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A Clean Slate

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A little over a year ago, we met a couple, Matt and Demetria, who had just picked up their family of five and moved across the country, away from their family and to a place where they knew nobody, with an 8 day old baby and heaps of faith. They walked into our small group at church and quite honestly we sort of latched on to them and now they've been forced into being our friends.

One night, we were going through our study, and Demetria talked about how when they moved to Texas, she had decided not to go back to work as a Physicians Assistant and to take the time to spend it at home with her three (adorable) kids. She said she felt like God had given her a clean slate, and she felt the responsibility of making sure she was very choosy in what she started adding back into their lives.

This is another friend from our small group, Marion, and then me, and Demetria on the right

I don't know all the details of their previous life, but I imagine that with both parents working full time in the medical field (Matt is also a PA), having three kids, and managing all of those schedules couldn't have been anything less than hectic. I got more than a little jealous of her clean slate, and how intentional she had been. What must it be like to get to have a completely fresh start, where nobody knows you, there are no preconceived notions or requirements, or expectations to do this or be that? Nice, that's what.

I mulled over this for several weeks, letting a little bit of jealousy guide my thoughts, wishing I could have a clean slate too. Just a little over a year before that (so in September of 2015), Chris and I moved to The Woodlands and we were given that fresh start ourselves but I definitely did not make intentional decisions about who and what would be picked and placed back into our lives.

I tend to be an all or nothing type person, and prefer to jump right into all the social scenes, under the guise that I'll try on everything, see what I like and what fits right, and then put back what doesn't. Only, I never actually put anything back on the shelf. I'm really bad about this.

So within about 6 months of living here, I had:

1. Started ushering at the church.
2. Started teaching Jett's Sunday School class
3. Become a part of a local blogging group
4. Attended a blogging conference to meet new people
5. Attended FPU and decide that I was really passionate about that
6. Joined a small group on Thursday nights
7. Joined a mid-week daytime bible study
8. Volunteered with the blogging conference to help put on events

I know there are more but it pains me to add to the list, because I already feel like this is too much. I've been feeling like this for a while, but I have a really hard time turning away from something I have committed to, especially when I feel like I have made friends because of it.

This weekend though, God finally banged hard enough on my head to get through to me and make me realize that something is going to HAVE to give if I plan to survive the next few years. Between teaching Sunday School and ushering at church, and running back and forth to get Jett to and from the Sunday School class, and trying to eat something in between all this, I was a little out of breath when it came time to pass the basket in the Sanctuary. One of the gentlemen who also teaches Sunday School was in the next row, and as he handed the basket to me, he simply said "You work too hard.". That just sort of stopped me in my tracks.

For someone else, who does not even know me, or have an inkling of all the other things I do, who only sees me every other Sunday for an hour, to look at me, and immediately recognize that I'm doing too much, is sobering.

That night I finished reading The Simplified Life, by Emily Ley (amazing, must read), and the last chapters are all about simplified self, faith, and motherhood, and over and over again she expands upon how she had to give up something, something huge!, in order to make the more important parts of her life better.

Then I read January 27 and January 28 in Savor, by Shauna Nequist, and the theme for both of those days was more love, less hustle.

Okay God - I'm listening now.

So here I am now, rambling on to who knows, about this concept of giving up something (in my case, it will be somethings) in order to really focus on what is important to me. I have a really hard time with this, because I am a people pleaser by nature and cannot stand to disappoint anyone, ever. So maybe it is for accountability, maybe just to get all this out of my head and into some kind of organized thought process.

Here is the thing: I do not have to move across the country to get a clean slate. I do not have to start a new job or recreate my identity. I can just simply stop and listen to God when he is screaming at me through a megaphone but I'm just too busy to hear it.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!" Ding ding ding! I can be made a new creation every day - in fact I already am, but I just have to be ready to see it. I get a clean slate today, tomorrow, for eternity, and today I need to start being intentional about what I fill it with.

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