet Beauty of Simple Living by Claire Cloninger.

It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord brings it all together. Somehow He shows us exactly what our hearts need in order to heal. And He teaches us what is necessary for our souls to be cultivated and grow in Christlikeness.

The words of the quote at the beginning of this post touch my heart deeply. The words really resonate with me because the Lord is making their truth real in my life. He has been leading me in learning about His love. My learning is taking place mostly through my practice of lingering and listening.

I am learning that His love truly satisfies every one of my needs. As I grow in willingness in being vulnerable, places deep within are opening. These are places that have been locked closed in self-protection and fear for years. I am finding the healing balm of His love is touching every wound within me. The broken pieces of my heart are being bound together, and I am feeling a new wholeness within.

There have been some very important verses that He has been using in this process. I will be sharing more about these verses in future posts.

Today I want to share generally about what is changing within me in that process. The healing that is taking place is changing my life.

First of all, the way I love others is not as often about striving and people-pleasing. But instead my love for others is coming out of the fullness of the love the Lord is filling me with. This is a big step of simplicity in my life, because I am realizing when I depend on Him and grow in His love I can rest.

Secondly, the way I look at life and plan my days is less about my unending to-do list and getting recognition or people-pleasimg. My new outlook leaves room for a slower pace. I don’t need to earn love. We don’t have to do anything to receive His love, in fact, nothing can make Him love us more.

Finally, I am learning strategies to bring myself back when I fall into the old patterns. I am learning of His love as a respite. Oh, I have known of His love for a long time. The problem is it hadn’t touched my heart fully because my heart was so calloused and walled off in fear and self-protection. But as the Lord’s love seeps into the crevices opened by growing trust.

I see how I can run to Him like a toddler looking for mommy during play. The way they look to see if she is still there, making sure nothing has changed, to know that they are still safe. So, in my moments of doubt and fear, I look to see if God is real, and if He is Who He says and I am finding that He is. I am finding also that He is always there, ready to meet me wherever I am.

Praying His Word has led me in knowing these truths in my life and in my heart. And as they become a part of me I am choosing differently. I am learning to live out of a heart that has found the secret to simplicity in living focused on and rooted in His love. I still stumble and people-please and strive at times, but the Lord is at work within my heart changing all of that.

I am learning that it is focusing on the Lord, learning of His love, and reaching for Him moment-by-moment in the midst of neediness or fear. It changes everything, because when we are not focused fully on Him, we are striving to fill the emptiness inside with things and with what we think people should give us, like love and acknowledgement. We reach for these things out of our fear, emptiness, and neediness in order to fill the God-sized hole in our hearts. And, you know what, no matter how hard we work to fill it or keep it full, it will never happen, Only God and His love are meant to fill it.

I know, I am probably not telling you anything that you didn’t aready know. But I have to admit I always thought I knew God’s love, and I did know about it. I just didn’t allow it in fully, I guarded my heart out of fear. Now, after all these years, the reality of the healing effects of His love is pouring into my heart. His love is finally becoming more real to me. In a way that seems too hard to explain, I just know I feel the difference inside and I see a difference in my response to life.

I will be sharing more about my times of listening, lingering, and learning of His love as I spend time in His Word and in prayer in some of my future posts. I hope you will join me. I hope too, that you will find hope in His love in the midst of whatever life is bringing you.

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Communion

What does communion mean to you? How does communing with the Lord change you? 

Communion is the final word that I want to respond to from the book The Broken Way. The Lord has used this word to impact my heart deeply, He has helped me to realize so much about my relationship with Him, where I am and where I want to be. I hope that you will find a part of my journey that you can relate to and that it will touch your heart in special way, leading you to desire the Lord more. 

To commune is defined as to “share one’s intimate thoughts or feelings with (someone) especially on a spiritual level.” It goes on to say that”the purpose of praying is to commune with God” (Oxford Dictionary).

Dictionary.com defines commune as “to converse or talk together with profound intensity, intimacy etc.”

I like using the word commune as a verb in connection to prayer and relationship with the Lord. We receive communion in church as part of the service, and we are told to do this “in remembrance of Him”.

Ann Voskamp shares in her book that the act of a Jewish man asking a woman to marry him, and the act of receiving communion mirror each other. She explains that in communion the Lord is asking for our union with Him and in marriage a man asks to be united with a woman.

As I was praying and reading the Scriptures today, the Lord has shown me how I am “prone to wander.”  In Jeremiah 2:34b, the Lord says “…my people have forgotten me days without number.” Reading this made do a personal inventory of my time with the Lord. I thought, no, I haven’t forgotten Him, but the Lord made it clear to me how all too often I just go through the motions but don’t open my heart to really commune with Him.

My word for the year 2017 is “yield” , but I struggle to yield. I instead find myself distracted, or busy and not surrendered as I want to be. I spoke to the Lord telling Him that I need to find balance, and the words were barely out of my mouth, when Matthew 6:33 came to my mind. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” “All these things”, all the things I am preoccupied with, worrying about, busy with or tending to, He will take care of. All that I need. He will supply. I only need to seek Him.

I wanted to argue and say, “but it’s not that easy.” And then I was reminded that it was only this morning that I learned the word “delight”  in Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” comes from a Hebrew word with the root word meaning soft, pliable, or moldable. And there I was, back at yielding. Communing with Him, seeking Him, delighting in Him is all about yielding to Him and when I do He will change the desires of my heart so that they are aligned with His will. He will add all the things I need or desire accordingly.

No, He is not going to give me whatever I wish like a magic genie. He is going to take my heart and work in it to find the reality of my deepest need in that desire and as He meets me in that I will find that I am always satisfied in Him.

The emptiness within is not calling out for more to do, or more busyness, or more stuff. It is a yearning for HIm that is often filled temporarily in an unsatisfying way with the things of this world.

Our Heavenly Father knows what we need, and because of His love for us He wants us to seek Him so the need can be met according to His perfect will.  He doesn’t want us trying to find what we need in things that will never satisfy.

Isaiah 55 2 “Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me and eat what is good and you will delight in the richest of fare.

He knows our hearts yearn for deep communion with Him. He has what is good. He knows what satisfies. He can delight us with “the richest of fare.” The road to communion, truly as Ann says, is the broken way.

As we come into the presence of His holiness we weep in knowing more of our brokenness, but then, as we are led into communion with Him, we find the abundance that satisfies the desires of our hearts.

Our brokenness can lead us on many rabbit trails, but only in the Lord will we find our hearts healed, our needs met, our desires satisfied, all according to His perfect wisdom and will. Life is not perfect, but the Lord and His will are, and that makes life here on this earth worth it all.

I came away from my time with the Lord feeling a deeper yearning for more, for more of Him, for greater intimacy with Him, for Him to lead me deeper and deeper in understanding of His Word and in knowing Him.

He wants us to commune with Him, to be in union, and yield to, and find delight in Him. He longs for and waits for us to bring our brokenness to Him everyday, moment-by-moment. He wants to meet with us and intimately hold our broken pieces as we share them with Him.

I came away wondering why do I so often resist Him and end up choosing something less satisfying?

What is He calling you to?

Will you go and commune with Him?

Will you bring your brokenness and look at it with Him?

You will find abundance in Him as you walk the path of the broken way to communion with Him.

Oh Gracious Father, make my heart pliable and soft, meet me in my brokenness. Lord, I long to know more of You in communion with You. Lead my heart to say with the Psalmist, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”(Psalm 73:25-26) Let it be so, Amen.