Last week I planned to work in my creative space and finish up three projects that I want so badly to complete. My plans revolved around my desire to FINALLY FINISH so I could begin two new ones that are just burning a whole in my imagination trying to get out. Some of my partially completed projects have been on the shelf since the first of the year.
I also wanted to get my social media self moving right along as well with a few clever tweets and blog posts to brighten the world.wide.web.
But, two weeks ago I made a confession to the half dozen women who have come to my home every other Tuesday since the end of June. “My bedroom is cluttered.” Yep, Cluttered. I also confessed. “And it may never change because I have to share that room with someone else. (In case you missed it, that was a cheap shot at my husband. Which I later confessed to him as well.)
Not only was my bedroom cluttered, but every closet in my house overstuffed with boxes and tubs of nonsense that I have not used in three years. And, I won’t even mention the garage because we’ve scheduled its de-cluttering in October and November when this brutal Texas heat calms a bit. Yes. Cluttered.
What’s worse? My bedroom remained chock-full of mostly dirty clothes. I’m confessing, airing my dirty laundry in public so to speak. Yes, I am.
As a side-note, not washing the clothes, but buying new ones instead was my MO when working full-time. After all shopping is much more fun and less back-breaking than wash, dry, fold, and hang. And that my friends begins the story of how God interrupted my best laid plans to ignore my clutter and just carry on.
I believe I tweeted on that Saturday more than a week ago that my husband reminded me I needed to finish the laundry so I could get in the creative space and paint. He did. And I got up from my comfy little marshmallow desk chair and began the work of laundering my wardrobe. If you are keeping track, I pretty much did not return to my desk chair until yesterday morning.
I did chime in on my phone from time to time, but I became largely radio silent while the de-cluttering call of God invaded my home.
My youngest daughter recently said, “Mom, I think you are a mild hoarder.” I balked. Hoarder? Really? Probably. Okay, maybe mildly but I’m working on it. I am.
And, if you saw the three five gallon tubs in my master closet full of mismatched socks you would agree with her. Mild might not even be the word you would use. I woke up on Saturday morning and sat down to my keyboard and began to “work” at tweeting, blogging and what-not.
That is when my husband reminded me I had started a load of laundry. I had confessed to him I was going to try to get those things in order by doing a load of laundry at a time over the next few weeks until things came together in order. Until I heard a voice in my heart speak loud and clear, “This is something you need to get behind you now.”
I immediately recognized the prompting of the Holy Spirit. You see, I’m a Strategic Arranger which means I usually see only one good way of getting things done, but always keep a few options on the table in case something comes up and I need to change my mind. So I had my options for watching a movie, taking a “break” to paint and so on.
By Sunday, I fell full swing into the laundry game. Moving right into Monday I started opening tubs looking for things I forgot I owned or found myself missing for months. And before I knew it Tuesday afternoon I began unloading tub after tub of mismatched socks in the living room to sort, mate, and stow or toss out with the trash.
Here is what I learned: Mine and my husbands justification for buying any new socks for say 10 years is completely out the window. He started throwing out the good mated socks he had because we had filled two full dresser drawers with socks. Yes, that is the truth. By the time we finished The Great Sock Sorting Mission of 2012 we carted off two full trash bags and half a broken down laundry hamper of socks – most without mates. Sad, but true.
I moved on-hung every coat and jacket and began dislocating miscellaneous stored items from our hall closet. Like well, a lawn chair. Empty boxes for cell phones and Willow Tree dolls. And so on…
In the meantime our washing machine, dryer and bathroom shower curtain rods worked overtime as time and again I loaded, unloaded, hung and folded every piece of clothing, linen and bath necessity our laundry hampers held.
When I finished I discovered that I have plenty of sheets for our queen size bed, and I like making the darn thing every single morning. Though for the last three years my husband and I have used the same handful of towels and wash cloths in our bathroom – we really have more than enough to honor any guest who might visit our home and then some. They are now neatly stowed away, folded and stacked in a cupboard int he laundry room. And, that I have a full and wonderfully fabulous wardrobe that I’d lamented all these months because I felt overwhelmed by the mess of my making. Not only that my husband also has a wardrobe of his own that needs little tweaking. He even purged a few less than desirable items from his wardrobe.
And in the sincerest vain of open confession, after all it is good for the soul, I would like to admit that I am a little concerned about the water bill next month. Still, if the Lord guides you to it He will provide the way through it and that I am thankful for. I also replaced several missing shower curtain rings, organized my bathroom counters and cabinets and have only a few minor details to attend to keep my house in order each day. I even cleaned the carpet in the Living Room on a whim. This is serious folks.
You maybe asking why this is so important for me to share. And, I’m arriving at that moment right now. Two weeks ago when I shared about the clutter in my room, I also confessed that I used to keep a very cluttered house in every sense of the word. It seemed to me I always felt overwhelmed by the though of managing so much stuff – and did I say we had five children. Yes, I think I did. But now that it is just me, Scott and our little dog, Pogo. The feeling remained overwhelming, but the action became so necessary.
I cannot counsel and minister to people who find their lives filled with clutter and chaotic atmospheres if I, myself, secretly live in the very same environment. My house must be in order so that I may help others get their houses in order. However, I also realized that what my heart encountered throughout my life added to the paralysis I felt when it came to dealing with the clutter in my life. A cluttered heart usually will be indicated in a cluttered home.
In the last four or five years I have experienced deep healing and revelation from God about the condition of my heart. He partnered with me to clean out those hidden wounds and festering cesspools of guilt, shame, anger, frustration, unforgiveness, fear and pain. He showed me who He always meant for me to be. And, He empowered me to walk away from the victimization of my own choices, the choices of others and the powerlessness I felt each time I considered what needed to happen for my home to be a safe and pleasant place in every room of the house.
My eldest girl came home this weekend and we spent most of Sunday together while I finished up the remaining details of laundry and cleaning. I remember laughing at the end of the day after preparing, eating and getting up right away to do the dishes before our favorite program of the evening came on television. I said, “I am beginning to feel like I’ve been attacked by Invasion of the Body Snatchers and replaced by a Stepford Wife.”
I am working diligently at being the woman who keeps an orderly home for my husband and our family and a week in it is becoming second nature. I know there will likely be challenges as the life pattern changes and the joy of a clean and structured environment takes root.
For me it started with an uncluttered heart and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Uncluttered heart = Uncluttered Life, and I am feeling better already? The best part is I have what seems like a brand new home and a brand new wardrobe. SCORE!
What areas of your life do you think the Lord wants to uncover and de-clutter?