Starting Small: Every Victory Counts

Everything has changed.  My company’s merger has come and gone, leaving behind altered team structures, roles, and job responsibilities.  So why have I been holding onto the past?  I too must change.

Today, I discarded contents of files I’d had from 2 managers ago – now neither of them is with the company.  I seriously doubt that they reminisce about our extended series of meetings to map out the departmental communication strategy, nor do I think they’d be saddened to know that I tossed out memorabilia to commemorate said gathering.  Because they’ve moved on.  And so must I.

If my desk clutter was any indication of what I’ve been retaining and storing in the cavities and recesses of my brain, draining energy and life from my own present, then I’ve got a lot more mental purging to do!  Glad I don’t have to tackle this alone…

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

(Philippians 1:6)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

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My Clean Start: Seizing the Moment of Inspiration

Today, I started the great purge.  No, not the purge of paper clutter in my home – that will come later this week.  (No, really – I’m serious.  It has to…my hubby said so!).  I had to build up my endurance.  So I hit the web and found some good resources from a “paper organization” search and used that to motivation to propel me to start from where I was – at my desk at work.

Yes, sad to admit, I have retained files from my previous position (completely and utterly unrelated to what I do now) that are over three years old and were untouched since I moved into this cube.  Out they went as I felt the wind of exhilaration rush through my hair.  Or not.  I didn’t think I’d have the courage to slip them through the slit of the locked recycling bin, into the one-way slot abyss, never to return to my fingertips…but away they went.  I was surprised that it got easier as I went along, guided by the question grounded in reality, “What’s the worst possible thing that could happen if I threw this away?”  Since I couldn’t manufacture a reasonable-sounding cataclysmic or apocalyptic consequence, I parted with much of my desk paper today.  That was a baby step in the big scheme of my paper cosmos – yet, a significant step in the right direction.

Now to overcome my anxiety and attack one room at home – the office – this weekend.  God even sent a co-worker to encourage me to dig and discover the root of why I’m apprehensive to get rid of stuff I don’t need or that’s not adding joy to my life. (Duh – it’s because I figure I just might need it!  But I’ve gotta let go of that ridiculous thinking).  Halfway joking, she said, “I might have to pop in over at your house to help you keep the momentum!”  You know, I believe she just might do it.  Preparation is priceless…

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”

(Matthew 24:44)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

The Bill of Lading: Putting Down Burdens That Weren’t Mine to Begin With

So I called the “Calgon – take me away!” hotline today, slightly dismayed to find out the line was busy…imagine that!  Here I am clamoring and clawing in desperation for someone to stop the dizzying, frenetic pace of the merry-go-round of a schedule I feel stuck on, only to realize in a flash of clarity that I am the person who can make it stop.  That’s a rather empowering realization.

Once again, I got caught up in a cycle of madness, only to return to the footstool of Jesus – bedraggled, worn, and spent – asking Him to restore me.  I could just imagine His eyes twinkling as He gently admonished, “Since you’ve finished trying to do My job, are you ready to try it My way now?”

Maturity has taught me that I don’t have to be near a breakdown to have these creatively inspired, introspective, pensively poetic moments…but you’ve gotta admit, it makes for good reading!  🙂

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

(Matthew 11:28)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Humbly Clothed in Strength and Honor

In spite of all my incessant ranting, raving, cajoling, and coaxing, “Take your baths…put your laundry in the hamper…brush your teeth…put Vaseline on your lips…turn the light out!” my children opened their precious hearts to unexpectedly bless me this evening.

As my daughter oohed and aahed over the results of yesterday’s $15 mani/pedi from the local beauty school, she summoned her brother to look at the fancy little design adorning my usually plain nails.  He liked them, too.  I felt special to be the center of their attention at the same time!  Then I glanced down at my legs and realized how ashy they were.  Like a broken record, I’m always reminding the children to put lotion on their legs and arms, and here I was able to scratch my name into my skin with a fingernail.  I sheepishly acknowledged that Mommy needed some lotion.

My son chirped, “I’ll put some on you, Mommy!”  Not to be outdone, my daughter ran to get the lotion bottle first and she started working on one leg.  I melted, reminiscing on the times I’d put lotion on their legs, too numerous to count.  My son went to get another bottle of lotion and started applying it to my feet.  If that wasn’t a modern day foot-washing or Alabaster Box moment, I don’t know what is!  It made the energy and effort put into serving God’s smallest people all the more worth it.  They beamed as they saw the smile spread across my face while they served with gladness.  Overwhelmed, I could see that they were following my example.  And their little warm hands were every bit as nice as the nail tech’s – with an extra dollop of love and a splash of affection added.  🙂

Even in light of my “fancy nails,” (which I’m enjoying as a fabulous departure from the ordinary), I believe that strength and honor are the most important things I can wear in the presence of my children.  By their actions, they rose up and called me blessed.  This moment combined with the faint trace of a rainbow I glimpsed this afternoon to create the closing of an utterly beautiful day.  I received it as a miracle.

“Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.  She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.  She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.  Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”

(Proverbs 31:25-28)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

The Rubber Meets the Road: Committing To Walk the Talk

Have you ever noticed that when you make a decision to change, you get tested on it pretty much immediately – to see if you’re really committed to changing?

One recent morning during my commute, I purposed in my heart to have a day of consecration for the purpose of clarity and cleansing.  I decided to drink only water – I wanted nothing to distract me from hearing God’s voice regarding the specific requests I had placed on the altar.  Now before you go thinking, “Oh, she’s so deep,” I ask you to reference numerous other posts where I detail my ongoing battles with loving food too much and acknowledging my need for more self-discipline in that area for optimal health and well being.  I’ve failed to keep a fast many times before because I hadn’t firmly made up my mind.  It’s not about deepness – it’s about obedience!  Well, lo and behold if a friend didn’t call and ask me for a “short notice lunch” that same afternoon.  Mind you, we’d been trying to schedule a get-together for months.  I sensed a test!  🙂

Since I really did want to meet with her, I asked the Lord to show me His will in this situation.  Perhaps He wanted to use me to encourage her and let my light shine as a witness of His grace.  I wanted to make myself available.  I let her know I would be glad to join her as long as she didn’t mind me having just water.  Astonished (because she knew how much I enjoyed eating as a recreational sport), she responded, “You’re fasting?  More power to you!  We won’t go to your favorite restaurant so there’s less suffering on your part.”  I laughed as I mused, “Isn’t suffering a significant part of self-denial?”  I was glad I didn’t cave in to the temptation to procrastinate and restart another day.  The flesh lost this battle – yay!  I was destined for victory, and willing to pay the price.

In the past, I’ve made a “promise” to God, then “changed my mind” when circumstances were unfavorable.  On more occasions than I care to admit, I’ve had a “conditional fast” – saying, “Well Lord, I’ll fast until I see those extra bagels left after the meeting; certainly you’ll permit me reschedule this and start over tomorrow – that sacrifice will be just as good – right?”  Maybe you can relate?  I’ve even left myself an “out” – confidently leaving my lunch bag at home, while realizing in the back of my mind that if I got the munchies, I had plenty of fruit to nibble on at my desk…after all – it’s fruit, right?  Trust me, it doesn’t pay to rationalize with God – He always wins!  All His ways are righteous and holy – and we are called to be like Him.  Do it His way to reap His results.

When you decide to agree with God’s will, He causes everything to line up.  He touched my friend’s heart to support my efforts to hear Him more clearly.  Why?  Because He wants me to be a participant in this next phase of His move – and in order to do that, I have to be able to hear Him clearly.  And that requires clearing out the junk – both spiritual and natural.  He will always make a way of escape – the question is whether or not we choose to take it!  Truly, I rely on Him moment-by-moment for my provision.  May we evermore commit to putting no confidence in the flesh, but to putting all confidence in the God of our salvation.  He desires for us to grow, mature, and develop – which requires change from our current status.  Let us go to the next level and embrace the sacrifices required to walk into a new season.  It will be worth it.

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

(Isaiah 43:19)

 © Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

In Awe of Simple Beauty: Rainbows and Snow Shows

I saw a rainbow this week (twice!!!) and I squealed with childlike delight and glee as I remembered how much God loves me.  In the seemingly mundane moment of walking from the commuter train to my car, I caught a glimpse of glory.  Time stood still, and I stood in awe of God’s greatness.  He pulled back heaven’s curtain long enough for me to be tickled pink in the midst of my daily routine.  Trust me – I appreciated the departure from the ordinary.  🙂

As if that weren’t enough, the rainbow was a precursor to some (more) unexpected snow…as my son called it, “the snow show.”  I thought that was a fitting description of the ensuing weather production, because God truly displayed His power through the tiny flakes.  How cleansing it was to stand in the midst of what started as tiny flurries grazing my eyelashes, but rapidly turned into an all-out snowfall.  I celebrated as His presence engulfed me…then I scurried inside to watch the accumulation from the safety of the other side of the window.

What “little thing” has touched your life lately?  This week, make a point to enjoy the wonderment of youthful astonishment.  God is speaking all around…are you listening?

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

(Isaiah 55:9-11)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

The Power of A Deliberate Decision

I’m experiencing a shift and a realignment – both in the spirit and in the natural.  Today, I realized how very happy I really am.  I awoke on my Saturday at 6:00 a.m. and actually wanted to stay up!  Granted, I didn’t stay up (anyone who knows me is aware of how much I value those few-and-far-between opportunities to sleep late), but the excitement bubbling inside could’ve kept me up.  Instead of watching TV, I worked…I guess that’s what a little motivation will do for you!  I can see how much time (or productivity) unconscious, mindless TV watching has drained from me fulfilling my God-given purpose. 

And eating – that’s changed for me, too.  I used to love eating rich meals with my slim and well-proportioned husband.  While his metabolism burned off whatever touched his lips, calories and fat seemed to obstinately accumulate on my hips (and all sites north and south of that vicinity).  It was a common way I used to fellowship, but now I’ve made some deliberate decisions about where I want to be and what it will take for me (not someone else) to maintain a healthy body and a healthy lifestyle.  I passed up his special Super Bowl baked beans laden with ground beef and sausage.  Instead of feeling deprived, I knew my innards thanked me.  And now when I hear the tinkling of his spoon in the ice cream bowl, I don’t even flinch – to God be the glory!  So this is what it means to make a decision and stick with it, huh?    What a novel concept!

I’m growing in confidence that the decisions I make are good for me, not requiring (as much!) affirmation or validation from others because I’m the one who has to live with my decisions.  I’ll admit that sometimes it helps to have a nudge in the right direction from a supportive friend.  Yet, I can’t get caught up in the comfort of company or companionship.  Some paths are meant to be traveled in solitude and reflection.  Like the journey of becoming. 

After having lived to utterly please others for so long, this is indeed a new way of traveling.  I feel lighter already.  Bye-bye excess baggage…I see a place for you to be unloaded.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

(Hebrews 12:1-2)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart