I always get introspective starting with Thanksgiving and continuing until about the middle of January.  I look at what has occurred in my life and the world in the last 12 months and also what I have accomplished or failed to accomplish.  Basically I take inventory of all the parts of myself starting with spiritual, then mental, emotional and physical.  Sometimes the order changes, but spiritual is always first.  I feel that if my spiritual self isn’t in good order, then nothing else will be either.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my spiritual self and where I am right now.  I feel like I have been in a period of listening, hearing, and then growing as a result.  I think that God has a way of getting through to us and leading us if we will just listen for His leading and pay attention.  I can’t tell you how many times I thought I knew what the right thing was to do and then God showed me how very wrong I was!  There are probably hundreds of books and thousands of words that have been written on listening for God and getting in touch with Him.  So what can I say when so much has already been written?  (I’ve bought some books and read them myself.)  What I can say is that God has a different way of speaking to our spirits as individual as each of us are. He keeps it short, sweet, and to the point most of the time too.  For people who love music, He reaches out to them through music, each time unique to the person listening to the music.  To others He reaches out through art, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, nature, or even the sound of children laughing or a smile on someone’s face.  I think the most important thing to remember is to be listening for His voice and take time to hear Him.  If we’re continuously cluttered up with busyness, stress, acquiring things, status, or the next big deal, we won’t have any space in our hearts or minds to hear God.  There is a reason we find the verse in the scriptures that says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10 

Can you be still for five minutes to listen for God?  Even better, can you be in a state of calm and receptiveness so that you can hear God even in the most unlikeliest of ways or places?  Taking time to learn to be still and calm will benefit not only your spirit, but also your health and relationships with others.  Being calm and content is possible. As Paul wrote, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”  Philippian 4:12  If we can learn to be still and to be calm within by looking at how Jesus nurtured stillness and calm, we will find contentment, peace, joy, and strength for whatever happens in our lives.

I have a lot of thoughts on how to simplify my life so I can be more still and calm.  I’ve been reading an excellent book by Jen Hatmaker called, “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” that has really inspired me to think about ways to simplify life.  I’ll share more on my ideas in upcoming posts.  I definitely want to be mindful about how I live and I want to be at peace and calm.  I feel like I have peace and calm, but I want more!  Ha!  Reminds me of the old joke about, “Well, if one aspirin helps my headache, then 5 will help it even more!”    I pray all of you will enjoy some peace and calm during this holiday season.  Remember, people love YOU, not what you give them.  It’s the spirit behind gift giving and the season that is important.   Peace and love,  Elaine