January 19, 2021 |
This year I received a Christmas gift that upgraded my kitchen efficiency. It changes my daily function even though hidden from view most of the time. Previously, we set a goal to get rid of anything we hadn’t used for a few years, barring sentimental family connections to be passed down. This particular gift put a chain of events in motion. It has always mystified me just how quickly this pattern unfolds! Why am I always surprised? By now, I should expect this to happen.
You buy a lamp only to rearrange the room…which leads to changes in another room. One exchange in our house arrangement has, at times, affected 4 rooms. Really??? You try to laugh, even though deep down you really want to cry. How did this happen? It was not in the plans. And it does not end there. While you’re switching everything around, you are compelled to clean. Because as you rearrange items, dirt & grim & cobwebs rear their ugly heads. It possibly might be the first time in a year, or more, that these items have seen the cleaning light. Some even change color. 😊
Watching me now, no one would ever believe that I used to be a driven perfectionist, cleaning my house from top to bottom every week. And I mean everything. Thankfully, when the babies came, I loosened up…a little bit. And it helped that my honey requested I leave some things laying around, so it looked like we lived in our house. If he didn’t care, why was I working myself “to the bone,” as the folks say back home? As time passed, God showed me that relationships are always more important & I felt free to set the external aside more frequently. Choice is a powerful thing! Presently, at this stage of life, I choose to maintain my sanity instead of driving myself by cleaning things no one sees, or cares about, anyway. I’m not advocating poor stewardship. My parents always modeled that if anything was worth doing, it was worth doing well. What has changed since my early nonstop days is the frequency of that doing.
My gift motivated me to dejunk anything related to the kitchen, including items stored for occasional use. I put all of these “discards” in one section of the garage & then contacted a few people for first dibs at my freebies. This one decision led to an organizing/planning brainstorming session, listing line-by-line unfinished/wished for changes that I needed to get out of my head & onto paper. The goal is always to cut back on unnecessary work that wears us out. We have enlisted help where we can because we know our limitations. But the end results will give us more time, & energy, to focus on what matters for eternity…people.
Yesterday my sis & daughter painted the kitchen, a project cut short a few months ago by things out of our control. As they neared the end, my daughter said, “Mom, is there more paint? Let’s just keep going & do the living room! All the stuff is out anyway.” Initially my first thought was, “This is nuts!” Not that the idea was not appealing, believe me! But conquering that dark room wasn’t on my agenda for the day. They assured me that straight walls were far less time-consuming than the nooks & crannies of the kitchen. So, we all pitched in to make it happen. Last night, while sitting to eat at 9:45, I couldn’t believe what had been accomplished over the course of 9 hours! It was awesome, & my heart soared in gratitude! The change is undeniable!!
God’s dejunking of our lives is much like that. We make plans but He directs our steps (Prov 16:9). Sometimes things go like we think they should. But in my life, He lovingly makes changes to my agenda more often than not. Spiritually, His line-by-line steps can look different than mine. It’s true that we might have the same goals. But He sees what is hindering me from reaching them. The dirt & grim & cobwebs that I forget about, or that I purposely refuse to look at, need to be dealt with. I can only get where He wants to take me if these issues are cleaned up/thrown out or made new.
Over time, the compounded effects of sin can take a toll. The consequences build & can be far-reaching (Col 3:25). It’s a slow fade, until we find ourselves suddenly surprised by the place we end up. We feel buried alive, with no way of escape. How did I get here? Thanks be to our heavenly Father who provides redemption through Jesus Christ! His process of sanctification brings new results & lifestyle changes over time (I Thess 5:23). He pays attention to the details that we often disregard because they aren’t high on our priority list. Spiritually & relationally, seemingly little changes can have a huge impact. He is faithful to His children because He loves us (I Thess 5:24). When God sets out to redirect the course by which we reach our planned destination, we can trust Him (2 Thess 2:16 & 17). He seeks His best for us, not our idea of good for ourselves.
Oh! And in case you were wondering, my gift was new cookware. It inspired me & relieved me to let go of the old, dented, scratched, tighten-the-handles-every-time-you-use-it pots & pans I was familiar with. I received something infinitely better that I didn’t know was coming but that I gratefully embraced. In doing so, I saw there were other externals that were hindering my focus & output. A simple illustration with powerful effects. I can only say “Thank you , Lord.” Happy dejunking!