I had a conversation with a friend a couple years ago that has not quit me. Does that ever happen to you? Just a word or two linger and keep showing up and won't let you forget them. Talking about how so much in our lives is artificial, fabricated, synthetic, unreal, we agreed on this pull we were both feeling toward things that were genuine, true, less processed and filtered.
Choosing more raw ingredients, we decided, was at least one way to improve. Raw ingredients in every area.
I feel better, sleep better, let's be honest--I'm kinder--when I eat cleaner foods. The fake and the sugar and all the processed make me tired, uncomfortable, and occasionally a grump.
Too much time inside, looking too long at a screen, too much time soaking up artificial light and my energy and joy gets zapped. An hour with Jesus in some of my favorite trees can literally change everything.
I love to read and get hungry to learn, but too many books and too many opinions on what the Bible says and means can leave me feeling discouraged and beat up. Sometimes all I need are the pages alone, with no other voice but the Spirit's.
I'm in what's been--to this point in my life--the most intense season of pruning I've experienced. I started to write I've been in or I'm in the middle of, but the truth is, I'm not entirely sure when it started and I have no clue how long this will last. It's possible that this heightened alertness to what needs to be cut away is something I'm stuck with forever, and I can't say I would hate that if it's true.
I may speak to it more one day, but Jesus has been busy cultivating a deeper faithfulness in me. Digging up and refreshing roots of it that were already present, introducing new plantings, tilling the ground, weeding out what's dried up, and cutting away. He's been inviting me to be best friends with faithfulness and He's set it always before me. I'm learning that the faithfulness God asks of me is in relation only to what He requires. It has little to do with meeting expectations, fulfilling believed obligations, or pleasing people. It's never an excuse to be a flake or a slacker or undependable, but it's dictating my commitments from the onset, and I desperately needed that.
I've quit things, stepped away from things, and finally agreed to drop the things God long left in the dust. But together--me and Jesus and this pruning, crash course, bootcamp thing --we're leaning into a space where every thing is held up to the metric of the faithfulness He wants. Does it help? Does it hinder? Is a yes to this a nod toward or a neglecting of faithfulness?
He's redrawing boundary lines, and we're getting back to raw ingredients. He's cutting away and it hurts so good.
Are there any raw ingredient ways you stay refreshed and focused?