Coming Clean

In this year of refocusing, the scripture that won’t leave my head begins with a request that would be impossible for anyone but God. Psalm 51:10.  “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” To be truthful, this verse rattles around in my head in a musical fashion, because it was part of the weekly liturgy in the Lutheran church of my childhood. When I sang these words, I thought they probably applied to someone else, someone with a lot of issues. With a very filthy heart.

But, if I am focusing on changes that need to be made in my life, I will first have to recognize what needs to be changed. I have never enjoyed having my failings pointed out. I am very good at rationalizing, at justifying.  You see, it isn’t my fault. I always mean well. It’s me, not someone else. I am really a good person.

From past experience, though, I know that when there is a problem in my life, coming clean hurts, but it feels so good when it is over.  The best thing is, I know that once the sin or shortcoming is recognized and confessed, my heavenly Father forgives me. There will still be earthly consequences. And God expects me to work hard at correcting the problem. His advice to the woman at the well in John 8:11? “Go and Sin no more.”

So, I am in a period of evaluation. What things need to be purged from my life so that I can make room for this new, clean heart? My list will include being more honest about my faults, my bad habits, my sins. This will allow the rest of verse 10 to happen, as he will “Renew a right spirit within me.”

What better way to refocus. With a clean heart and a right spirit. Amen, and amen.



My Word for the New Year: Refocus

As many writers do, I enjoy contemplating a single word as the year on the calendar changes. This year, my mantra has been obvious since our fall writing retreat. Refocus.

I have been writing stories since I could hold a pencil, and as you can tell from my bio pictures, that is now a very long time. I am known for being able to phrase things well in business letters at work. When it comes time to explain a difficult topic in laymen’s terms, I’m your girl. Of course, with the ability to write comes the desire for others to appreciate that work. So, I have been seeking publication, which has resulted in writing monthly columns in a local general interest magazine. With the advent of social media, I have actually developed a following of sorts, with folks looking forward to my comments, and participating when a song breaks out that they know well enough to sing along. But, have I strayed from that path of storytelling? Refocus.

At this stage in my life, my health can easily get out of control. There is a fine balance of the type and amount of food I eat, the time spent exercising, and the amount of water I drink. When I let any of these components go un-noticed, extra pounds pile on. With more weight, it becomes harder to move, harder to exercise. With no reduction in food, or increase in water, more pounds. The pattern is obvious. Refocus.

Every winter, when plunging temperatures cause our joints to ache, my husband and I talk of moving further south. Since our middle son moved to Florida, got married and brought us our fifth grand-child, the discussions have gotten more serious. Now, grand number six is on the way, and we have learned our way around Central Florida quite well thank you. But, do we really want to move permanently, or just arrange for a vacation home there?  So much to consider. Refocus.

Along with a highlighted word, I like to have a scripture in mind for the new year. This year, I keep hearing Psalm 51 – verses 10-12. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Refocus.

This year, I plan to explore a new path for my fiction writing. I plan to focus on my audience, and then find an agent who shares my vision. Health-wise, I know what to do. It’s just a matter of concentrating on doing what works, and feeling better in the process. Financially, we will dedicate ourselves to paying off as many bills as possible to make the dream of living in a warmer climate a much clearer vision. Renew, Restore, Refocus.