Welcome to Home Shalom!

Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Assessing Our Stuff (Spiritual Organization)

The first step of organization is assessing our stuff. If we fail to do this, than we will not get healthy and proper handle on managing it. Here are some principles that The Father has trained me in as He has honed my heart over the years to be a good steward of the things that He has given us... The things of which He has put us in charge.

1. Learning the difference between wants and needs and embracing the difference. It is really important for us to learn the difference between wants and needs, especially in our American culture of "must haves" today. Materialism can quickly become a habit that is very hard to recover from! It comes from the spirit of coveting, and The Father has taken the time to warn us against it in the Scriptures. Yeshua also thought it was important enough to reiterate when He was here! These things which we cling to can become idols in our lives. They can cloud our judgement and keep us from what The Father truly has for us - which is freedom in Him. THINGS can become our master, as we think we need to have "this or that" when honestly we don't. What we don't realize, is that we often sacrifice better things to get it and maintain the things we think we need. We accidentally trade other values like time with our family, the ability to serve others, and the freedom to make better choices in life. We can find ourselves delighting in THINGS and getting comfort from them instead of delighting in YHVH and getting comfort from HIM. It is a slippery slope! "Tis a gift to be simple"! We have a saying in our house, "People are more important than things." This is a value that helps us guide our money choices. Which leads me to the next thing to consider along this vein of thought.

2. Ask ourselves, "Do our possessions reflect of our values?" and "Do the ways we spend our time reflect the call that The Father has given us?" This is a worthy and eye-opening exercise. Write down your top 10 values. Where is your family "going"? What is your purpose in the kingdom of Yah? Do the things that surround you testify to that? Do those things help you operate in that call or do they distract you from it? If you don't know what your call is - than that is a greater issue! You can not hit a target you can not see! Be still before YHVH, sharpen your ears and dig into His Word, Worship him and make Him your primary focus, listen for Him to speak to you ALL DAY LONG...then proceed. :-) You may find inspiration in James 4, I know I did. What you hear may just be a reminder of what you were once told. Or it may be an entirely new understanding. "It" may seem big, or it may seem small. Either way, trust YHVH that He is in control and knows exactly what He is doing and shape your life around it and you will be amazed at how the things that have been very "hard" to manage, aren't any more!!
One of the places YHVH has had us purge is this: (It may be different for you!)
As I started looking at our own personal possessions, in one of many phases of this refining process (which I am still in - by the way!), I couldn't help but notice that we had a WHOLE LOT of things to entertain ourselves. Things which were for the sole purpose of "tickling our fancy". Fun, fun, fun...things that we found fun. I realised how very hedonistic we were. (A hedonist is a person whose life is devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification.) I noticed that, we really made sure that we were always entertained! That was a very big value to us. Oh sure..since I had become a Christian...I altered what that looked like. We got rid of a lot of secular things that conflicted and replaced them with more "Christiany" things or "wholesome things". But I was still looking for things to entertain us! My heart was not one of service, it was one of selfish indulgence. I thought I was replacing "bad things with good things" but later he showed me...they were still THINGS in places HE wanted to be!!! He showed me that I (unknowingly) replaced worldly doctrines for religious church doctrines of "things". I replaced doing things that were "secular fun" for things that were "church fun". I replaced looking for approval in the world to looking for approval in the church. But I was still missing the mark on where He wants us to be. I was still missing what I see now as the "gospel of the Torah" in its fullness. That time in my life reminds me of what Yeshua said in Matt 12:43-45 "When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation." I am so thankful that YHVH is is faithful first, as He brings us along to learn to be faithful to Him ourselves!!

You see, the Father is instilling in us a vision for service. He is training us (and training us to train our children) in this way. I realized that our hearts were not that of servants, but that of hedonists. Pleasure seekers who want for selfish delight as a default. Yet He was showing me and that our "delight" is misplaced. That we should find our delight in HIM and that should be where our hearts are! That HIS will is what we do for fun!!! That His Word be our delight. That His assignments be our delight. That His people be our delight. That His work be our delight. That hearing His voice be our delight. That worshiping and praying be our delight. That "ministering" to Him and His people is to be our delight. That seeing His works in other people should be our delight.

It is funny, several weeks back..someone we met asked us "what do you do for fun". And Ben and I looked at each other and realized how odd our answer had become! It used to be all the worldly things...oh sure, we still play boards games and stuff and go fun places with the kids and explore museums and stuff....but it is very different now....our delight...IS in HIM and these other things are accessories to Him. We pray this also become the internal reality for our children... (and for all His "Called Out Ones"!)

We continue to learn and grow and He continues to refine us and use us. I am so thankful that he has "called us out" of ourselves and the religious system and that He is taking us to another level. I am thankful that He continues to teach us to replace all that "stuff" with HIM and His Word in ways we never knew were possible. That is exactly what He has done and continues to do! (May it never end!)

3. Its not mine, its YHVH's. The Father showed me a long time ago, how to put "my stuff" into HIS perspective. First of all, he dealt with me (and continues to!) in the area of submission (Why does it always come back to that???). He helped me see that if I serve Him and if everything I am and everything I do is for Him, if I am truly a bond servant to the Most High (not just throwing Christian language around to make people think I am spiritual) then I needed to recognize that all I have and that I ever will have is HIS - not mine. I am simply appointed a steward of these things that He has given me while I am on this earth. He has given me charge over them to glorify Him and serve Him with. To protect and care for it; To serve and share and manage it all; To be a blessing to and with it. To testify to His Name (which means His reputation and His character) all the while! This includes my family, my home, my vehicle, my tools, my food, our health, absolutely everything that I might call my own. Everything that I value. Everything that I involve myself in. Everything I spend my time doing or put my hand to! This puts things into proper perspective VERY QUICKLY. My life is not my own, neither is my stuff. My life and everything in it is His. It is my job to manage (steward) theses things, as He leads me to, in a way that HE will be properly represented and glorified. No small charge...I KNOW! But if we can all get a grip on this...it would help us purge so much junk so fast in our lives, and get our mind on Kingdom living in a full and mighty way! All through Scripture we see YHVH use "stuff" to teach us higher principles. He uses practical "things" in our daily lives to teach us eternal principles. He takes these tangible things that are so very insignificant to reach us at our level and minister these beautiful eternal truths to us and in us. What we do with our "stuff" is an accurate reflection of our walk with YHVH and our level of commitment to Him and our willingness to surrender our lives in service to Him. It is a continual process, and is often a painful one...but it is OH so worth it - as He prepares our hearts to receive Him more fully! I pray this same revelation also be given to those whom he has led to read this testimony.

4. Purge the things which are not in line with the vision that the Father has put in you - If you find yourself hoarding or unwilling to get rid of things which are not in harmony with the place that the Father has put you and the call He has for you - there is but one thing to do, to "pluck it out". How do we do that reasonably?

I have a rule with most things, if haven't or won't use it in a year, I get rid of it. (The exception to this is children's hand-me downs that I store in Rubbermade tubs in the barn.) You can make some exceptions to this rule for things that apply, just be reasonable and honest so that the exception doesn't become the rule or you will be right back where you started. If you have had a special circumstance (like family crisis or major life changes or something) you might want to use a longer stretch of time to mark your "cut off".

Limit "keepsakes" to one family trunk or a box for each child. Some folks attach sentimental things to EVERYTHING. Take pictures instead! Chances are that that toy or (insert item here) will be moldy, moth bitten, rusted, broken or possibly outdated by the time you child is 30 and able to hand-it-down to their kids. Especially if it is crammed in the attic or basement with EVERYTHING ELSE. :-) I am not saying we can't save anything, just keep it really limited and special, and make sure it is well packaged and protected from the elements so that it will be nice when that time comes to give it back to your child.
If it is not useful, don't keep it. If an item is broken and needs to be fixed or mended, don't stick it away, saying "someday I will fix that" or that is perfectly fine except for _____ (yet it can't be used.) Either fix it right away or let it go. If it is potentially useful, but not useful right away (maybe it is a seasonal item or not practical with the current demands of life) designate a time frame by which you will utilize it. If that doesn't come to pass...maybe you should take another look at how realistic it is for you. I get all kinds of "great ideas" but not all of them are practical for my season of life and I have to just "let it go" if they are not consistent with where the Father has me in this season.

It is funny, spiritually speaking, YHVH calls us to "purge" constantly! It is part of our purifying/refining process. If we fight it, we fight Him. I used to have such a rebellious heart, but now I am eager to purge! I love to purge stuff that weighs me down, clutters my thoughts, or gets in my way of functioning effectively IN HIM. What used to be a real painful process that I avoided and fought, is now something I dive head first into now with great expectations and full submission! Why? Because I know that the Father is going to bring me out on the other side of it, stronger and better than when it started! I know it will make me a better, wife, a better mother, a better friend, a better daughter, a better neighbor, and a better woman. My step-father, is real "man's man" and has a strong tendency for discipline--he volunteered for Vietnam after he got out of college.... he is that kind of guy. He used to say, " No Pain, No Gain" whenever things where hard. Then He would bravely press through whatever the thing was, like a ox whose job it is to plow rocky hard soil! This is a trait which I have always respected and appreciated in my step-father. I hope it is a trait that I also possess and pass on to my children. When it is applied spiritually, it IS faithfullness in action!

Much Love,

Otherwise known as


Andi said...

Pamela - we strive to walk in many of these things you have shared with us, but so often I fall in a ditch....thank you for the reminder and giving 'what I needed' to hear today...."Thank you YAH".....Shabbat Shalom!

*Pamela could you email privately...I have a question for you.... thanks!

Heidi said...

This is very much where I am right now, striving to make my our walls as useful to YHVH as possible. Wow, there's alot of work left to be done. I also find myself evaluating my time, too. Is this project, etc., worth it in the long run? Thanks for sharing!

Michelle said...

Good stuff, Pamela! Thanks for the inspiration and exhortation!

Mommy Set Free said...

I agree 100%! Our TIME is one of those "things" that is most valueable and needs to always be assessed and kept in line with our values! It may be one of the most precious "things" the Father has given us to steward (next to our marriage and our children) because it is interwoven into it all! The same principals apply to it for sure!! :-)