Spiritual Spring Cleaning Checklist

 

Spiritual Spring Cleaning Checklist https://beckielindsey16.com/2017/03/27/spiritual-spring-cleaning-checklist/

Spring has arrived! If you’re like me, you get the urge to start those annual spring cleaning projects around the house.

But if we’re honest, our homes aren’t the only places in need some deep cleaning. Just like our homes and cars need regular maintenance, so do our spiritual lives. And let’s face it, our spiritual lives impact all the other areas as well. Spring being the time for renewal is the perfect opportunity to do a clean sweep spiritually.Spring cleaning meme quote

Let’s roll up our sleeves and get started!

Make a List

Just like you’d make a list of projects in your house, make a list of areas in your life that may need cleaning up.

  • Relationship with Jesus
  • Marriage
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Church
  • Health
  • Work
  • Hobbies/free time

List What to Keep and What to Trash

As you look over your first list, take an inventory of activities, commitments, and relationships that are lacking, in excess, or preventing spiritual growth. Sometimes our lives get cluttered with old habits, useless activities, and sin. Like cleaning out our garage, we must get everything out in the open to determine what stays and what goes. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:19

A few things to look for:

Clean and Replenish

Once we’ve removed the clutter of sin or anything that threatens our spiritual growth, it’s time to clean and replace what will stay. This process may seem overwhelming, but God will be our guide.

  • Pray

Ask God for help and wisdom as well as the courage to let go of the clutter (James 1:5, 2 Timothy 1:10, Philippians 4:13)

  • Get in the Word

The best way to grow spiritually is to spend time listening to God through the Bible. A good way to increase your retention is to journal what you read (Psalm 119:168)

  • Join a Bible Study Group

It helps to join a group with people who have the same goals that will: provide accountability, give encouragement, and answer questions (Hebrews 10:25, Titus 2:7-8)

Our Heavenly Father longs for us to grow spiritual fruit. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2

If we stay attached to Jesus (the vine), he will help us with our spring cleaning (pruning) and guide our spiritual growth which will make future cleaning projects easier with time.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

What has God spoken to you about your own ‘spiritual spring cleaning?’ Please share below. Let’s join in prayer together as we seek to grow closer to Jesus.


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Spiritual Spring Cleaning Cleaning Checklist meme

This post is linked with #LMMLinkup http://maryanderingcreatively.com/filling-our-kids-with-truth/

The Lost Art of Listening

The Art of Listening https://beckielindsey16.com/2017/03/20/the-lost-art-of-listening/

Communication is more important than ever in our high-speed, high-tech world, and yet we seem to be devoting less and less time to really listening. Have you noticed that genuine listening is becoming obsolete?

Hearing and listening are two different animals. Hearing refers to the sound that enters your ears. Listening, however, requires more. It requires focus and concentrated effort, both mental and at times physical.

There is an art to listening well

I’ve had a few great teachers who have helped me hone my listening skills. I have a long way to go at mastering the art of listening, mind you. But because I believe listening is a critically important skill, I want to share a little about my teachers and the lessons I learned from them.

I inherited the gift of gab from my mom. She was a real sensei—with a black belt in talking to strangers as well as public speaking. Yet, she humbly admitted her gift was also a weakness because she often failed to listen when others were talking. Determined to do something about her lack of listening skills, she prayed and asked God to help. And he did. I was a witness to the progression.

Being A Good Listener is a Choice

Mom recognized she needed help and chose to do something. She asked the Lord to help bridle her tongue.

“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” James 1:26

Be Willing to Learn

Humbly seek God’s guidance and supernatural strength through His word and other godly resources.

“The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.” Proverbs 18:15

My husband, Scott, is a reserved man unless the conversation is about sports, that is. He is also a ‘thinker’. It takes him awhile to answer even simple questions, which in the beginning of our relationship drove my bananas. But I’ve learned to respect this quality. Now, when he does speak, I’m all ears because I know it is something well-thought-out and most likely important.

I come from a family of people who say what they think. I remember during an argument many years ago, Scott telling me, “You know, you don’t have to say everything you think.” What an epiphany!

Stop Talking

You cannot listen well if you’re still talking.

“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

Don’t Interrupt

Because my husband is a thinker, I have learned to wait and make sure he’s finished his thought process before I speak. I look at his face for visual cues. If I interrupt him, I may miss what he wanted to communicate.

Wait Patiently During a Lull

“Spouting off before listening to the facts  is both shameful and foolish.” Proverbs 18:13

My middle son, Chad inherited his grandma’s gift of gab. From a young age, the boy had a way with words and he wanted everyone to listen. If I was busy doing another task while listening to him, he would become frustrated. Once he even put both hands on either side of my cheeks saying, “Wook (look) at my eyes, Mommy.”

Be Attentive

Our body language speaks without words. We should make eye contact, nod, and acknowledge the person we are listening to.

“My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel.” Proverbs 5:1 (emphasis added)

When my kids grew into teenagers, communication became more of a challenge. There were more interruptions, less time to talk, and they were being exposed to new ideas. I had to learn to listen without judging or jumping to conclusions.

Keep an Open Mind

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19

When telling my young children to do a task, I often would ask them to repeat it back to me. “What did Mommy ask you to do?”

Once my daughter gave me a dose of my own medicine saying, “What did I tell you I want for dessert, Mommy?” I laughed, of course! But it helps to make sure the message was received the way we intend.

Give Feedback

Once the person is finished talking, it’s important to let them know that we heard and understood them correctly. This is also the time to ask if they want feedback on what was spoken.

“Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinion.” Proverbs 18:2

One of the most powerful ways to love and connect with another person is to listen—really listen.

 

Have you noticed that listening well is becoming a lost art? What tips work for you?


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#1 RELATIONSHIP KILLER: UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

#1 Relationship Killer: Unrealistic Expectations https://beckielindsey16.com/2017/03/14/1-relationship-killer-unrealistic-expectations/

Our first Valentine’s Day together, my husband, Scott, bought me a dozen long-stem roses. This Friday we will be celebrating twenty-seven years of marriage. Guess how many times he’s bought me a dozen long stem roses? Once.

It’s a good thing I didn’t expect roses every Valentine’s Day, right? Now, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression about Scott. After being together over thirty years (we dated for three), he’s done plenty of “unexpected” romantic things. That’s one aspect of his personality I love—spontaneity. Plus, roses on Valentine’s Day are too much money!

Where do our expectations come from?

Expectations stem from our thought process when examining evidence combined with personal experiences. They usually come from what we’re used to, our families growing up or our personalities.

We place expectations on ourselves and all our relationships—family, friends, co-workers, bosses, pastors, strangers, and even God.

Expectations can be good or bad, high or low, realistic or unrealistic. But usually, unexpressed expectations get us in trouble. And expectations based on assumptions get us in trouble too.

When Scott and I got married, we both had our expectations for each other. Many of them were not discussed until a conflict arose. What I’m going to share with you is a short outline of what we’ve learned through trial and error, but more importantly, through our relationship with Jesus Christ.

How to Form Healthy Expectations

The Bible gives us some principles to form expectations and deal wisely with the expectations of others.

Communication

I’m sure this comes as no surprise. Openness and honesty first with ourselves and then with others is a must. We need to take a good hard look at what we expect and discuss it with our loved ones.

No one but God can read your mind

When you communicate:

  • Choose an appropriate time to talk.
  • Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be gentle, be loving, and be direct. Don’t dance around the issue.
  • Ask for feedback to make sure the other person understands what you’ve communicated.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Listen and show you are listening by nodding, smiling, etc.
  • Wait for the person to complete a thought without interruption.
  • If you don’t understand something, say so.
  • Paraphrase what you heard so the other knows you understand.

We all make mistakes (Romans 3:23). We all fail ourselves and others (James 3:2), and we must be able to communicate when we are wrong.

Forgive

The Hebrews were expecting the Messiah (Luke 3:15). Yet, when Jesus the Messiah came, they had unrealistic expectations of what he would do. When He didn’t fulfill their expectations, they crucified him.

Jesus forgave those who killed him (Luke 23:34). Jesus forgives us for our many sins. And we must forgive others too. This includes our loved ones or friends who harbor anger towards us or have unrealistic expectations of us.

Unforgiveness is cancer. If allowed to remain in our hearts, like cancer, it will turn to bitterness and destroy relationships, including a healthy relationship with God.

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.” Psalm 37:8

“In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Ephesians 4:26

Love

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

To live this kind of love is impossible without the Holy Spirit. As long as we are on this planet, we will be challenged to show love and mercy the way Christ did.

We need to remember that all people are different. It pleased God to make us with differences. As Christ followers, we are obligated to grow in love and grace (2 Peter 3:18, Philippians 1:9)

If we have created expectations for others that they cannot meet, it’s not their fault. On the same token, we are not obligated to live up to others unreasonable expectations.

If we place all our expectations and hopes on anything other than God, we will always come up wanting (Daniel 5:27)

When we place our expectations on God and the truth of His word, we will always be satisfied. (Psalm 22:26: 107:9, John 6:35)


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject in the comments below.

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