Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Small Changes for a Better Life - Elizabeth George

I used to read everything Elizabeth George put out. And, I still think she is a great and practical writer - I just think she is not "thick" enough for me. If I need a quick practical book - I pick her's up. Usually I find many things that I need to work on from reading her work. I picked this from my boss' shelf and gave it a quick read - yes, still convicting. The points (18) are her chapters, followed by some thoughts of my own.
1. Wisdom - we must ask for it. This is a book on how to live wisely in your world. Solomon, the King, had to ask for it and was granted it. We need to ask for it today.
2. Ordering Life. I have been doing a little better at this. I do so through meal planning and weekly calendaring - trying to get in relationship building, church, outside time, and me time in every week. I've learned there is much good that comes from this - more later.
3. Purpose. A friend of mine who will soon be 25 asked me if life ever slows down. I told him you just have to prioritize your life and what you do. My life isn't near as busy as I let it get when I lived in Durham - and I like that. I am more intentional about what I do - but I also know I don't have to do everything! That is SO freeing!
4. The Word - Dwell on it. She brings up the three different stages of reading the Word: "cod liver oil, shredded wheat, peaches and cream". How o Lord I want to always be in the Peaches and Cream stage. As my mentor has always said though - even when you don't feel like it, read it anyway! "You'll never hear me say I am Christlike, but you will always hear me say I desire to be Christlike." (chapter 4)
5. Prayer Life. This is one I lack mostly. My prayer life isn't a sit down and pray type thing - it is more of a throughout the day, pray without ceasing type thing. I don't know which is better? I struggle with it. But, I love being reminded of things to pray for throughout my day - and praying for people - even if not aloud - then silently under my breath - God hears either way.
6. Spiritual Growth. She says to "recognize sin and overcome spiritual laziness". I do my quiet times at night. Sometimes it is earlier than others. Then sometimes, I spend too much time watching tv or being out with friends, that I am too tired to spend time in the Word. I rationalize it and say I'll spend more time tomorrow, or God doesn't want my tired time. How foolish is that reasoning?
7. Manage Your Life. Learn to Eliminate. (see number 3). I am trying to always have Friday nights to myself. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't - but I try. That helps me usually to have a more productive weekend. I also look forward to Friday nights because of it. My brain is tired, but "being around people skills" are tired. I want to chill.
8. Live by a Schedule (see number 2). I want to do more of this if I ever have the ability to be a stay at home wife/mother. But, mostly now it is get up and go to work - then other things. I don't need to always plan my day.
9. Care for your home. I got a great compliment by my friend who stopped by the house the other day. And honestly, it wasn't even clean because I had been housesitting all week. She said "I'm glad to see you have made this into your home." And a friend of mine, Lindsay, is great at this. She loves to take care of her home. It is her place. Her husband loves her because of it (and for many other reasons of course). Everytime I go to their house, I find something new that she has done. She is a great inspiration! "Married or single, your home is an indicator of your spiritual maturity and a direct reflection of your care and character." (125) I actually agree with this statement now.
10. Invest in Your Marriage. Now, you may be thinking - how can a single woman invest in her marriage. I read books on marriage, I hang out with married people, I listen to sermons on marriage, etc. This is how I currently invest in my marriage.
11 and 12. Train and Love Your Children. I love being around families who do this well. Then when I see kids who aren't disciplined very well - I notice it. Dustin, in his sermon from Sunday, said when you see a child who isn't disciplined, you see a child usually who isn't loved.
13. Cultivate Inner Beauty. I've received two compliments that have meant a lot to me. One was back in seminary. A boss I worked for said the thing he appreciated most about me was my gentle and quiet spirit. And recently, a friend said he appreciated my joyful and gracious spirit. These two compliments make me strive more to God-please in this area! Thank you Lord for working it in me!
14. Tend to Your Appearance. I am working on this one for work every day - as I just told a friend who complimented my makeup.
15 and 16. Watch what you eat and eat just enough. This is definitely an area of growth for me - and one of constant struggle. I can eat whatever I want - but only in moderation - and sticking mostly with things that are helpful to my body - as it was given to me to be a steward over!
17. Grow in Discipline. Nuf said - from 1-16.
18. Work on Diligence. This is another one of my big struggles. God - continue to work in me in this area. I am weak in the flesh - but allow me to live by the Spirit.

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