Updated: Feb 5
I wrote that blue book with the picture of my hand over my face, with some very touchy words, written on my fingers.
I have always had a hard time figuring out how to pitch my brand, or myself even, as the person behind the product is often more important than the thing itself. I once gave some advice to a person on Facebook; I ended my message with the support phrase, “…and that is how you grow into becoming a good steward of hearts.” She liked that line, and said she would reuse it in some of her poetry, so I figure it sounded good enough to use for marketing. For a short while, many of my tags included, #thestewardofhearts.
In 2017ish, I had been thinking a lot about my message, how to sum it up in quick phrase, and for a time, I settled on the title The Steward of Hearts. With the slogan, Love with Compassion, Live with Power. Study with me to be a steward of hearts too.
In much of my work, I prompt you evaluate your problems and see what you can do about them. That is the Live in Power part.
My message for you is about navigating love and life with a personal mix of compassion and power within your relationship with yourself and how your words also affect people you love.
Working the brand and writing the book entailed a lot of confession and examination. I invite you to examine the thoughts you have about yourself, whats truth, and your feelings vs. real evidence, and the power that recognizing each has over your life.
I was a messy child. You couldn’t see the floor in my room. My mother tried to contain all of my sloppiness into that one area and keep the door closed.
I have enlisted the help of routines and systems, and a lot has changed with conscious effort because of my eagerness to maintain a clean and uncluttered home. It matters to me a great deal.
I go through cycles – I approach everything with a rigor, but only one thing at a time. I’m was never disciplined enough at small bites, ticking away at a process until recently. I want it all done in one big swoop.
So that is how I want clean my house. After a day or two of military devotion to cleaning, it looks great. In about 2 hours, the fact that I have two small sons begins to show again.
I make them play outside a lot.
I keep my house as tidy as I can with a busy business start up (more intentional blog and a backyard plant nursery) and two boys, because it cuts stress from my life. My husband can rest easier when he comes home to a good smelling clean home. That’s a win in motivation, because the motivator is not pride or seeking an identity of perfection, but rather it springs from a heart of service and love.
Mother Teresa said, “Wash the plate not because it is dirty nor because you are told to wash it, but because you love the person who will use it next.”
My heart is right.
I have been teased by family who say, “Oh you can be so messy!”
A co-worker of mine used to give me a hard time about my car. She sent me this car picture on Facebook.
I could internalize these things. I could say to myself, I am such a mess. I could feel hopeless, like that is my identity and I cannot change it, so why try?
One of the practices I have recorded in my books is separating feelings from the truth.
Look at evidence.
And this doesn't mean the clique, you are perfect the way you are, give the special hand wave to folks who criticize you; I often hear that as a bandage of blindness over our faults, or empty lazy dribble. There is always a little seed of truth in every joke, poke, and criticism, I believe, and the Devil knows how to distort that truth to disease your spirit from growth. We are imperfect beings. There is power in you knowing and using that, understanding all the while, you are valuable force in the world and loved by God as you are now and forever later.
I seek to be responsible with feedback, and evaluate everything against evidence in my life.
I am I mess? If you come on Monday, no, if you come on Wednesday, maybe. If you come unannounced, don’t come unless you won’t judge! There is no telling what you may find, besides wild kids, a blessedly full fridge, and someone who will sit down with you, and love you through whatever it is you need love through, and is who hoping you can overlook her mess.
Am I mess? The real question is, am I a bad steward?
The evidence in my life smashes the lies and labels.
I look at the blessings God has entrusted me with, how I try to use them to bless others, how I try to keep my focus on what matters most.
Do I have a cleanliness problem? Or an organization problem? I keep little boxes in my drawers to separate items... I have baskets upon baskets to keep like things living together... I have a place for everything.... Is it a time management problem? A problem with expectations and limitations?
I can maturely take in all the evidence I have to deduce that I need to work on completing boring chores everyday so that I don’t get overwhelmed days after my cleaning spree. I can say that I should finally break down and ask for help sometimes too for the seasons when I just can’t keep up with the hurricanes Charley and Alan Harrison. I can use the resources I have found about systems and stick to them most days (I will list those resources at the bottom).
Internalizing the label of my childhood, and the lighthearted jokes of my friends and family leads to hopelessness.
Being honest with what I really need leads to growth and consistent improvement.
Think of yourself; the complaints you have, the critique you swallow.
Maybe you have been told you’re too boring, too big, too bashful, too bold, too broke…
1) Ask yourself is the label really true?
2) What evidence in your life do you have to prove that an identity or label is true or not?
3) If you were your own friend looking from the outside in, what grace and compassion would you speak out over your situation?
Only you know how the whole picture looks. I see my house every Monday, when things are tidy and together, when others don’t see it. God sees my striving to steward well, Satan sees my worries and weakness. The Holy Spirit helps me highlight the truth and throw out the trash in every sense.
Resources for a de-cluttered and simpler home life: