First Baby Step to Simplification

20140219-155200.jpgNo, I am not proud of this. But life happens and I’m going to finally do something about it.

20140219-155251.jpgGuess what? Labeling the shelves doesn’t do much good, if the stuff doesn’t go back where it needs to.

20140219-155354.jpgI pulled every last thing out of the closet. I decided whether it needed to be washed and kept or given away.

20140219-155621.jpgSee this blue box, that always got caught on the door-thingy? The box that is filled to the rim? The box that hasn’t moved or seen the light of day for over six years? Yea. That box. Well, I pulled that baby out and dealt with it.

20140219-155906.jpgSee this pretty blue chest? I love my Salvation Army chest. I’ve had it painted for about a year and a half now and finally lined the wonky drawers today. You can’t say I don’t get things done! Anyway…

20140219-160242.jpgI took the pretty tablecloths from the torn up blue box in my linen closet and put them in here! While I was at it, I searched around the house for more table linens and organized them in my pretty blue chest. I love all of my April Cornell table cloths. They make me happy.

20140219-160526.jpgBut this, this makes me very happy!! I have three large black bags ready for the shelter. I’m all hyped up now…I’m on a roll…I’m going to vacuum the house!

20140219-160727.jpgUntil I begin to push this thing around and notice nothing is being sucked up. I’m just like pushing the dirt and dog hair around the floor. No problem, I still have a bit of gung-ho in me from the closet clean out. I take the bad boy apart. Not once. Not twice. BUT THREE TIMES! All of a sudden, I’m exhausted, joyless and pretty frustrated.

20140219-161203.jpgIt still sits there…five hours later.

20140219-161233.jpgAnd this is still there! Woop Woop! Just one small step in simplifying my life.

Doggy Nose Prints And a Spirit Check

It’s that time of year…birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and the weather is warm. It is time to open up the house and clean away the winter gunk. Time to bring in some fresh air.

Today the windows are going to get a cleaning. I would love it if I could get both the inside AND outside of them done, but that would require some willing and patient help. I have the fold-in kind of windows. Great idea, but in reality so difficult to manipulate. I can’t do it on my own. So today, it’s just the inside.

As usually happens, as I work on this type of repetitive, non-technical task, my mind begins to wander. I look out my windows and see a reflection of my life. Take a look out this sidelight window at my front door. You can see through it pretty good, can’t you?

My life is that way too. It’s going pretty good. Perfect? No. But it’s working.

What happens when I get a closer look at the window? Oh my! Not only do the doggy nose prints really show up, but I can also see that my bushes on the porch need watering. I also see the dirt, dust and yuk stuff that has accumulated at the edges.

If I take a closer look at my life I see areas that need improvement too. The self-destructive thoughts that dirty up my mind; the dust that needs to be cleaned off the fun and love in my marriage; and dealing with the yucky stuff that I’m not very good at like organizing my house, my diet and exercise. Sure my life looks great on the outside, but upon closer inspection, it needs some cleaning up too.

So what tools will I use to do this spring cleaning job? As I wrote in an earlier post, I lurrrve this window cleaner, Invisible Glass. I am a paper towel user too. (I know, I know, I’m killing a forest of trees. Maybe next week I can work on using newspaper or cloths to clean the windows.) Today it’s paper towels. Invisible Glass leaves no streaks.

What tools will I use to clean up my spiritual life? Obviously, I can’t do it on my own. I don’t have the knowledge, energy or capabilities to do it on my own. But God does. The tools are right at my disposal, any time, anywhere…the bible and prayer. To change the destructive thoughts I have, I need to first acknowledge that there is a problem and pray for help. Next I will pick up my bible and read the affirming words that tell me how much God loves me.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14

Cleaning the windows takes work. In fact, my right shoulder is feeling a bit tired from all the wiping. I’ve even tried doing the old Karate Kid-wipe on/wipe off technique, but I’m not as efficient with my left hand. So I keep pushing through, one window at a time. It’ll be worth it when the sun comes shining through.

I’ve been married to Superman for almost 26 years. I like to believe we have a pretty good marriage. Just like having clean windows, it takes hard work. As the day to day monotony of life creeps in and begins to create cobwebs in our life, we have to make the choices to keep it alive.

“Let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and truth.” John 3:18

Cleaning windows probably isn’t at the top of many people’s list of fun things to do. My house has lots of windows. I could get overwhelmed and not even try attempting the job. But if I crank the music up loud, I can sing my way through it.

Organizing the closets, cleaning the bathrooms, eating healthy and exercising bring a sense of doom in my heart. Not only are they not my favorite things to do, I am not very good at any of them. To add insult to injury, I have to do them over and over and over again. How do I get through it? How do I change my attitude to actually enjoy those things I’m not very good at?

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (emphasis mine)

Let’s be honest, as humans we think we can do it all. If we just think the right thoughts, drink the right potion or just do whatever we think is right, we can control our life. Guess what? We are imperfect sinners, living in an imperfect, sinful world. On our own nothing changes. The windows can’t clean themselves. We can’t find true happiness on our own. We need help from a bigger, stronger, more loving being than ourselves….God. With Him our world is so much brighter.