Food for the Soul

“The Tickle” Challenge: The Heart of the Matter

busy

You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry. James 1:19

This past week, the final week of my “Tickle” Challenge, happened to fall on the Holy Week of the Christian calendar. It was a time of stillness, reflection, confession, and gratitude. It was a time for me to reflect on the previous three weeks of this journey and thank God for my progress, His blessings, and the challenges that made me stronger. 

After three weeks of conditioning my mind to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to get angry, I realized that for this challenge to continue beyond these 30 days, I have to get down to the heart of the matter: cut the busyness out of my life.

 

tired

I noticed that when I have an agenda or when I get overly zealous and pile a bunch of things on my plate at once (which is pretty much every day except the Sabbath), that is when I am more inclined to be quick to speak, quick to get irritable, and well, I have no time to slow down and listen. So even though I have successfully applied James 1:19 on many, many, many occasions over the last four weeks (YEAH!), God put it upon my heart to order my priorities and find ways to cut the busyness out so I can make this a permanent change. 

 

 

prayer with Bible

This past week when I knelt down before my Savior, I asked for wisdom. “Grant me wisdom Lord to handle situations in a way that would please you. Grant me wisdom to order my steps so that I won’t allow the busyness of my day to strip me of opportunities to be quick to listen. Grant me wisdom to order my priorities so that I can be slow to speak and slow to get irritable and spend more time enjoying the life You have given me.”

I asked Him to change my heart. “Change my heart, oh God, so that I may be a reflection of Your love. Change my heart, oh God, so that I may speak with love, speak life, speak peace. Change my heart, oh God, so that I may love when I have nothing left to give.” 

3 crosses

So my first “opportunity” came on Holy Saturday. We had our house turned upside down doing some spring cleaning (this is an example of me getting overly zealous and piling too much on my plate at once). We planned to watch the Passion of Christ in the evening. But as the evening came to a close, we were no where near completion. Initially, my husband and I didn’t want to loose the momentum of pressing through our projects and working on getting the house back in order for Resurrection Day. But as I reflected on my journey, I was quick to listen. I stopped. I listened to my children. I listened to that still, small voice in my heart…my Savior.

sunrise
Be still and listen.

So…we stopped! Yes, it was so hard to stop in the middle of the mess. The old me would have sent the kids to bed with a reminder that in the morning they would have a special, yummy, surprise breakfast waiting for them. Then my husband and I would have pushed through our “To Do List” until we were too tired to continue. (Then we would have woken up tired and grouchy…right? See how that would have set us up to be quick to get angry, quick to speak, and no patience to listen?) But instead, we gathered as a family to watch The Passion of Christ on the eve of Resurrection Sunday. It was a powerful time together and it opened up so many opportunities for my husband and I to talk to our children about the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, the Son of God, the sacrificial Lamb, the Savior of the World. It was an amazing experience and I am so grateful I was quick to listen. Now what if I had let the busyness of the moment stop me from spending that special time with my family? 

crown of thorns.jpg

I am not perfect, but I am a new creation through Christ Jesus. I know there will be times when the work just has to be done and there will be busy seasons, but in those times I need to be quick to listen…quick to listen to the still, small voice of my Savior. It is in that still, small voice that I find my peace. It is in that peace that I find the joy in all the chaos. It is in all the chaos that I find the opportunities to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to get angry. It is these opportunities that the Lord reveals Himself to me and blesses me with strength, perseverance, endurance, and love.

Let’s Talk

Can you think of a time you allowed the busyness of your life prevent you from enjoying a special time with friends, family, or loved ones? Do you notice that when you are “too busy” you are more inclined to be quick to get irritable, quick to speak, and have no time to listen? What changes can you make in your life that would allow you to slow down and enJOY the life God has blessed you with?

Thank You

Thank you for all your support during this challenge. It has been such a wonderful experience for me and I enJOYed sharing it with you. Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement and for sharing your experiences. I love hearing about how the Lord is working in the lives of His children.

 

 

 

7 thoughts on ““The Tickle” Challenge: The Heart of the Matter”

  1. I have been working on this as well, I feel like I am too cranky because I can’t get things done and I stopped… Then realized that my kids are so wonderful… They are patient and so helpful. What made me realize that I am too “busy” was when my big guy said to me…”I know you are too tired and that’s why you don’t have time for me, but I understand. Just let me know when you need help and I’ll help you, okay?” Broke my heart… we only live once and once a minute is gone, you can’t get it back, so why not make it count? I’ll trying to get rid of things, simplifying my life so I can teach my kids by example how to enjoy life. I love how you write and what you write, it touches my heart deeply.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. You have touched my heart with your kind words and encouragement. I understand what you are going through. I have realized how irritable I can be when I have an agenda or an unrealistic to do list that will never get done no matter how much time I put into it. You nailed it my dear! Life is too short! Let us live each day savoring the moments we have with the ones we love. If we balance our work and fun we should have our basis covered. I will pray James 1:19 over your life today. May you find His peace and the strength to surrender those hard times to Him. Thank you so much for visiting me and spending time with me. Your comment really touched my heart. You are an answer to prayer. Blessings.

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  2. Hello Joyfull Mom,
    I have thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts re this challenge. I have been absolutely inspired by not only the concept of this “Tickle Challenge” but also with your reports on how you have walked it out. Anyone who loves the Word of God, speaks the Word of God and endeavours to apply it to their life, the way you have demonstrated has my ear!
    I too have been caught up in the “busyness of life” and I have been despairing about whether I will ever find time to bring order to my life. I’ve set time aside to have a little “me” time that is relaxing and decided to give myself a blogging break. I intend to take a leaf out of your book and give myself a 30-day challenge over something the Lord has been speaking to me recently.
    Thank you for being such an inspiration.
    I love the thoughtful responses you have made to others in the comments, particularly the one to the stressed-out mom, whose husband had a brain tumour. You have a precious gift for encouraging others (whether direct or indirect).
    I love your inventive use of illustrations of your posts (e.g. the bat alongside your “strike 1… strike 2… scenarios), and I absolutely love your “Let’s Talk” conclusions.
    Yesterday, I was feeling negative and sorry for myself over certain situations in my life – today after reading your challenge posts, I feel positive and re-motivated to enJOY life and enJOY my relationship with God.
    Apologies for the epistle! (why can’t I be short and sweet?).
    BTW – you have earned yourself another follower! 🙂

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    1. Carol, wow, where do I even begin? Your kind words and encouragement are so timely. I love when God works through His children to reach out and share His love at just the right moment! Thank you for dedicating your precious time to come visit with me today. You walked through this 30-day challenge with me and shared such lovely words and details about your experience. It truly made me smile and shed tears of JOY! You touched the very depth of my heart today and for that I am truly grateful. Your words of kindness and love come from your heart and I can feel the love of Jesus shining through. You are an amazing woman, Carol. Words cannot even begin to express my appreciation for your support. God is so amazing and He just sent me a big hug when I read through your message. You are an answer to my prayer my friend. A prayer I prayed this morning. I am so grateful that you have JOY today and I pray that you will enJOY blessings and love from our Father in heaven. Keep me posted on your 30-day challenge. I believe God will do amazing things with you during that time because you are open and willing to let him do His work in you. May God grant you strength, rest, peace, and JOY through your 30-day challenge. Blessings. (And now my dissertation has come to a close 🙂 ) Tisha

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      1. Trisha, thank you so much for coming back to me and encouraging me about my rather long comment. I am so thankful to God that you found it timely. And to know God has used my words to bring a smile to your face and shed tears of joy – that is so special. Thank you for sharing that and thank you for the lovely things you have said about me. I hope I will be able to stay the course with the 30-day challenge and thank you for expressing interest in it. Blessings to you and cyber hugs from me. 😃 Carol

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