Cutting the Crap

cut_the_crap

I’m about to launch into a season of some major trimming, cutting out a lot of the extraneous in order to more clearly see and be aligned with the essential. And I’m really looking forward to it. But more on that process–and what my faithful readers are going to get–later.

For now, I’m interested to know if there have been seasons in your life where you cut things out. Was it temporary, or permanent? What was the net result in your personal, social, and spiritual life?

Ready, set, go! ch:

  • Tom

    Shortly after the wife and I got married, I got serious about running. It came about kind of accidentally, but I’m pretty hardcore about it now.

    Running got my more interested in fitness and I don’t allow myself any fast food or coke during the week. Recently, I came off a couple of weeks of not allowing myself any sugar or any beverages other than water.

    The no-coke-no-fast-food is permanent. I feel better, I perform better (in terms of working out and in terms of just feeling healthy), and I’m not taking in crap (hence why I cut it ;).

    The other stuff, like sugar, I periodically do just to kick myself a little bit harder than usual.

    And finally, with respect to the spiritual side of things, I feel that I’m doing a lot less polluting of myself. Of course, this is just me. I’m not knocking anyone else.

    • Tom: Man, I hear that on the soda thing. I used to drink it like any other good-ole-American-boy. Until I got married and my wife was like, “Babe, maybe the reason you get sick three times a year is because of the pop, the sugar, the red meat, and the complete lack of fresh fruits and veggies.” Needless to say, my health improved immensely. And now I take one sip of a coke and I’m like, “WOAH! What do they put in there?”

      Thanks for sharing! ch:

  • Rachel H.

    I have been feeling lately that God wants me to do the same in my life- eliminating the excess and focusing on what is really important. Priorities are sometimes misaligned and I am looking forward to having all aspects of my life centered again!

    • Doesn’t it feel great? I think that’s why I’m so looking forward to what’s coming up for me…the anticipation of getting centered on Jesus. So freeing! ch:

  • Jason Clement

    Looking forward to hearing about your process… why is it the “extraneous stuff” always seems to the “me stuff”!?

    • The “me stuff.” I like that. Yeah. What does it?

      I think me new hope is that the “Him stuff” becomes the “me stuff” over the process. ch:

  • In high school once I gave up writing for Lent. It cost me a story, but in the end it was a good reminder not to be ruled by my own pleasures.

    In college I all but gave up TV – for no other reason than I decided I just didn’t have the time and energy to put into my favorite shows (the ones I like, you usually have to watch every week). Plus, I’ve sworn off sitcoms on principle, but that’s another rant. It was freeing to not feel ‘bound’ to a screen. Six years later, I really can’t watch much TV. Movies, or a show on DVD, I can watch. But that’s kinda it.

    Periodically I shut off the social media, just to keep it from dominating me. The ‘be bound by nothing’ principle has been strong in my life.

    Socially, I’ve found I can communicate with people better, and am less likely to turn inward on myself.

    Personally, it’s simply not healthy for me to spend too much time online (and it’s distracting anyway, as I can’t do anything halfway).

    Spiritually, well, I guess to me that’s all kinda part of the same thing. Again, I find too much attention to one thing robs me of other things. And too much attention to any form of media simply robs me of time better spent, especially when it comes to my spiritual life.

    Hope that’s what you were going for. Enjoy the day.

    • Kaci: Awesome stuff! Thank you! Love it.

      When Jenny and I got married, we decided we didn’t want to have TV. Granted, we have a physical TV to watch DVDs on. But that’s it. No cable. Simply because “I don’t do moderately well” when it comes to TV. People often ask me, “How do you get so much done?” Easy. I don’t have TV.

      I like ow you said the โ€˜be bound by nothingโ€™ principle has been strong in your life. I feel that, too. It’s essential to living free, I believe. ch:

      • CH: Yeah, we didn’t have anything but regular TV growing up – and likely for the best.

  • Hmmm… Along the journey we can amass quite a collection of stuff; experiences, souvenirs, memories, acquaintances, friends, ministries, hobbies, etc.. Every once in a while we are forced to take an inventory, usually because we have become overwhelmed or overburdened. It is essential to approach such times through prayer. Prayer helps eliminate the emotion that attaches itself to these things. When all is said and done, pray and act! In this regard God is like a computer, you may delete something from your desk top but it’s still there on the hard drive. I hope this is what you were asking for.

    • Doug: Thanks for the thought provoking comment. So often I think we view habits or priorities as things to be cut or amended; but I love that you brought up the notion of memories and souvenirs of the mind. They can be very destructive in a subconscious way, and need filtering, and even purging. Awesome stuff, Doug! ch:

  • Kim Ingerson

    For this season of my life, my main focus is my relationship with God, my family and my place in the Body of Christ. I’ve had to trim those extra duties that I am able to do but not necessarily what I’ve been called to do. There isn’t much room after being a daughter of the King, a wife and mother of 4 growing warriors and worship leader in the local church! Can’t wait to hear more about your process CH!

    • Thanks Kim! And you are all those things and more! I like how you said trimming the extra duties that you am able to do but not necessarily what you’ve been called to do. HUGE! Wow. I need that, too. ch:

  • Leah Stockholm

    Honestly in this new season I am really trying to focus on less of me and more on the kingdom and my relationship with God. I’ve just really started to notice that I over the past few years have focused more on what people will think of what I’m “doing” for the kingdom, and always looking for praise, but I just recently came to the realization, that no matter what “I” do for the kingdom the praise is still to the creator and that’s all that matters, I’m tired of the me, now all i’m craving is more of him ๐Ÿ™‚ God is so Good!

    • Really proud of you and all you’re doing (and just BEING) for Jesus. You rock! ch:

      • Leah Stockholm

        Thank you for the encouragement Ch!

  • I’ve been thinking about that lately too. I spend so much time working and trying to find time for myself. I realized if I find more time for Him, that is more important than me time. I realize how much time I waste when i could be growing more. So tonight as I work overnight, I am gonna be listening to Sermons, reading my bible and spending more time with Him. Since He is really the only one up all night with me. It will be much more effective than watching movies or finding a computer game to play. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Coming to grips with how much time I spend on frivolous activities that merit little is one of the things I need to address. What truly is the BEST use of my time? ch:

  • There’s been a lot of trimming going on lately, some by conscious choice, some by answers to prayer (not necessarily how I’d expected), some by other means.

    It’s easy now to look back and see what started the process of leaving Australia to move to Northern Ireland, but from those events looking forward to now I didn’t see it coming. God’s fun like that ๐Ÿ™‚

    Fasting – from food, from distraction – has been an important part of my life with Him for over 10 years. So the process of seasons of cutting things out has become permanent, and a lot of the changes borne from those seasons have too. Not all, but many.

    Weird how it never feels enough though, but I think that’s just the human nature, isn’t it.

    • I love that you can comment form the other side of this, David. Being able to say that you’ve achieved a lifestyle that’s permanent. I admire that. And yet, it’s what Jesus said should be the normal Christian life, isn’t it? So I’m playing catch up. And I love it! Thanks for sharing…it’s very inspiring and gives me something to aim for. ch:

  • A few years ago, my kids and I had to cut to the chase when it came to all things material. I wish I could say it was voluntary – it wasn’t. I had mismanaged my life and we were all paying the consequence. I’m not trying to promote my blog, but I did write about it in one post at http://getaclewis.blogspot.com/2010/01/life-as-lexus.html if you want to read it. What I found, as the car was being repossessed and the hot water turned cold, was that God still had a plan for us and there was still time to step toward it. Grace is an amazing thing, isn’t it?

    • Cheryl, your blog post is VERY powerful. EVERYONE: I encourage you to go read it. Thanks for linking to it. Yes, grace is amazing, as is mercy. Not getting what we deserve heaped on top of getting what we don’t deserve is enough to make any human humble and thankful all at once. ch:

  • Billy Jepma

    Hey Christopher. Hmmm, I think I wanna ‘cut the crap’ on follwoing and taking the things others say personbally. My Mom says I’ve been blessed with a soft heartr, which is good and aLl, but it makes me susceptible to my worldy lifes lies and jokes. I always take things not even directed to me to heart and then belive. This is something I’ve been working on since I was a kid, and now, a 13 year old young man, need to stop this. Only God can help me’brush off’ the lies of the world and stand up for Him. Great posts, thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Billy.J
    P.S. Love the title/pic! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ron Porter

    Two years ago, I cut some significant crap and I quit drinking. I decided that I didn’t need alcohol to have a good time, that I could have fun without drinking, and that I would take it one day at a time. I learned a lot about the power of habits, the power of words, and the power of association in the process.

    I learned the power that my words carry through the process by saying “I quit drinking” so often to do many people offering drinks to me that I literally convinced my body that alcohol was the poison that it is. Several months after I quit drinking I accidently took a sip of the wrong drink and it felt like fire going through my veins. I realized then that I had truly quit drinking for good. (Praise Jesus!)

    The power of habits are incredible. I developed a drinking habit by stopping at a bar for “one or two” nearly every night on my way home from work. I developed the habit because of the people I associated with. I simply did not know any different. Everyone I knew stopped by the bar for one or two, or drank while golfing, or drank all weekend, or drank every night. I simply changed the people I associated with, people with self-confidence, a higher standard for their lives, and that didn’t compromise their integrity by lowering their standards. I developed those characteristics in myself and grew personally, socially, and spiritually. Personally, because I now live by my own standards instead if someone else’s. Socially, because my confidence and self-worth makes people want to be around me. Spiritually, because I realize that it’s not me who has done any if this, but Christ who has done this work in me and has made me a light in a world of darkness!! Miss you CH!! I hope to make it back up to NNY soon brother!!