Day 303: Zero Car Garage

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My garage is a mess.

I mean… not like an “Oh no… the rack that holds up all the yard tools just fell down” kind of a mess, but a “You mean they make racks that hold up yard tools?” kind of a mess. Like… my garage has probably only been able to fit a car in it for like a total of three months during the eight years that we have owned this house. Just look at it… it’s cuh.ray.zeeeeeee.

And I hate that. I mean… winter is coming to Texas. Yes, I know, it will only be really, really cold for, like, two or maybe three months, but all the same… the whole defrosting the car in order to drive five minutes to take my son to preschool and then five minutes back home, well, it just wears me out. (I’m not a fan of cold weather, if you hadn’t noticed.) Plus, a clean garage is such a great place to take kids to play on rainy days… it’s like they are getting outside kinda but not really. And then just looking for something… for ANYTHING in there is a beat-down.

What was that?

Clean it out, you say?

Pffffff, well OF COURSE that would be an easy solution. If it were THAT easy do you think that I’d have an unorganized, cluttered, messy garage?

And that’s just it… the garage is an area of my life in which I am able to close a door and forget about it… sure, occasionally I have to go in there to get out Christmas decorations or to look for my son’s toy light saber to complete his Obi-Wan outfit, but most of the time I just avoid that entire room. No one else goes in there, so no need to clean it, right?

But deep down I know that it is an area of our house that needs to be organized. It needs to be cleaned. to be decluttered. to be… useful. Cause now it is only “useful” for holding junk and for successfully hiding all of our tools when we need them.

And I think that my life and my soul… they are pretty similar to that. Most of my soul, I at least give touch-up spots occasionally. Some areas, I clean regularly. Some areas, I am closed-up, locked-down, and there are no-admittance signs posted all over that stuff. And then there’s areas like the garage… ignored. Purposefully ignored. But ignored all the same. And I think that this is almost more dangerous than those areas with top-secret-clearance-only. Because ignored stuff rusts. festers. grows. It defeats me whenever I look at that part of my life just because of the sheer AMOUNT of things to sift through.

But (yes, here’s the big but… you were hoping that I wasn’t gonna ramble about my garage for an entire post, right?)…

My husband and I are planning on asking my parents (Mom, if you are reading this, then you can consider this me asking you about it… haha) to watch our boys for a day over Thanksgiving break so that we can, as I like to call it, mama-jama that sucker and clean. it. out.

And we are going to have to sweat. and get dirty. and get rid of some things that we are attached to. and be embarrassed at some of the things that we have been keeping in there. BUT we are going to clean it out. And start fresh. And start new. And clean. And hopeful that we can keep it relatively fresh, new, and clean.

And sometimes that’s what we need to do with our God. Like I said, recently I went away for a MomsAway retreat… and that’s what I let God work on… pulling some stuff out of the garage. But I needed to have someone take over my responsibilities for the day, for the weekend. No, not everyone can do this for a full weekend, I know. I guess I would encourage you to set aside a night each week to do it for yourself then. If your kids are in bed by 8:00pm then take every Thursday night to let God get some stuff out of the garage. Or if you have to wait and do it on Saturdays or Sundays if you work, do it then. Just remember, the dishes can wait. the laundry can wait. lesson planning can wait. catching up on your favorite shows from the week can wait. Eternity… can’t. It’s too important. Actually, it’s the only thing that is important AT ALL.

I was reminded again of this yesterday when I was reading through my Jesus Calling devotional (I spoke about it yesterday) and it had Jesus saying, “My main work is to clear out debris and clutter, making room for My Spirit to take full possession. Collaborate with Me in this effort by being willing to let go of anything I choose to take away.” And I know that He is working to clear out a lot of my debris and clutter right now… in a bunch of areas of my life, not just with food… although food continues to be an issue that I have to deal with daily. Daily I have to open up the garage door… the BIG garage door… and let everyone see what is going on in there while He rips out the junk and replaces it with cleanliness. And so my prayer continues to be:

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24

Update: Squeaky Clean Soul

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A few days ago I wrote a post called “Squeaky Clean Soul” where I discussed how a little house cleaning led me to start praying every day for fifteen minutes when I get my boys down for their naps.

And, well, I just wanted to say that I have now prayed for 15 minutes every afternoon (except for yesterday when I ran an errand… bad idea… and prayed yesterday evening instead. It would have been worth it to stay home fifteen extra minutes instead of trying on clothes like I discussed in my post from yesterday). And it has already been awe.some. Why didn’t I do this before?!?!?!

And it’s not been super complicated or anything. I just set a timer on my phone for 15 minutes to make sure I don’t allow myself to get distracted for at least 15 minutes and then I get out this cute green journal that my mom gave me…

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… and then I pray. It’s sorta in letter form, but it helps to keep me focused so my thoughts don’t drift off. I figure King David did it, why not me too? Ha!

But I have already seen the difference just in these past six days. No, I’m not saying that all of my prayers were instantly answered (although one of them was!) but I am saying that I have already been spoken to by God in several of my prayer-letters. He has revealed His Answers to me over things I have been mulling over by myself for weeks.

Key words: by. myself.

It was almost as if the mere act of setting aside a measly 15 minutes to dedicate to communication with God… well, shocking, I know, but it is like it allows Him to COMMUNICATE with me. This is probably old news to you veterans out there, but I honestly feel as if I have discovered something wholly new and wonderful.

And I have.

A closer relationship with my Lord.

And that deserves a big ol’ hearty AMEN!

Day 216: Squeaky Clean Soul

Day 13 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

My husband recently went out of town for a week and while he was gone I, out of necessity, had to get back into a pretty strict routine. Kind of like our school routine.

Which means I also had to get back into a routine with my cleaning. It’s not that I don’t clean in the summers… it’s that I don’t clean on a routine. It’s all kind of sporadic. “Oh, that’s sorta messy… I’ll clean it.” or “Oh, that toilet is gross, I’ll clean it.” It’s more like a REactive type of cleaning instead of PROactive.

Anyway, so tonight I was cleaning up the kitchen before bed and it was looking pretty good. But then I kept remembering that Sarah Richardson, in an HGTV magazine article, said she always puts everything away before bed. A little Martha Stewartish if you ask me. But it kept running through my mind last night.

So I thought, I’m gonna at least do this in the kitchen/big room. And suddenly you start to notice things that have been there for a few days but they have been there just long enough that you start to subconsciously ignore them. They become part of the landscape.

Like this one corner of my kitchen is what the FlyLady would call a “hot spot”. Tons of stuff gets “dumped” there throughout the day. So I went to clean it tonight and there were two plastic popcorn tubs that had been there almost a week. Two bottles of medicine. A rag (always there). My husbands daily collection of cups despite the fact that I have designated a coaster on which he can have one cup a day. A pen. Two twist ties. And an iPhone charger.

So I cleaned it up and wow- it made such a difference. I took a pic of the “after” only because it didn’t hit me until after how this tied into sin. into gluttony.

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There are so many things in our lives that get stuck in the “hot spot”. Little sins often that we ignore until we don’t even know they are sins after a while. We don’t even know they are there.

Gossip.
Laziness.
Envy.

Gluttony.

And sometimes we have to make a concerted effort to clear those things out. It’s so much nicer afterwards to be clean and free of it, but it does take a little sacrifice of time and effort to clean it out.

And there are also little eating hot spots during the day… like when I put the boys down to nap every day, I often come into the kitchen immediately looking for something. My friend Christie has mentioned that her hot spot is right after she puts the kids to bed in the evenings. Some people it’s right when they get home from work. Or on their coffee break.

But I know that I need to work on my hot spot this week. What I will do I think is replace my hot spot with Jesus. Instead of immediately coming into the kitchen after the boys go down, I will immediately go into my room and pray for 15 minutes. I read my bible in the mornings before the boys get up and I pray continually all day, but rarely do I stop and take the time to meditate on God.

Maybe switching those two things out will help to get rid of my afternoon snackie hot spot and therefore keep me out of the hot seat! Haha. Sorry. Nerdy joke!