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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bite Sized Morsels

I helped lead my Sunday School class this last week.  When I do that, I get to choose what we talk about.  So, I usually try to pick something that really speaks to me.

Normally, I go poke around the Proverbs 31 Ministries site and pick one, but this time, someone had posted one on Facebook that I really connected with.

It was called An Uncluttered Woman, by Gwen Smith.

To really paraphrase here, it talked about simplifying life.  It talked about facing the 10 bazillion things we need to do each day and being left dizzy and sick.  She referenced Matthew 6:33 about seeking God and the devotion closed with this prayer:

Dear God, Thanks for reminding me that I can always come to You and trade in my exhaustion for Your rejuvenation. Please bring order to my day and establish my priorities according to Your will. Teach me what it means to live a Spirit-led life and show me how to become an uncluttered woman.
In Jesus’ name,

Trading my exhaustion for rejuvenation sounds fantastic!!!

However, I still have a tendency to twirl around every which way and see all the needs to be done.  I get overwhelmed, both mentally and physically. 

So, what do I do?  Nothing.  

I sit and watch NCIS reruns and think to myself, I will just tackle it all....later.  When later does come everything is worse than it was before.  I get overwhelmed and depressed and give up again.

It is a vicious cycle.

The "uncluttered" part of the devotion reminded me of the decluttering that we had to do before we sold our houses.  Boy, oh boy, was that a pain in the butt.  We packed up at least half of what we owned and put stuff away or threw it away.  The counters were clear.  The toys and books were put away out of site.  Dishes and pots and pans were not allowed to stack up in the kitchen, because you never knew when that call for a last minute showing would come.  We always had to be prepared, or at the very least "almost" prepared.  

The kids came to dread the words "show ready".  But, you know what?  It was also sort of wonderful. The house looked great.  It felt great.  Cleaning hardly took anytime, because it never got really out of control and super messy.

We learned to do silly things like:

Make our bed as soon as we got out of them.

Load the dishwasher right away.

Fill the sink with soapy water and just wash those pots/pans, even if there were only 2 - instead of 20.  

Not let the kids have free reign when playing with any and all of their toys.

Wipe those spatters on the bathroom mirrors.

Don't let the toothpaste get hard and crusty in the sink.

We were able to tackle the little things before they became big things.....and it made things easier.

We talked about the beauty of decluttering and simplifying in my Sunday School class and the fact that even though we all know how great it can be, it just still seems so overwhelming.  One of the ladies spoke up and reminded us of the story of how to eat an elephant.  One bite at a time.

I can handle that, I think.

But, then I start looking around my house (that has gotten completely out of control since my thyroid surgery.)  I mean MY room is an actual mess.  That hasn't happened in this house since we moved in.  But, once again, it has become the place to put the stuff that nobody knows where it goes.

I felt like I was standing in the middle of my life whirling and twirling and seeing all the stuff that needed to be done.  Dirty windows.  Lesson planning.  Mopping the floor (but first scraping the sticky goo off).  Curriculum choices.  Dirty light switches.  Organizing school cupboards.  The blue tape that has been on my wall, marking studs so I can hang some of my family heirlooms.  It has been stuck there since....hmmmm......probably February. (I am sort of funny about not wanting to make too many holes in my walls when hanging pictures - so I try to be really sure before I commit to hanging things!) Then, I started thinking about not reading my Bible everyday anymore.  I thought about not eating right and gaining all my weight that I lost last year back.

Once I started looking around, I saw thing after thing after thing that I should be doing and decided that one bite at a time might be too much.So, I have decided that instead of taking on my world one bite at a time, I am going to do something else.

You know when you take your kids out to DQ for ice cream and they get a cone.  Pretty soon, there ice cream is just dripping and melting down the sides, so you swoop in and grab the cone and take the quick lick and swipe around the edges and hand it back to them to finish quickly?

I am going to do that.  Take things one lick at a time.  Swooping in, taking care of the immediate melting mess and move on.  LOL

So, I decided that I was going to start Monday.

And, I did.

I decided to start by cleaning off the chair in my bedroom....and the pile of clothes that had magically appeared there.

You see, when we got back from our road trip at the middle of July, I never unpacked my suitcase.  I just plopped it on my chair and when necessary, I dug stuff out of it.  Then, when I washed clothes and didn't feel like putting my stuff away right away, they were just added to the suitcase on my chair.  Sometimes when I took my clothes off, I would toss them there too and not into the dirty clothes - so then I wasn't sure what was dirty and what was clean.  Then, I went to visit a friend and she gave me some hand me down clothes - for me.  Yay!  Onto the chair/pile they went and what didn't fit there went onto the floor nearby - so the shadow from the pile on the chair didn't scare me in the middle of the night.

At one time, I had had thoughts of decluttering my closet and going through my wardrobe before I put those things away....which is why everything just sat there.

So, I decided to take it in bite sized morsels....or, my new way....a quick lick around the sides....and just put everything away.  I got out a stack of hangers and put them all away.  As I did this, I kept getting sidetracked by competing thoughts:

I should just go through my closet now.

Look at all these shoes.  I should go through those too.

Hmmm....what are in these bins?

Why do I still have so many sweatshirts here in Georgia?

Wow!  I need to vacuum.

I should rearrange my furniture and put the chair on the other side of the window.

I think you get the general idea, but I kept reminding myself not to get overwhelmed and really and truly just do one small portion of the work I had waiting for me.  So, I hung up all those clothes and put away the suitcase....and walked away.

It felt great.  Yes, I will still need to do all the things that I mentioned above - get rid of clothes and shoes.  But, it is okay that I didn't do it first.  I did manage to easily find 2 shirts that I wanted to give away to charity.  Yay me!  The other ones that will require more thought, or me actually trying stuff on to see if it fits/looks good are going to have to wait for another day.

That was my first attempt at really just giving myself permission to just do a little bit.  It is a foreign concept for me.  I am used to jumping in and getting stuff done and if you are around me when I am in the zone.....look out.  But, I haven't been in the zone for a long time.

But, really, I have had great success so far this week, reminding myself just to take a lick or bite (if I have time/energy) of whatever job is waiting for me.

Just washing pots and pans - and not having to wipe down every surface and clear off the island.  Or, just clearing off the island and wiping it down, but not loading/unloading the dishwasher.  Or, just tackling the pile of books and papers next to my chair....only next to my chair....not every single stray book or pile of papers that exists around here.

Yes, there are still a LOT of things around here that I need to get done, and even though I have 6 kids and there will just always be some sort of chaos surrounding me, things are getting done.  And, really, I will never have a spotless house, nor do I want one.

But, things are getting done.  Little by little.  It just makes me feel better.  Makes me feel like less of a loser.   Bite by bite.  Lick my lick.

Even if it is something stupid like putting my own clothes away.

Yay me, right?