At The Cottage Background

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cleaning Up

This morning was a little crazy.
Not as crazy as most mornings go.
The first day of school usually isn't.
I had prepared well. The cloths were set out, the lunches started, and breakfast made the night before.
But it was a change from what has been our usual the past few months.
Late nights, late mornings.
Lounging and doing "whatever" or going where the wind blows us.
Today started with structure and purpose.
There was meaning to the day, and what we had to do today was already set for us.

This isn't a "bad" thing.
It is actually really good.
I look forward to new school years as that goes.... but I do love our summers.
But, as my husband has said before....."We can't stay in summer forever."

Wouldn't it be nice?
To be on vacation perpetually?
I know that this isn't practical.
We tend to get lazy on vacation.
I let myself relax. Kick back. Try to take it all in.
I get complacent.
If the house work doesn't get done right on Saturday... well.... oh well.
And if I didn't get to the store... we can just eat cereal for dinner... or better yet... just have ice cream!
I mean.... because, why not? It's summer.
Warm days and cool nights. Nowhere we have to be in the morning.
It's wonderful and so nice to just "be".

But I noticed a few things this last summer.....
We came off a particularly rough year. Actually "rough" is being nice.
It was tough and hard.... and I was so ready to do nothing.
And I did.
A whole lot of nothing.
I mean we did do some things.
Like visiting family and doing beach days.
We celebrated birthdays and laughed until our sides hurt.
But, and I am going to be really honest here, we watched way more T.V. than I normally like to do. I let my son play way more video games than I think I ever have his whole life.
We laid around so much that I got very very comfortable doing it.
"I need this break." , I told myself.
"I deserve this. I deserve to do nothing."

Of course, I know that this is a dangerous wave length to stay on for too long.
I mean, rest is good.... vacation even better. But laziness, not so good, And complacency.... not good at all.
Because I started to notice that I had begun to let the "do nothings" leak into other areas of my life.

"Hmmm.... I didn't get to my quiet time today. Oh well. God knows I love Him."
"Attitude? What attitude? I'm tired. Leave me alone."
"What do you mean I'm not being nice? I am always nice. I am allowed to be not nice once in a while."

Do you get my drift?
I hope so. Because I really don't want to lay out any more of this dirty laundry.
I know that He was still speaking to me in the midst of it.
I heard Him.
I just gave myself excuses for why I didn't need to listen right then.
I knew I would eventually.
I had to.
But when he re-spoke a word to me a few days ago.... I couldn't not listen anymore.
It was like suddenly realizing that I had been sleeping in dirty cloths.... and then taking a look around and seeing that there was a lot of dirty all around me.
How does that happen?
How does someone like me get to be someone that I only sort of recognize?
Unfortunately.... very very easy.
I have been trying hastily to pick it all back up again.

As I began to "pick up" over that last few days, figuratively and literally, things began to clear.
The clutter in my head began to give way to what is usually clean and tidy underneath.
And I allowed myself to accept, and see what God has been trying to tell me during my hiatus of always doing the right thing.
Don't get me wrong. I didn't do anything bad per say..... I just didn't keep myself in check like I know I should.
When my husband came home and had a bad day and maybe wasn't as nice as I would like him to be, I let it be known. And not nicely.
We have been huge grace givers over the last year. And for some reason, I just found really good reasons to just..... not. 
I realized something..... non grace giving is catching.
Pretty soon, when I needed it, he wasn't giving it.
And so the story goes.
You would think I would have learned this by now.
No smart comments.
Care before I react.
Well..... needless to say. I still have learning to do.
I got lazy.
I relaxed and let my guard down.

It was in this moment of "Oh Father.... I know. I am so sorry. What have I been doing? And thinking for that matter?", that He has had to remind me. Again.

"I am for you."
"I don't like when you mess up...get messy... you and I both know what needs to change."
"But I love you."
"Don't let your mistakes dictate how you think I feel about you."
"You need to stay close.... so you don't go far."

I know this stuff.
I know these truths.
I've written about them over and over again.
But my potential to make mistakes..... is huge.
My ability to mess things up.... pretty bankable.
And my  tendency to react first and not allow God to speak into my frustrating moment or situation.... standard operating procedure.

So why? Why does He still love me?
Why does He not give up?
He should you know.
He and I both know that I'm pretty assured to do it again.
But He does love me.
Me and my many many flaws. 
He doesn't like those things.
He guarantees to not leave me this way if I but follow after Him.
I never stop following....
But I do sit down once in a while.
I've talked about this kind of mentality. The whole, "Awe. I know it's wrong. But God will forgive me.", kind of thinking.
Although I wasn't necessarily saying this, I did give myself excuses for allowing myself to respond fleshy at times.
And it is when I caught myself  thinking that way more often that I finally listened to His increasingly louder still small voice.

Although it may be okay to trip up once in while..... and not that I think this is okay per say, but I know that God understands it. He understands us.....
It is not okay to make it a habit.
To make every word my own.
To allow myself to respond out of hurt or frustration instead of a heart out of love.
It is easy to do. The whole mess up thing. But it is not the right thing to do.

I am so thankful for grace.
I am so thankful that God doesn't like for me to get too dirty.
That He cares enough to clue me in when the stuff starts to pile up.
He loves me too much not to.
I can't tell you what that does for me.
It makes me want to get it together.
To clean up my act.
Tell my husband I'm sorry.
Give him the grace he deserves when he has that bad day, and tell him I love him instead of adding to his own mess.
It goes on and on.
Pretty soon, things start to look better.
I start to feel better.
And although a few lazy days may be okay.... it is not where I want to live.
As a matter of fact.... I don't think it is where anyone wants to live really.
And I know for sure that it is not the place that God has intended for us to reside in.

The place He has for us is much much better.
So no more lazy for me.
I am figuratively pulling up my boot straps and cinching on my belt.
The time to clean up my room is long overdue.
My hope is to make Him smile more at me.... instead of having to get after me. 
I love nothing more than to please Him. 
.....And I like to imagine that I make my Father smile.

....until another tomorrow.


"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone." Titus 3:1-8 NIV

I also like the way the Message Bible says it.....

"It wasn't so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God's gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there's more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this." Titus 3:1-8 The Message Bible


  1. Love the post as always... And I love you more. <3 Thanks for writing today.

  2. Wow I needed to read the verse at the end. Just sent my rant to a trusted friend. I confess I have been soo lazy plus unwilling to let go of my anger and unforgiveness to boot. Thanks I always need to know that I’m not alone in this battle here on earth. It seems the fleshly ways always are soo much more fun and when the log in my eye gets so big it looks like every sin is being blessed and I’m not. Well I’m not being blessed when I’m sinning too. Ok got to get the log out and get moving thanks it.