Consider the Lilies

It’s 2015, and the word “consider” has been on my mind. To be fair, it started in 2014, on an evening in December, when my husband came home with an unexpected Christmas present one of his friends gave him at coffee that morning. In beautiful handwritten script and bold Sharpie, one of the ivory slices of cardstock read: “Let us hold fast the confession of our home without wavering, for He who promised is faithful, and let us consider how to stir one another up to love and good works. Hebrews 10:23-24” The other, provoking in its simplicity: “Consider the lilies. Luke 12:27” The latter was a surprise gift for me! It didn’t hit me until a few weeks later, the word they shared: consider.

Lettering by Daphne Bamburg

The word made another appearance a few days after Christmas. It jumped at me from a new hardback interiors book adorning our coffee table. I had already perused the stunning photographs and inspiring text, but I managed to miss the book’s tagline, until now: “a manual for the considered home.” Of all adjectives, the considered home.

It’s telling that I didn’t notice these things until the end of December, in the final days of 2014 and on the brink of a new year. I don’t think it was until then that I – my mind, my heart, my schedule – slowed down enough to truly take in my surroundings. It’s also no coincidence that these perceptions took place on the coattails of my consumption of yet another Christmas present, a spiral-bound little book whose very appearance embodies its title: Organized Simplicity, by Tsh Oxenreider. I would have been captivated by its message in any season, but reading it at a very tangible time of change settled its message a little deeper into my soul. I can’t remember when I first stumbled upon Tsh’s work (yes, I consider us first-name-friends) at The Art of Simple, but I’ve been hooked ever since. Her second book aims “to convince its readers that simple living is the best way to live. Be it with house cleaning, family schedule management, personal finances, and managing the “stuff” you allow within your four walls, the only way to live well is to do so intentionally and simply.” (I will likely breach all sorts of these topics here at Craft & Composition over the next few weeks, in large part due to Tsh’s inspiration. Get excited.) Needless to say, I bought in. I might not be convinced yet, but I’ve considered this thesis enough to give it a try. See what I did there? As these thoughts lingered in my mind days and weeks after I devoured the text, they set further into my heart, and opened my eyes to this word all around me, consider.

My curiosity led me to a dictionary.

Consider, v.–

Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French considerer, from Latin considerare “to observe, think about”, from com- + sider-, sidus “heavenly body, star group, sky”

– think carefully about (something), typically before making a decision

– think about and be drawn toward (a course of action)

– regard (someone or something) as having a specified quality

And then to do some further literary research in the Book of all books, beyond the words lettered above.

Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24

So you must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but consider others better than yourself. Philippians 2:3

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2-3

God showed me in His Word what He commands us to consider – His work and His character, ourselves, others, and our circumstances – with the intention of allowing our consideration to inform our perspective.

What’s unique about this word consider, most evident in Merriam-Webster’s words above, is that it seems to marry thought, emotion, and action. To paraphrase Ben Stuart, leader of Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M, “What we think about is what we care about, and what we care about is what we chase.” Head, heart, and hands – holistically.

The act of considering leads to intentional choices that build a purposeful life.

So, what else to consider? In 2015, I will consider that there is more going on than what my limited viewpoint can see, that God’s promises are not voided by my circumstances. I will consider how I can live with less stuff so I appreciate what I have more. I will consider what is urgent as opposed to what is important, and try to act on the latter rather than be ruled by the former. I will consider what the disciplined pursuit of less means for my life. I will consider that there is freedom in limits, that there is value in learning to say no, that saying no means I can say a better yes.

Do you choose a word to focus on each year? This is my first year to do so. What will you consider in 2015?

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