I’ll never forget filling out a job application at a department store when I was seventeen. One of the questions on the application stood out so vividly among the others.
“Do you have difficulty leaving one task unfinished to begin work on a new task?”
“Why, yes!” I thought. “Yes, I do. Is that bad?”
I had never thought about it before then, and maybe that’s why I didn’t get the job at JCPenny’s. But regardless, that has always been a personal pet peeve of mine. It nearly, physically hurts me to stop on a project that’s halfway done. I cannot stand to leave a closet halfway clean, if my original goal was to clean it out. It might stay a mess for a few months, but once I set my mind to get it straight, I will work half of the night until it’s all the way done. Once I set out to get the house completely clean, I have a lot of difficulty telling myself to quit when the job is half-done. It. hurts. Me. Man.
As a person who likes to make lists, and check each item off once it’s complete, I cannot stand a half finished task hovering over my head taunting me and reminding me that I quit before the job was done. Because of this personality trait, if you know me, you also know that I’m typically in the habit of setting nearly impossible goals for myself. I really believe I can conquer the world, (after a good night of sleep). I really believe I can get five children ready for church and leave by 7:30 AM for band practice, while also leaving the house straight…then I’m truly puzzled and confused when we’re filing out of the house at 8:00 AM for 8:30AM practice, the house in complete disarray.
God is teaching me something in all of this. See, for once in my life, I cannot cram for the test the night before the exam. In High School, that was easy for me. In college, I flunked Music Theory with flying colors (Is that possible?). It’s always seemed okay with me, since having a family, to check off the chores and the list of to-dos, before diving into the connecting.
The problem is, for the first time in my life that list isn’t so easily checked off.
Look y’all, my kitchen cabinets and drawers are a conglomerate of interesting items these days. Blocks, pots, scissors, glue; you might find a shoe in there, who knows? I can just reach around in there and see what I pull out; perhaps a fun game for the bored in the house. I’ve got boxes of supplies for my shop under random beds, in closets, and in a file cabinet. I’ve got new floaties and rafts stacked on top of dvds in a tv cabinet. And my van? Let’s not go there. This is not me, y’all. I have a few piles of sorted clothing in my bedroom floor from two days ago, and while it gets on my nerves, it’s not getting on them enough for me to forfeit the one truth that is ringing in my heart.
You see, there’s a reason why I’ve let go of a few of these things. It’s something God whispered to my heart a few months back.
“Calley, if you keep making these petty tasks in your life the first and most important, you will look back and see that you were sowing into nothingness while the treasures I had for you passed you by. Change your focus, and see what huge harvest will come from the priority of connecting with your husband and children, FIRST. Watch me take care of the rest.”
Who really cares if my floors are clean enough to eat off of, if I am losing my kids along the way? Who really cares if the drawers are organized if I stay angry and grouchy to keep them that way? God sure doesn’t.
No, I’m not letting my life turn into a junk yard. Please hear me out. But I’m accepting a more “lived-in” pallet for my day in and day out calling as a wife and a mama. The laundry never gets completely caught up. It can’t. We go through at least two loads of clothes and towels a day, and I can stay up until midnight doing laundry each night, or I can accept that there will always be an ever rotating pile passing through that basket. There will always be a few toys scattered across the floor. There will always be something to do in a big, old house. I was not born to serve a house, but those I love.
Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.
I’m not sure about you, but I want an abundant harvest far more than a clean stable. I won’t forfeit the treasures I’ve been given for the QUICKLY fleeting satisfaction of having everything in it’s place. I want my husband to know I put him before me. I want him to know that I love him beyond any task, and I want him to feel that by the way I spend my time. I want my children to know there’s nothing I love more than to sit, engaged with them in conversation and play. That no technological device, no chore list, and no outing trump that desire. I want to see God’s love made alive in them, and they’ll never see that unless I’m living with it alive in me. And that’s what love is, y’all…YOU before me. This is the life of bringing in a harvest, not maintaining a spotless crib.
So if you happen to stop by my house- you’ve been warned! 🙂 I must add, though: if you know a personal organizer who’s looking to gain experience on the field for free, I’m totally game. 😉