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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)

TITLE: Simplifying
By Joy Bach
07/30/08


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My husband sits beside me on the couch. Objects keep flying by his head. Finally he turns to me and asks, “What are you doing?”

My answer, “I’m simplifying”.

I have a plan. I bring a pile of papers, magazines, or other stuff. I place the pile in my lap…and then I simplify. Whatever is no longer necessary in my life, I fling toward the back door. The “keepables” are placed in proper stacks on the floor so they can be put away in their respective places.

During one of these flinging episodes, I heard a little voice quietly say, “I hope I’m still necessary in your life.”

I’ve reached that age when it is time to focus on the time I have left. All the unnecessary and peripheral things need to go.

I plan to be a “late bloomer”. Some flowers in my garden bloom in the spring, some in the summer and then some in the fall. I was robbed of my springtime by an overzealous religious church and mother. In late summer I began to sprout and grow. Now it’s time to produce those fall flowers in my life.

That takes focus.

First I have to decide just exactly where I need to expend my energies. I’ve discovered that God has given me gifts…gifts He intended me to use to help others. Who can I help? What kind of help can I give them?

Next, I need to equip me for that ministry. What do I need to learn? How do I need to change?

And then there is always the fear.

To enable me to better help others, I felt God leading me to a group called Toastmasters, an organization designed to help you learn how to do public speaking. But the fear kept me captive for six years…frozen in my ineptitude. Only God could have helped me master that fear, show up at a Toastmaster’s meeting and then join the club. That meant I had to participate by giving speeches. I no longer cry. But the fear is there, lurking just below the surface.

What about the fear of rejection? I put words on paper. What makes me think someone else wants to read them? Am I being arrogant? I push past those thoughts and submit an article to “Faithwriters”.

As I focused on my next step, I knew I needed to be organized to accomplish anything. So when my husband took an 11-day motorcycle trip, my plan kicked in. The day he left town, I moved everything that was movable out of my office. This made a big mess in the living room. It was the price I had to pay.

Once again, I began the process of simplifying. There was no flinging this time, just sorting through files, books, papers and office stuff. Slowly I am re-building my office. The re-organizing enables me to think better.

To allow me more time to focus on God’s leading, I have backed off in my hours at work. Except for emergencies, I plan to work only Monday through Wednesday.

So here I sit. Just exactly what is it I’m getting ready for? I don’t know!

I’m taking this a day at a time…a prayer at a time…a new concept at a time. I have no idea how many years I have left, but God does. He knows exactly what it is He wants me to accomplish with them.

Maybe I’ll be another “Grandma Moses” and come into my prime in my 80’s.

The process of simplifying removes the unnecessary to enable me to focus on the necessary…people. After all, people are the only thing that really matter.

When I stand before the Bema, I will not be asked what name was on the church I attended or how much money I had in the bank. The kind of clothes I wore or the house I lived in will have no importance. As my life passes in review, the focus will be on my inter-actions with people…each one as they came across my path. Will anyone be in heaven because of me?

So as I live each day, I focus on people. The simplifying process carries over into each conversation. The unnecessary must be sorted out and thrown away. To discover the real treasure in each person, I do a little mental “flinging”, discarding the peripheral words and actions and focusing on the “keepable” traits.

God is teaching me to love others. That’s the plan for now.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Joy Faire Stewart08/04/08
"Maybe I'll be another 'Grandma Moses'..." and the next to the last paragraph are a few of the thoughts I enjoyed in the piece; a lot to think about. Great job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/05/08
You have captured in your plan the most important idea of all--to be able to be used by the Lord so when we stand before Him, we will not be ashamed. I like your ideas for simplifying to "focus."