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Entries in Letitia Suk (6)

Tuesday
Jan222019

Keeping the OTHER Commandments

Life coach Letitia (Tish) Suk encourages women to live intentionally, focused on the practical truth in the Word of God. In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, she expands our thinking about God's commandments with some scriptures we perhaps never thought about as "commands."

"I find keeping the Ten Commandments not that hard," Letitia says. "Lying, stealing, adultery don’t tempt me. I would have a hard time taking the Lord’s name in vain. I can honor my mother and the memory of my father most of the time. I like keeping the Sabbath."

I (Dawn) think we all struggle at some time with some of the commandments, but I wondered where Letitia was going with this.

Letitia continues . . .

It is the OTHER Commandments that keep me coming back for another round of help.

Tucked mostly into the Epistles, a whole other set of Ten Commandments is given to help us follow in the way of Jesus. Have you noticed them?

The commandment I have the hardest time keeping wasn't even mentioned on Mt. Sinai.

Jesus gave the instruction and later Paul picked up the theme.

"Don't be anxious about anything."

Sometimes it's worded "don't worry," but the main idea is the same.

I break that one every day. I think you do too. I would like an exclusion clause—stuff it is OK to be anxious about, like global conflict or warming, the world economy as well as my own. I feel justified being anxious about health and the safety of those I love. And whether or not it is going to rain on the day of my son's outdoor wedding.

In fact, being anxious feels like I am doing something, making my contribution.

But no, not allowed.

The Word says:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Is it possible to never be anxious?

Probably not, but a few practices have helped me manage it better along the way.

  • Hand over the issue in prayer as soon as the anxious thoughts show up rather than way into it— you can often throw the worry into reverse gear.
  • Remember God’s faithfulness in all the past circumstances which seemed scary. There are a lot of examples you can come up with. Ask him to bring some to mind if you are stuck.
  • Recognize most “worst case scenarios” never happen.
  • Text a few friends to pray for you to get through the rough spot. Ask them to do the same towards you in their anxious moments.
  • Hold your hands out or up and ask for the promised peace.

By the way, if anxiety has a deep hold on you, get help from a professional.

I still agree with that one being the hardest commandment, but I have noticed a few more nominees for the award.

Here are nine more commandments for your consideration:

  1. Do everything without grumbling or arguing (Philippians 2:14.) I definitely fail on the “everything” part. 
  2. Rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16). I think I can say “often,” but for sure not always.
  3. Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). I think I have this one covered some of the time.
  4. Give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). How about just the ones I like?
  5. Be patient in affliction (Romans 12:12). Nope, not yet. Working on it.
  6. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). Two disclaimers on this one. Whew! What if the whole world followed this one?
  7. Do not judge (says Jesus.) Ever? No exceptions here.
  8. Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds (James 1:3). Really? Usually not my first response.
  9. Do not be afraid (all over the Bible.) I think we must need a reminder of this one the most as it is mentioned so often, don't you?

The good news is:  

If God asks us to pay attention to these commandments, He will help us work them into our day-to-day lives.

Picture how following any one of these OTHER Commands might change your perspective. It could be so amazing!

Which one would you like to start with? "Stop grumbling about the weather" is a good place for me to begin!

Letitia (Tish) Suk, www.letitiasuk.com, invites women to create an intentional life centered in Jesus. She is a blogger and the author of Getaway with God: The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat, Rhythms of Renewal and the upcoming 100 Need-to-Know Tips for Moms of Tweens and Teens. She is a speaker, personal retreat guide, and life coach in the Chicago area. Find out more about Tish at www.letitiasuk.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of free Clipart.

Tuesday
Oct022018

Overwhelmed by Overflow

Letitia "Tish" Suk is immensely practical. As a life coach, she often helps women deal with personal struggles in positive ways. In this Organization UPGRADE, she helps us cope with the disorder in our homes.

"Some of us settle for a junk drawer," Letitia says. "I grabbed a whole room!"

I (Dawn) am picturing a closet right now in my own home. Maybe Letitia can help me. And you!

Letitia continues . . . 

I had a vague memory of the color of the floor in my small storage room in the basement. That was before I claimed it for my miscellaneous possessions: off-season items/gift wrap/old photos/grandkid toys/folding chairs, and all the other items I might need someday.

The rest of my home more or less reflected my orderly side—we all have one somewhere; but the storeroom was an embarrassment, even to me.

Just closing the door was no longer effective.

With the holiday season looming, with all the extra activities, it was time to get serious about tackling this chore. But just where was I going to find that time?

My best M.O. for a large task is to seize a whole day for it. The idea of "an hour here and an hour there" might work for some. It gets me nowhere.

Of course, that requires rescheduling everything else previously slotted for that chosen day. It takes a bit of ruthless planning, but the result is worth the inconvenience.

Strategies abound on the “right” way to declutter.

You may already know what’s your favorite plan of attack for your personal overflow. I could recite many methods that work for someone else, but here is what worked for me.

Each item got scrutinized and sorted into one of ten piles for distribution.

Here are the categories:

1. Freecycle

This is a web group where you post what you want to give away or acquire, and the community responds to you.

In the past week, I have left a number of items on my porch with post-it names on them for the new owner to come and collect. Easy! Look for it in your area.

2. Return to Adult Kids

We have provided free storage to our children’s memorabilia for years, but now they are getting it back!

I decided to provide a little deadline to “come and get it,” and then it lands back in THEIR storage room.

3. Giveaway

Our church has a free clothing pantry every Wednesday, so all found clothing and small household items are going on that pile—very satisfying to see the patrons enjoying their “new” items.

Also, most areas have a Goodwill or Salvation Army store that is happy to accept donations and give you a tax receipt.

4. Take Back to the Store.

In the purge, I found unopened purchases from mostly craft stores that went right back for merchandise credit.

5. Recycle

The bins in our alley overflowed from all the recyclables we generated. I also started gathering a box of electronics to deliver to a different community site, and cell phones for another.

Check in your area for where you can recycle all your cast offs. Sometimes there are “recycling fairs” sponsored by local businesses.

6. Friends

Books, photos and even a cassette tape turned up that got passed on to their original owners or those much more interested in the subject.

You might want to ask permission first before the handoff.

7. Sell

Ebay or Facebook Marketplace are great sources to make some cash for your no longer needed items.

Stores for used books or music might also be interested in your former possessions. Don’t count on big sums but it is usually worth the trip.

8. Library

Whatever books I didn’t sell went to the public library donation bins. Magazines also ended up there.

I will try not to buy them back at the next library sale!

9. Garbage

Some items were clearly not valuable for any other use and needed to be pitched.

10. Return to the Storeroom.

Once I eliminated all the clutter in the tiny room, it was a pleasure to organize the items I DID want to keep.

I could actually see my good stuff now as well as the formerly hidden floor.

What area of your home are you ready to tackle?

Letitia (Tish) Suk invites women to create an intentional life centered in Jesus. She is a blogger and author of Getaway with God: The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat, and Rhythms of Renewal. She is a speaker, personal retreat guide and life coach in the Chicago area. Learn more about Letitia here.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Annie Spratt at Unsplash.

Tuesday
Jul172018

Finish Summer with a Flourish

Talk about getaways, and Letitia Suk's your resource! In this Rest and relaxation UPGRADE, she suggests ways to not regret one summer day. Finish this season with a flourish!

"Summer’s not over yet but in a few short weeks, the kitchen calendar will rapidly fill up again," Letitia says. "How can you still check off at least a few items from your seasonal bucket list before the leaves begin to fall?"

I (Dawn) don't want to end up on Auguest 31st with adventures left undone. I'm glad Letitia reminds us to be proactive about each special day.

Letitia continues . . .

Throughout what feels like the endless Midwest winter, I entertain myself with thoughts of summer.

None of the other 266 days of the year seem to hold as much possibility as the 99 days of summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The words of Ecclesiastes 8:15 (NIV) seem especially apt for this luscious season: So, I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad.”

So often, though, half way through the summer, I realize most of my "looked-forward" items are in the “yet to do” category.

Without some intentional planning, they'll never happen.

How about you?

  • Read your summer novel yet?
  • Flagged down the ice cream truck?
  • Had a glass of iced tea on the patio with a new magazine?
  • Visited an al fresco café for lunch?

Maybe you’ve got that all covered. But in case you need some ideas, here are ten ways to SAVOR the last half of summer.

1. Take yourself out for breakfast and fantasize how you would like to spend the rest of the summer.

Don’t worry about it being realistic! That part comes after the brainstorm.

2. Grab your calendar and set up a couple play dates just for you. 

Lunch with a friend? Art gallery or flea market? Get the invites out now.

3. Plan to prepare easy meals and eat outdoors as often as you can.

Everything tastes better when dining outside in your back yard, front steps or wherever you can find a spot.

4. Change up your usual reading to something lighter.

Try a new-to-you devo or Bible reading plan for early summer mornings.

5. Plan an enjoyable adventure like a long bike ride, an afternoon of hiking, paddling a canoe.  

It's OK to invite the family to join you!

6. Find an outdoor concert and pack or pick up a picnic to bring along.

Live music seems to show up everywhere in the summer. It’s fun to bring your husband or friend but going alone works too.

7. Watch a favorite movie outside at a park district venue or on your laptop in your own backyard after the kids are down for the night.

8. Take an excursion to a local farmer’s market and try a new recipe with the vegetables you bring home.

Salsa anyone?

9. Play in the water with or without a child at the beach or local pool and just enjoy the sensation of the water, sights and sounds.

10. Plan something to look forward to in the fall just for you.

The anticipation will help sustain you when the fall frenzy is about to begin.

When we are filled from life giving pursuits, we can draw on that reserve for the mayhem and meltdowns down the road.

What starts off looking like self-care ends up as other-care as the spillover from time well spent easily fills into those around us.

How do you savor summer? What summer-only event or activity can you add this week?

Letitia (Tish) Suk, invites women to create an intentional life centered in Jesus. She is a blogger and author of Getaway with God: The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat and Rhythms of Renewal. Tish is a speaker, personal retreat guide and life coach in the Chicago area. For more information about Letitia Suk, visit her webpage.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Jill 111 at Pixabay.

Tuesday
May012018

Does Your Soul Need a Spring Cleaning?

I love Letitia Suk's intentionality. "Tish" goes right to the heart of matters and designs ways to make wise choices. In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, she offers a fresh take on "spring cleaning."

Just about all the magazines on the impulse rack by the check-out these days are targeted to get me in the clean-up and organize mode: aka "spring cleaning,'" Letitia says, “But I’m thinking 'Does my soul need a spring cleaning?'" 

When spring came, I (Dawn) used to dread spring cleaning. No fun. As I've matured, I realize what a blessing a cleaning "restart" can be. And Letitia asks an interesting question. Maybe my behavior shows I need a "restart" too.

Letitia continues . . .

Each magazine at the check-out features some sort of cover tease on a new technique to refresh my entire home, or my kitchen, or just my closet. I usually derive enough inspiration from the cover without ever buying the magazine!

My mom had the same intention for me, maybe fueled by the magazines of her time. I can easily call up vivid memories of the annual pulling all my bedroom furniture out into the hallway and going after the windows and floor boards. The best part of the day was the final rearranging of furniture for the new season.

When it was my turn to be the mom, we spent the first day of spring break surrounded by buckets and rags followed by pizza for lunch and fun the rest of the week. A disagreeable chore still talked about but with laughter now.

The kids are gone now, the house stays cleaner by itself or I occasionally hire some help with the big tasks.

The longing for “spring cleaning” still shows up though.

In this season of my life, the clutter of my soul shouts louder than the disarray in my closet.

After a long Midwest winter, I am ready for something new. A similar, but distinct version of the fresh start of the new year. Time to clear out the winter crud and plant some new seeds.

In my backyard garden yes, but in my soul first. For me this process needs an actual time and place.

If you are feeling that longing too, try this:

1. Get out of the house.

On your way out, grab a notebook if you are a paper-girl or have an electronic-something to record your plans.

A personal retreat is ideal, but a coffee shop can work just fine too.

2. Turn off your phone notifications and ask God to help you focus on your soul-cleaning.

A scary but effective prayer is right out of the Psalms:

"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).

Usually He points out something!

Over the winter, our souls can get dirty, cobwebby, cluttered with stuff that needs to go.

3. Once you’ve identified what needs to go, hand it over.

Like digging up weeds before planting seedlings.

  • Too much internet or TV?
  • Not enough intentionality to the day to day?
  • More worrying than praying?

You usually already know what your gotta-go areas are. Picture the water of life wiping your soul clean after you go after the dirt.

4. Rearrange your inner life like your home by looking for fresh things to add and putting some items away for now.

  • Can you rearrange or drop some of your optional commitments?
  • Change up your winter readings for something new?
  • Do your weekends need more fun instead of more work?
  • How’s The concept of Sabbath going for you?

5. Once again invite God to help you keep your soul clean.

“Create in me a clean heart” (Psalm 53:10).

Done! Like your freshly cleaned kitchen floor, your soul won’t stay spotless for long but some “clean as you go” methods will likely keep the new sense of order in place.

When can you schedule your spring soul cleaning?

Letitia (Tish) Suk invites women to create an intentional life centered in Jesus. She is a blogger and author of Getaway with God: The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat and Rhythms of Renewal. Tish is a speaker, personal retreat guide and life coach in the Chicago area. For more information about Letitia Suk, visit her webpage.

Graphic adapted, courtesty of Ben White at Unsplash.

Thursday
Dec282017

More Than a Resolution: A Personal Retreat

What I love about Letitia "Tish" Suk is her intentionality. Choices make a huge difference in our lives. In this New Year's UPGRADE, she urges us to focus less on resolutions and plan a personal retreat to begin the new year refreshed.

"What if a simple day away could transform your life?" Letitia asks.

There's something about that phrase "a simple day away" that makes me (Dawn) yearn for rest. I'd like to be intentional about that!

Letitia continues . . .

Like many of us, I love to review and sometimes re-design my schedule, my priorities, my goals all under the umbrella of “New Year’s Resolutions” or sometimes labeled, “Intentions” if I’m not sure about the resolving part. 

Lately, or probably all my adult life, while I love all the celebration events starting with Thanksgiving (or Halloween?) seems like they squish out the opportunities for rest, quiet and open spaces of time which such reflection requires. To do it right, anyway.

I sometimes resort to quickly scribbling a few lofty aspirations in my journal for the new year and call it done. Done it is but nothing really changes.

What if instead of designing resolutions, you designed a retreat?

No, not one for your church’s women’s ministry, but one just for you and God?

A chance not just for a few minutes or an hour but an actual “Getaway with God” for a chunk of time to ask him what’s HIS plans are for you for the upcoming year?

Before you reject the notion due to not enough time, money, or creativity, think of how you would respond if your spouse or BFF asked you to come along for a getaway night or weekend? Maybe with a bit more enthusiasm, right?

For the past forty years (yikes!), I have been taking getaways with God: AKA personal retreats at regular intervals.

These times away have defined the trajectory of my life.

Think of it like plugging your soul in for a long recharge just like you do with your phone each night. Taking a personal retreat is just that. Stepping aside for a day or more to deeply rest, listen to God, and plan your next steps (or years) can have the same effect on your soul as plugging your smart phone in for a long charge.

Time after time, year after year, I come away filled with:

  • a renewed sense of purpose,
  • clarity of vision,
  • trust in God’s ability to untie all the knots of my life, and
  • overwhelming sense of being loved.

There’s nothing quite like a retreat to provide that much restoration in such a relatively short amount of time. Many of us are familiar with the relationship boost a getaway with your spouse or family can provide, and a getaway with God has the same results for our souls.

Before you get lost in the disclaimers—“I don’t have time, money, energy, or inspiration for this type of thing"—consider the invitation of Jesus:

“Come away with me by yourself to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31).

The invitation still stands today.

If you are looking for details, ideas and plans for what to do there, check out my book, Getaway with God.

Let me give you a few suggestions now.

1. A personal retreat can take place just about anywhere, apart from your own home if possible. Too many distractions and to-do’s all around.

I have retreated in retreat centers, convents, public gardens, the beach, hotels, bed and breakfast inns and a friend’s home while she was at work. Sure, some of these venues had costs, others were free. Regardless, it is an investment in your spiritual life which has a direct spillover into all the other aspects of your day to day as well.

2. While you are away with God, you can rest, nap, pray, read, plan and walk.

3. Staying off social media helps with the focus.

4. Stay for as long as you can, overnight is a plus.

5. It is your retreat to design as you wish. And if you ask him to help you with the planning part, He usually does.

I know how easy it is to wait until “the perfect time” for something like this but don’t let another year get away. Trust me, you will need it after the holiday hoopla is over.

Make it your Christmas gift to yourself.

Before you get too caught up in the calendar pages of 2018, can you consider scheduling a retreat?

Letitia (Tish) Suk, invites women to create an intentional life centered in Jesus. She is a blogger at Hope for the Best: Chasing the Intentional Life, and author of Getaway with God: The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat) and Rhythms of Renewal. She is a speaker, personal retreat guide, and life coach in the Chicago area. Contact her here.

Graphic adapted from photo at zinemo, Pixabay.