As you know from my post These Dishes Are Killing Me! one of my joys in life does not include doing the dishes or cleaning! Sure, I love a clean space and often carry expectations of keeping the house picked up and clean and I feel stress creeping in when clutter seems to be multiplying. My biggest problem is I try to cram in too many tasks in the allotted time left over from other important things. I’m striving to change some habits here and it means more than just checking things off a to-do list. It means learning how much time it takes to clean up – and do a really good job. It means realizing what we need to purge so there is less to clean up. It means finding ways to like cleaning more.
This morning while putting away the clean dishes and reloading the breakfast ones I noticed the crockpot on the table I have been meaning to put away. I wiped off the sides and carried it to it’s home in the cupboard. Then I noticed the coffee grinder sitting on the counter that I have been meaning to clean out so I can grind up some almonds to make homemade almond milk and flour. I turned around and the boxes of gluten free flour spoke to me and I cleared off the space I have been telling myself I will for a month. I find the directions to the Elsa doll that we don’t need – in the trash they go. Two cups hiding behind the boxes of flour – in the dishwasher they go. I wipe off the now clear countertops and happen to glance up and notice the space that should be white under the cabinets are specled! What! How in the world did we get splashes of food underneath?
Through these thoughts jumping around I began thinking about the time this is taking to do a good job and be mindful of the hidden spaces that need to be thoroughly cleaned to – and more than once over time. Cleaning my kitchen is not the only thing that needs to be wiped clean, rearranged and decluttered. Life can be full of clutter of past hurts and baggage. It takes time for God to do a good job and it’s impossible to rearrange and let go when I’m running from task to task to task. Many of these tasks seem like “have to’s” because I want to help out and do my part. The question God has been asking me lately is “Why? Am I enough?” As in, why am I overloading my schedule with “have to’s” and seemingly running from obligation to obligation to please someone else? “Am I enough?” The answer is not simple or quick and He doesn’t demand an answer, unlike obligations for others. He wants this to sink in because I have chosen to let go of a life lived for others and truly live for God. Over the last year God has been trimming down my schedule and I am grateful and blessed. I don’t need to have social obligations four nights a week to feel loved – yup, that was crazy! I don’t need to work until 3 a.m. writing to earn a paycheck – God is blessing my work in many ways, including a steady paycheck, but I have had to let go. Let go of certain clients and projects that were draining. Trust that I have enough time during my day to complete what God has called me to do.
I have learned that usually that the stress in a circumstance is not the true reality of a situation. Ponder why you are stressed and let God show you areas you need to rearrange, let go of and wipe clean. This is how God has breathed more truth into my life. It’s hard work and takes time, but the blessings of a clean spirit will lead you from making unnecessary obligations and overextending what He is calling you to do.
Another thing I realized is that since cleaning my kitchen takes time, it’s okay that it’s not completely cleaned in one setting or even by the end of the day, especially with the distrations and interruptions that naturally happen with a three-year-old by my side. She is learning and has a passion to help. This brings many twists and turns into the picture and I reflect on how I bring those same twists and turns into the picture when God is trying to rearrange, wipe clean and declutter me. I’m giving myself permission to take the time to let God in and I invite you to do the same too!