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2021 online sermons » Joyce Meyer » Joyce Meyer - Simplify Your Life, Part 1

Joyce Meyer - Simplify Your Life, Part 1

Joyce Meyer - Simplify Your Life, Part 1
Joyce Meyer - Simplify Your Life, Part 1

Welcome to, "Enjoying Everyday Life," and happy thanksgiving. Psalm 107:8 and 9 reminds us: "Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things". You know, thanksgiving day is all about giving thanks, but to be honest, I believe that we should be thanking God all the time, every day. This is something that's very important to me. I've studied it a lot, and I really believe that there's power in being thankful. If you're thankful for what you do have, then you won't be paying so much attention to what you don't have. The more thankful we are, the happier we are. If you feel life is complicated, today's teaching is for you. Find out how you can have rest with God in every area of your life.

Life is not intended to be stressful. Do we really think that God is the author of all the stress that's in the world today? You know, we all want every electronic toy that comes out and then they drive us crazy because we don't know how to work 'em and they break down all the time. And I'm not suggesting that we don't use technology today, I use it, but I think sometimes you can go too far. One thing's for sure, you know, my assistant said something this morning that I thought was good. She said, "You know, what is really simple to one person could be complicated for another". So, she's like this really hyper-, super-organized person. When I asked her what she likes to do in her time off, she said, "I love to organize things". I don't call that fun. I'm, like, in the middle somewhere, you know? Like, I'll get my socks and underwear to the drawer, but they're all not gonna be like, you know, and she said because of her high level of organizational skills, she said, "I could have company and have a party that to somebody else might look very complicated, because that's not their gift".

And see, one of the things that we have to do if we wanna simplify our life is stop trying to be something we're not. Here's what I wanna encourage you in every area of your life, find your level of skill and gifting, which will normally mean that that's where you're comfortable. Not that we never stretch ourselves or go beyond, you know, what's extremely comfortable, but we're all created different, and we all have different strengths and gifts in different things. Her and mike have a real gift of hospitality. The last thing in the world that I would want would be somebody living with me. And they've had different people come and stay with them. They used to be the one that kept all the guest speakers at church. And I'm like, "I love people, but I'm kinda liking the distance thing". I mean, I love you guys to pieces, but I wouldn't want you just to knock on my front door and just show up. I'm not real good with that. And see, here's the thing.

Now listen, you don't have to keep apologizing for what you're not. You just need to realize who you are and then do what you're good at. I don't have to try to do a party like somebody else does. I don't have to try to have the gift of hospitality if I don't have the gift of hospitality. But honey, I can talk. I can communicate, and I'm doing that, amen? How many of you ever get tired of the pressure of trying to be something that you're not? And don't you feel a lot of times that the world pressures you to do that. Well, you should, and you ought, and they say. I don't know who they are, but they're running our lives and we don't even know 'em. Whoo. What about prayer? Oh, my gosh, can we ever complicate prayer. Two minutes of focused, simple prayer can accomplish more than one hour of rambling.

Now, I want you to hear me, because I think sometimes we think if we're gonna pray, we just need to... Can't stop, can't breathe, can't wait for an answer, don't take time to receive anything. And most of the time that's just fleshly stuff. First of all, get quiet and ask the Holy Spirit to pray through you. "God, lead me in my prayers today". And God has challenged me, "I want you to ask me for what you want and need with as few words as possible. Lord, I shouldn't have done that. I'm so sorry. Forgive me". Not, "Oh God, forgive me. Oh God, forgive me. God, God, God, please forgive me. Oh God, if you'll just forgive me one more time, I promise I'll never do it again. Oh God, I'm so sorry. God, I just feel so bad". You know what we do? I don't know, we're trying to impress ourselves or something, or impress God, and half the time we don't even know what we're saying or doing. Is this making any sense to anybody?

See, we're not real satisfied with simple. We think we've gotta sound eloquent and complicated. In Matthew chapter 6, it's beautiful, the first seven or eight verses. He says, "When you pray, don't repeat phrases over and over just seeing how many words you can say". In James, it says, "Let your prayer be sincere". You could enjoy prayer so much more if you would simplify it and just believe that you can very simply present your need to God, that he hears you, and you don't have to be fancy and eloquent, or not even necessarily long. There's nothing wrong with praying a long time, but I think there's too much emphasis on long prayers, and we tend to think that long amounts of time in prayer are much more beneficial than simple, shorter prayers.

I believe in spending lots of time with God, but I could not even tell you how long I pray because I've learned, in addition to a set apart time of prayer, I just try to pray my way through the day. Did you hear me? Just pray as you go, amen? All right. "Ask and receive that your joy may be full". "You have not because you ask not". Let's start simplifying anything in our lives that is complicated. Areas to simplify: how 'bout clutter? Some of you, the minute you walk in your house, you feel frustrated. Come on, let's see. All right, how many of you have way too much stuff in your house? Okay, I'm gonna challenge you to get a big box and write on the side of it "Giving," and go collect everything that you've got too much of, that you don't care that much about anyway, that you're not using, that you're not doing anything with, and give it away.

See, you don't like that. "Well, what if I need it? Well, what if I need it"? You know what? Even if you did, you couldn't find it. You wouldn't know where you put it. You know what I've come to believe? At least this is the way I feel about my home. If I have too much stuff, you even take, like, a shelf, like a decorative shelf or a coffee table, if I have too much stuff on it, I don't notice any of it. All I see is stuff. But if I have one or two really attractive things that I really like and enjoy, then I can actually enjoy having them. And you know, just be careful that you don't just have so much clutter around you all the time. A stack of magazines you're not ever gonna read. The only thing I don't want you to throw away is my magazines that I send to your house. By all means, keep those.

And you know, there's a lot of you, you know that you need to go home and do what I'm talking about. And I'm telling you what, it will help you enjoy your life more, because then every time you walk in your home, you're not gonna feel overwhelmed and frustrated. And you know what? Just because somebody gives you something, that doesn't necessarily mean you gotta keep it. I mean, I get some unique stuff. God gives you bread to eat and he gives you seed to sow, amen? And if it's not intended for you, then maybe God put it in your hands to pass it on to somebody else. And don't even give somebody something if you're gonna try to dictate to them then what they have to do with it. Once you give somebody something, you have to let go of it, otherwise you're not giving it, you're using it as a tool of manipulation. Oh boy, this is so good.

Joyce: Well, hopefully that teaching will help you start the process of simplifying your life. Ginger joins me now with some of your questions on this topic. Well, Ginger, I think just about anybody could use a little more simplicity in their life these days.

Ginger: And let me just say how glad I am we're talking about this today. It's just one of those mornings where you're running from thing to thing, and you realize some are things that we can say no to. Like you said, we need to adjust our own schedule. And others are things that we need to learn how to handle better, because they are out of our control and have to be done.

Joyce: Yeah, I had to remind myself a few times this morning, just, "Okay, Joyce, breathe. Don't make a big deal out of it," you know? So, we all have to talk to ourselves.

Ginger: Yeah, sometimes just taking a breath, giving yourself a second makes a big difference. Well, andrea would like to know, she says, "Worry seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life. The minute I get through one thing, my mind automatically starts stressing about the next thing. I'm frustrated because I pray about it and I still pick it right back up. How do I enjoy each moment and stress less"?

Joyce: Well, the only way to do that is to learn how to trust God. And I know that sounds so simple, but I really believe that the only way that we can really learn how to trust God is to really get it through our heads that we cannot solve our problems. See, worry is just completely useless. And I mean, I was a chief worrier, so I know how andrea feels. Trust me, I know how she feels. And I used to think too, "Well, how can I just not worry"? And you know, that all goes back to all the teaching on the mind that we can cast down wrong thoughts and choose right things. But you know, it's like, when I teach on worry, I think, "God, if I could just have some simple way to tell people, 'just don't worry'". But I know just saying, "Don't worry," is not gonna keep people from worrying, and so I really kinda pondered this, and I think the only way that we can stop worrying, I'm repeating myself now, but it needs to be repeated, is to really come to the realization that you cannot solve your problems and that worrying about it is not gonna make it any better. It is absolutely useless. It steals all your energy and it gets you nowhere.

Ginger: And I understand what she's saying about as soon as you get done with one thing, you start thinking about the next. And we have to allow our mind, our thoughts the time to focus on something positive, something different, instead of that next stressor.

Joyce: And you know, of course, I've been walking with God a long time now, and in ministry a long time, studying the word a long time, and you know, that actually is very valuable because we are on a journey with God. And one of the things that I've learned is that people have to have time to get experience with God. And so, I've learned over the years that God is faithful, he does come through, and that he wants us to pray and not worry. You know, we can't worry our prayers. We need to pray and cast that care on God, and when those cares come back, you know, in the beginning, I had a battle, I would just have to say, "I'm not gonna think about that. I'm not gonna think about that". You might have to start by saying out loud a thousand times every day, "God, I trust you. God, I trust you. I'm not gonna worry". But if you will fight that battle with the Holy Spirit by your side, you will win it, and eventually you can have a peaceful mind that knows how to wait on God.

Ginger: Yeah, well, this question from Jolene, I think probably a lot of people will connect with. "I tend to procrastinate, which complicates my life. It's an awful habit that I've enlisted to avoid stress". So, in other words, "I don't wanna deal with that right now. I'll do it later," but then it gets hard. "It leads to a terrible sense of feeling overwhelmed when deadlines approach, and I need some guidance regarding facing today's issues today".

Joyce: Well, you know, it's interesting to me that sometimes, like she said, she knows procrastination is her problem, and so what am I gonna tell her? Stop procrastinating. So, really...

Ginger: Well, thank you for the answer.

Joyce: Yeah, thank you for the answer. But honestly, Ginger, I think a lot of times we know our own answer. I don't know if we're just hoping for something that's gonna not require us to make a change or not require us to take any action, but the thing is you can't do it all. Nobody can do it all. So, we all have to have priorities and know, "Well, these are three things that I know that I need to get done today," and then you take them one at a time and you do them. And you stay focused, and you don't make excuses, because excuses really feed procrastination. And really, I heard somebody say one time and I loved it, that an excuse is nothing but a reason stuffed with a lie. In other words, I'm saying, like, for example, for years, and I had myself convinced this was true, "There's no way that I can work out on a regular basis. I can't exercise on a regular basis because I'm just too busy. I travel all the time. How could you possibly do that"? And you know what? You know what finally broke me of it? I finally thought, "You know what? I'm not gonna worry about what I can't do. I'm gonna do what I can do. If I can only exercise 15 minutes once a week, I'm gonna start there". And of course, now, it's one of my very favorite things to do. And so, I was using that "I'm busy" as an excuse. 'cause you know what really it gets down to? We usually do what we really wanna do. And so, even if you take one thing a day and say, "I'm gonna accomplish this," as you begin to get that sense of accomplishment, you'll begin to feel so much better about yourself. And you really don't want to let procrastination run your life because we can always put it off until tomorrow, but tomorrow always comes.

Ginger: She's right, it will add to your stress.

Joyce: It will add to your stress, that's right. There's nothing worse than looking around at all these unfinished things that you know you should have done and not having any idea what you did with your day, but you know that whatever it was, it wasn't what you were supposed to do.

Ginger: Well, we all know that God has created us with different personality types, and Michelle sounds like she's a personality type kinda similar to us. She says, "I'm a very type a personality, and I'm continuously busy until sometimes I can be exhausted. Unfortunately, instead of finding peace and comfort in the Lord, I have turned to alcohol. And so now I'm in a worse mess, and I would really love to slow down my life and my brain and to focus and concentrate on God's word. How can I begin"?

Joyce: Well, I think probably what I had to do was ask myself why do I feel that I need to just constantly be working, constantly be working. And one of the things that God taught me is because you don't feel worthy of rest and relaxation and fun. You feel like that as long as there's anything left to do, that you don't deserve to actually relax and enjoy yourself. And I've had to learn in my life, Ginger, I don't care how hard I work on any given day, when I'm done at the end of that day, there's more to do.

Ginger: And we can always find...

Joyce: You're always gonna have things left that you could do, but if you don't have balance in your life, then you're gonna experience exactly what she is. You're gonna be so stressed out that you're gonna have to find some way to relieve that stress. And sadly in her situation, she's turned to alcohol. And I think that she has some deeper issues that she needs to get to the bottom of. The Holy Spirit is our counselor, and he can help her get to the bottom of that, but if she really feels like that she doesn't know God well enough or she doesn't know the word well enough to get there with just her and God, then perhaps a good Christian counselor or a good Christian friend that can talk to her would help her. Because a lot of times, we work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work because we're looking for value. We're looking to feel that we're valuable, but there's a reason why people feel that they have to drive themselves and drive themselves. We do kind of live in a driven society, and the whole idea of the American dream, you can do anything, you can have anything, push yourself, go, go, live on the edge, live in the fast lane. The world may think it's cute, but it's really not cute in God's kingdom.

Ginger: Yeah, well, this is one that definitely leads to stress in a lot of people's lives and a lot of families. Paula asks, "How do I stop trying to fix everyone else's problems"?

Joyce: She's a rescuer!

Ginger: Yep.

Joyce: Well, I know a little bit about that because I have a tendency to be like that too, and I actually just wrote in my journal this morning, "God, when I know that somebody has a need, teach me how to better understand if you really want me to help them or if I'm just trying to rescue them". So, I understand where she's coming from, and I really think that we have to just, one of the things is is to look at the people you're trying to help and ask yourself, "Do they really want help, or is the enemy just using them to steal my time"? You know, a lot of times we're trying to help people that really don't even want to be helped. They're not gonna do their part. And even God won't help us if we won't do our part. God is sovereign and he can do anything that he wants to do, but he always gives us some way to participate with him. And I know a lot of people, they just live on the edge of disaster all the time, but it's really because they're not managing their own life well. And it's fine to help them and to teach them, but if it's just gonna be over and over and over and over again that you just have to keep rescuing the same person, then it just ends up stealing your life. And one thing that really helped me with this was I began to realize that Jesus didn't go around saying, "Can I help you? Can I help you? You have a problem, can I help you"? The Bible says that all those who came to him, he helped. So first of all, I need to make sure that somebody wants my help, and not just that they wanna tell me their problems, but that they really want help. So, maybe that'll help her.

Ginger: Yeah, that's great. Okay, one final question. "Stress is taking over my life. I've always thought that I handled it well, but now it's taking its toll because of several things that are out of my control. Special needs children, taking care of aging parents. I feel like I'm losing myself, so how do I de-stress when the obstacles are still there"?

Joyce: Okay, well, a couple of things that I can say. Perhaps she can get some help, you know? And not all help, you know, first thing somebody might say is, "Well, you know, I don't have the money to pay help". Well, you'd be amazed what God will do for you if you start praying. I mean, God can send you some help, even if it's help that you can't afford to pay for. I know in the beginning of our ministry, I was so stressed out, and I needed help, and I needed somebody to help with my kids, I needed somebody to help with the housework. And a friend of mine came and said, "I feel like God's put it on my heart to help you". And I said, "I can't pay you". And she said, "I know, I just feel like that God wants me to help you". So, get some help. If you can pay for some help, pay for some help, ask some relatives to help, or whatever the case might be. And then of course, the obvious that I have to say is anybody in her situation, special needs children, elderly parents, you're talking about two major, major situations here, and you know, sometimes I even look at those situations and I think, you know, "Am I really qualified to give advice in this"? But the Word of God works for everybody, and any time that you have more to deal with in life, you need to spend more time with God. And that seems to be the very thing that you can't do. "Well, I don't have time to do that". But really, you don't have time not to do that, because that's the only place that you're gonna draw strength from. And I do believe this with all of my heart, I don't believe that God will ever assign us anything to do that we cannot do peacefully. And so, if I really believe God wants me to do something and I'm saying, "But I'm all stressed out," then there's something wrong with the way that I'm going about it. And that's the first step to healthy change is not to just make excuses for it and to be frustrated, but to say, "If God wants me to do this, then I shouldn't be all stressed out, so I'm going to open my heart to God and ask him to show me what I need to see". So, thanks for being here with those questions, Ginger.

Ginger: I feel less stress already.

Joyce: I feel less stress already.
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