Making Room for the New Stuff God Has in Store

Do you feel as if you’re continually fighting against negative behavior patterns and attitudes? As we approach a new year, and thus a chance for each of us to begin afresh, my guest today, author and speaker Donna Jones, suggests some ways we can make room for the good God desires to display in our lives.

How to Make Room for the New Stuff God Has in Store for You

By Donna Jones

I tried to look like I wasn’t listening, but truthfully I wanted to hear their conversation.

“I don’t get it. How do you always look so good? What do you do that I don’t?”

Image of a well-dressed woman sitting in a restaurantI stole an inconspicuous peek at the woman who was about to reveal her secret. Yep. She looked good, even in jeans and a t-shirt. It wasn’t that she was stunningly beautiful, so what was it? I strained to hear what she’d say next.

“I live by two simple rules: First, when I want something new, I get rid of something old. Second, when something gets damaged I immediately fix it, or toss it. I never have anything in my closet that’s dated, damaged, or doesn’t flatter me.”

She sounded so wise. So organized. I made a mental note to be more like her.

Two days later I opened our guest room closet–the one where we keep things we don’t use, but aren’t sure we want to get rid of. Suddenly, the well-dressed stranger’s words replayed in my head. I couldn’t deny it; instead of getting rid of my dated and damaged stuff, I simply rearranged them.Image of a cluttered closet

And then it hit me. My closet was a picture of my soul.

I’d try to add kindness, but forget to toss impatience.

I’d try to add love, but neglect to toss pride.

I’d try to add persistence, but refuse to remove distractions.

Even worse, I’d become blind to all the damaged pieces I stuffed tightly into the back corners of my life, much like I stuffed old clothing into my spare closet. Did I immediately fix the causes of my impatience, or address the reasons for my pride? I had to admit I didn’t. No wonder I felt like I could never quite get it together.

Tossing the old before acquiring the new is a habit God’s people practiced long before the well-dressed gal in Starbuck’s did.

Before God brought the Israelites into the land He’d long promised them.

“Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you’” (Joshua 3:5, NIV).*

Before Jacob, an ancient Hebrew who fled his homeland after deceiving his brother, returned home to be reconciled with his family.

“Jacob told everyone in his household, ‘Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing. We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.’” (Genesis 35:2-3 NLT)

Before God’s people could be victorious.

“Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the Lord. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you. (Joshua 7:13, NLT)

Before first century believers became spiritually mature.

“But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him (Colossians 3:8-10, NLT).*

We’re no different from God’s people in the past. Who among us doesn’t want to claim God’s blessings? Or be reconciled with family? Or overcome defeat? Or grow in spiritual maturity?

God’s pattern is abundantly clear: To grab the new thing God has in store, we must make room for it. We can’t embrace new things if we hoard old things.

Not even in secret.

Is there anything in your life that is dated? Damaged? Doesn’t flatter? If so, it’s time to toss it or fix it, rather than stuff it or mix it.

It’s time to make space for new things to come.

Let’s talk about this! What resonated most with you in Donna’s post? Can you relate to her “closet inventory”? What are some ways you intentionally clean out old, sinful behavior patterns to make room for God’s good to flow in and through you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another.

Get to Know Donna!

speaker image of Donna JonesDonna Jones is a national speaker and pastor’s wife who travels from coast to coast helping people find the biblical wisdom they need, for the life they want. A self-described Bible explainer, she’s the author of three books, including, Seek: A Woman’s Guide to Meeting God and Taming Your Family Zoo, and is a frequent guest on radio shows, including Focus on the Family and HomeWord. Donna finds her greatest joy being mom to her three young adult kids, who frequently sit on her kitchen counter, just to chat. Donna would love to connect with you at www.donnajones.org or on Instagram @donnaajones.

*Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Your Top 3 Blog Posts For 2011

It’s almost a new year, and I hope you are one step closer to Christ, one suitcase lighter, with one less wound and one more giggle. Ultimately, I hope after reading my favorite blog posts for 2011, you walked away not merely entertained, but changed. Because honestly, if these posts only “tickle your ears” I’m wasting my time. For myself, I pray each time I write, I write first and foremost to myself, impressing the lessons God is showing me deep into my heart. Because if I am not growing, I am dying.

This has been a year of contrasts for me. I have seen some radical transformation in lives following whole-heartedly after Christ. I have seen extreme comfort brought to those in sorrow. But I have also seen hearts harden, relationships crumble, and darkness enshroud those who have wandered from Christ one slow step at a time. As I close out 2011, I am reminded of Casting Crowns’ song, “It’s a Slow Fade.” How we forget that! In 2012, may we all boast the opposite–not a slow fade into marital or family destruction, sin, or selfishness, but instead, a steady transformation to marital and spiritual intimacy and growth. Each day we have a choice, to draw near to God or drift from Him. There is no middle ground.

I want to thank all the authors who allowed me to repost their grace-filled words. Each one impacted me on a heart and spiritual level. I enjoyed seeing your favorites. (Please note, I did not count comments made by myself or the post’s author.)

And your favorites were:

#3, with 3 tweets, 5 FB shares, and 2 “likes”…. Julie Arduini with How Would You Handle it?

Here’s a snippet of her post: Our daughter is in general good health now but as a baby had chronic multiple issues. Since she’s been 3 months old, weight is one of them. We’ve been to a dietician and work with an endocronologist. We have seven plus years of files, appointments, therapies and oh yes…the comments. (Read the rest here.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2, with 1 tweet, 14 FB shares, and 1 “like”Eileen Rife with Heart Murmurs.

I remember hearing the words, “heart murmur,” from our daughter’s pediatrician when she was a young child. An immediate alarm sounded in my head, quickly followed by the doctor’s reassurance. “These types of murmurs are typically benign and something the child grows out of. We’ll keep a watch on it.”

True to his words, my daughter did grow out of it. The physical heart murmur, that is. But there was another type of heart murmur birthed in her by God that continues to grow to this day. (Read more here.)

 

 

And your FAVORITE post for 2011…

 

 

 

#1, with 8 tweets, 15 FB shares, and 2 “likes”Jimmy Davis with Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Yep, here I am again. In one of those “rock and hard place” seasons, wondering how to be refreshed in the desert. And then I was reminded today that God and I have had this discussion before. So here it is, from my old blog over three years ago. Reading this encouraged me to keep my eyes on Jesus, even and especially when I’m feeling “stuck.” A good reminder during Holy Week. (Read the rest here.)

Congrats to all of our top three bloggers! And to my readers, thank you so much for your participation. I know all participating bloggers were encouraged.

Starting in January, I’m going to look at intentional living—in our homes, our marriages, at our work place, in our walk with Christ. Although I’m not really one to make New Years’ Resolutions, I do like the reminder to start again. As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve come to realize whenever I quit growing, I start dying. But to grow, I need to live intentionally. With determined focus, forgetting what is behind—my failings and shortcomings, goals I set but never reached—pressing toward what lies ahead. I hope you’ll join me!

And to all my blogging friends, if you’d like to help spur us on with some insight you believe God’s given you, check out my “Join Me” page for themes and details.

And to all, as you surf the web in 2012, if you find a post you think we’d love, shoot me an email. It might end up in my top 20 of 2012. 🙂

Happy Thursday, all, and may your day be saturated by grace and spurred by love.

Top Three of 2010

Hopefully all my subscribers have enjoyed having a week of Slattery-free blog post updates. grin. I was going to wait to post the top three of 2010 until tomorrow, but I realized I need to kick off my plans for January…

So what were your favorite devos of my top twenty? In my opinion, all the devos were awesome and drew our hearts closer to God in continual surrender. However, there were three that appeared to strike a heart-chord with you all.

By far, Edie Melson’s God’s Timing is Always Perfect, was your top choice. Apparently we all struggle with patience and faith, trusting that God is still working even when things don’t go according to our plan or timetable. You might want to read her post again, then spend some time reading through Genesis 37-45. God revealed His plan to Joseph when he was seventeen, but for decades, circumstances appeared to negate the vision he had received. He was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, taken into a strange land, thrown into prison. Could all that really be part of God’s plan? Had he heard correctly? Had God changed His mind? Not at all. God was working the entire time, molding Joseph into the man He created him to be.

Your second favorite happened to be one of my favorites as well, primarily because of the little God-moment application God gave me the night before. Who would have thought God would use taxes of all things to share His love? Thanks Gail for reminding us all of our need to be magnetic. May God’s light shine so brightly within us that no matter where we go, no matter what we do, the people we come into contact with catch a hug from God. Read her post again, Oh, To Be Magnetic, and ask God to fill you so completely with His Holy Spirit, His love pours out unhindered.

Your third favorite was Sheila Holinghead’s A Glimpse of Beauty. Let each day, each moment, each moonlit stroll and early morning sunrise be an opportunity to discover afresh the beauty of our Creator.

Join me tomorrow as I prepare for the New Year and the series God’s laid on my heart.

Kicking Off the Top 20 of 2010

Today’s going to be short and sweet because:

1) I’ve slammed enough posts on my subscribers over the past few days–which should have been a holiday. (But you know, if it spins through my head, it’s gotta come out eventually. Normally, sooner than later.)

2) It’s only Monday–7:30 am central time–and I’m already behind. lol

3) I don’t really have much to say, (wow, that’s a first!) but I do want to introduce you to my upcoming blog post challenge.

I’ve been on this intentional living kick for a while now, hopefully long enough to form new habits. With the new Year approaching, a fun idea started brewing. I wanted to close the year out with a bang to get us ready for a New Year–a year of change, intentionality, and continual forward progression as we walk hand-in-hand with our Savior.

So here’s the deal. During the month of December (starting tomorrow) I’m going to repost 20 of my favorite blog/devotions from 2010. These are not posts I’ve written, although you’re welcome to peruse my archives. These are articles written by others that have impacted, encouraged or challenged me in some way. Each day I invite you to share your thoughts. The top three article or devotion with the most comments, tweet, fb shares and “likes” will be announced, in descending order, on January 31st.

See you tomorrow!