Deeper Day 69: Clean Plate, Clean Slate

As I was stepping onto the track Monday morning, I heard God speak to my heart, “Clean plate, clean slate.”  Immediately, I saw how every week is an opportunity.  It’s a chance to usher in change, and it’s a chance to walk away from busyness and embrace the tempo of Holy Spirit.  The beginning of every week is an opportunity.

Then I saw a plate.  It started out empty and through the week I saw food being placed upon it, then more food and more.  What started out as an aesthetically pleasing plating, quickly became food piled upon food.  I saw that if you place more on your plate than you can “eat” at any given moment, then inevitably the plate becomes too full.  Also, the juices from each portion begin to flow together and eventually it becomes an inedible mess.  Nobody would like to eat a variety of completely different foods, all heaped and piled upon each other in what ended up looking like slop.

This is how many of us are about spending our time.  I don’t know about you, but I used to feel like I had to volunteer for everything and be a part of every group.  But what I quickly realized is, that leaves me feeling overwhelmed and even angry, wanting to skip out on things that once seemed important.

Life doesn’t have to be this way.  I’m so glad I’ve discovered the art of “the pause”.  “What’s that?” You say.  Well, when I hear people talk about this or that group, I could join, or this or that thing I could volunteer for, I pause before responding.  I feel my spirit take a step back.  Then I ask myself some questions.  Do I really want to do this, or am I feeling pressured or obligated?  What’s my true motivation for wanting to join?  Would I really contribute to this group?  Am I people pleasing?  Do I have a fear of missing out?  Do I feel guilty?

My answers to these questions help me to make a more informed decision.

This can be hard, but what I realized is, if I take every opportunity as stated above it ends up messy for me, but it also takes away from what someone else can/should contribute.  What if by being overly obligated, I’m clipping other people’s wings and preventing them from having the opportunity to grow?  In essence, what could feel like a giving attitude (being over extended) could actually be selfishness and self-centeredness.

Prayer Moment: Take some time today and really be honest with yourself.  Why do you do all that you do?  Do you feel insecure when you consider stopping some activities?  Do you feel obstinate about not doing something?  These types of feelings are strong indicators of an “off heart”.  Wouldn’t it be better to simply admit that your motivation is off and re-assess what you do or don’t get involved in?  Take these thoughts to God and be honest.  Imagine an empty plate (your life), and ask God what foods (activities and groups) are most healthy for you.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this:  He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.  Psalm 37:5-6

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.  Proverbs 19:21

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.  Proverbs 16:9

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies live at peace with him.  Proverbs 16:7