Stop: Part 1

Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job.

1 Thessalonians 4:11

Bigger cars, bigger houses, bigger paychecks, better landscaping, better schools, better churches, more food, more activities, more tasks, longer days, busier mornings, louder social media shouting.

I’ve heard it again and again over the last few weeks:

“Stop, child. Just stop.”

Stop? Quite frankly, that’s a tall order for me, Lord. I can’t just stop. I have to meet needs and use all my gifts all at one time and water the flowers and tend the garden and do the laundry and go to the grocery store and help support our family – and I have to achieve my dreams.

“Really? How’s all that going for you?”

Blink. Blink. Blink.

“Stop trying to upgrade your life, Emily.”

And with a breath He spoke truth and conviction over my hurried, burdened, weary, blinded heart.

Why do we feel the need to do that? To upgrade our lives, I mean? To make more money, to buy better homes, to landscape perfect yards, to pay for better schools, to enroll our kids in more activities, to fit more into our days? On and on and on it goes. But why? Why is that?

It’s all relative, of course, which means we’ll never be at the top – there will always be more. When we were in Colorado, someone who had been gifted a great deal of money at an early age made a comment about our home being a “cute little starter home” when, for us, we were living in our dream home. A person who lives in a one bedroom garage apartment might think that our 4/2 home is basically a mansion. This applies across the board, and it’s got us all spinning our wheels – never quite satisfied. And it isn’t necessarily financial. Sometimes it’s task based or career based or social media follower based.

It’s a problem tied to contentment, gratitude, and the need to prove ourselves. It is for me, anyway.

Yesterday, I started going through my kitchen. I pulled out everything that I did not use on a regular basis – or, in the case of the Easter themed cookie mold pan, EVER – and do you know what I found? That my small kitchen had plenty of room, felt less crowded, and the things I do use on a regular basis were easier to locate.

I don’t know how it is for everyone else or what God may or may not be saying to you, but for the Blackwell’s He is most definitely saying, “I have given you boundaries. Stay within them.”

Whether it’s time or resources – generally speaking they are fixed. We keep trying to find ways to create more of both so that we can create more of both. This seems ludicrous to me when I really stop and think about it.

So, our crew is downsizing. Our house goes on the market tomorrow. I have no idea how quickly it will sell, but I do know that we are stepping forward in obedience – and God will not ignore that.

Do you know what I feel about it all? Relief. Peace. Excitement. Will I be sad to move yet again? I mean – sort of – but in all truth, a house is what you make it and home is wherever the Blackwell’s are having big times. Will I be sad to leave our beautiful, hard worked for garden? I mean – sort of – but in all truth, there’s dirt everywhere and God’s method for making things grow translates pretty well.

My God is the same across neighborhoods, in four bedrooms or in three, in small yards and in big, for stay-at-home mamas and working ones, for the entrepreneur and the administrative assistant. God is faithful and generous and kind – and He gives each of us a set of boundaries. Mine are not yours and yours are not mine, but we are expected to live within them.

Our job is not to scramble around like looney-tunes trying to increase our boundaries. Our job is to trim our lives to fit within God’s boundaries for us, to pray toward our God-given dreams, of course, to step forward in faith and obedience when we see an open door, but to contentedly and joyfully live with what God has given us, where He has placed us until He moves us forward.

Sometimes we run ahead of ourselves, we miscalculate our boundaries, we get too big for our britches, if you will. And when that happens, we honor God by acknowledging our mistakes and then trimming our lives back to fit within His boundaries!

In a world that says grow more, dream bigger, be better – I hear God say, “Be content and rest in me.” I’m so grateful that He never leaves me in my own toiling and striving. He swoops in and reminds me over and again that He and His plan are always right and good and enough.

There’s another area in which He’s been telling me to “Stop.” More on that later. For now, I hope this encourages you. I hope it makes you feel less alone. I hope it helps you know that God is always abundant wherever you are. Love y’all like crazy!

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    Melissa Leone

    Oh my gosh…thank you for sharing this. I have a tendency to want more time in the day, but at the same time wish time away. I shared this on fb with my son and his fiance and I pray that they read it. I have told him for years to be content. There are exceptional reasons that I have stressed it so much to him, but I really hope that they will just be content.

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