My position as MOM has been dramatically challenged by the position of GATEKEEPER OF STUFF.
“Mom! Have you seen my book?”
“Mom, I can’t find my uniform?”
“The teacher said I didn’t turn in the permission slip.”
“Mom! I am out of socks.” (shampoo, bread, peanut butter….)
There is an overwhelming amount of stuff coming into our home EVERY SINGLE DAY and all of the stuff just adds chaos to my life. I want to enjoy things and I want to feel peaceful but I'm so stressed out by all the things I need to take care of and put away that I am unable to rest. I understand it's important to empower the kids to help, but if I don't know where it all goes, how can they help me put it away??
The best visual I can give you is for you to imagine you've spent a few hours cleaning your house. You sit down to relax. Out of the blue, you get a phone call from someone you love and respect and you walk out of the room to talk somewhere privately. After talking for a bit, your friend says they'll be over in 30 minutes for a quick cup of coffee. You squeal with delight and hang up the phone. You look around your house that was clean an hour ago, your jaw drops, and then you call the family to action. For the next 30 minutes, you shout orders for things to get tucked away and hidden, only to be re-discovered after your company leaves.
Can I be the only one that feels this way?
I read an article this week in the Boston Globe that confirmed I am not only one in this struggle. The American family is facing a clutter crisis and that crisis is resulting in chaos. Our homes, our spaces, our garages, and our vehicles are full of stuff. Stuff we feel is important. Stuff we feel we need. Stuff our kids beg us for but rarely use. I have lost my space. I have lost my quiet moments of peace. Instead, I have replaced my space for stuff.
If you came into my home today, you would probably disagree with my assessment of our home. My space is clean and organized. (At least the part I let you see!) Most of this battle starts in the space between my ears. My mind sees clutter and stuff and I am unable to rest or settle until it is put away. This cycle of busyness prevents me from engaging in things that matter. Yes, it is good to be organized, but not at the expense of doing things that God purposes for me in my day.
How can I write with dishes in the sink?
Don’t laugh! I am serious.
How can I meet with someone and engage with them, if all I can see are the toys strewn all over my floor?
This is my battle with stuff. It steals my peace. It steals my joy. The stuff isn’t evil…the overabundance of it is.
Yesterday, God spoke to me about my battle with chaos. I have started to get angry and resent the things in my life. I could clean and sort all day, only to have the world cluttered again when the family returns. I won't even mention how I feel at the end of a long weekend. My priorities in the battle started to shift and in my mother’s heart…I have been frustrated to what I have been reduced to in order to keep my own sanity.
GATEKEEPER OF STUFF, YELLER ABOUT STUFF, DECIDER OF HOW ONE USES STUFF, WHO USES STUFF WHEN, ORGANIZER OF STUFF, SORTER OF STUFF, HIDER OF STUFF
In a message I watched yesterday, Pastor Chris Hodges said in every pagan culture, there is disorder and chaos. As I was listening to this message, I started thinking about the article I read earlier that morning about clutter and how it related to the stress levels of the American family. Possessions are preventing us from enjoying our lives. It all clicked for me. Chaos comes into my home through an overabundance of stuff.
The enemy of my soul is so sneaky! My commitment to Jesus is firm. My relationships with my husband, my children, and my friends are healthy and strong, but there are times I feel an anxiousness. I struggled with this feeling all summer. I couldn’t put my finger on why it was difficult for me to relax when my kids were home when I love them being here. I felt the chaos creeping up on me and it steals from me.
Often I feel the need to purge the house, the garage, the closets. I have been known to tell my husband, "I don't care, just throw it out!" There have been times I have tossed everything, only later to find out I threw out something valuable. My husband is a very gracious man.
I am a minimalist living in an abundance of possessions. I have to clean before I read my Bible. I have to pick up before I can eat breakfast. I have to put away clothes before I can take a shower.
I have been tasked with managing our family’s chaos…and I resent it because I wasn’t designed to manage chaos, I was designed to live in peace.
*This is where you take a deep breath and realize that you are not losing your mind. You love your kids and your family…you just were not designed to be the Gatekeeper of Stuff.
After I had my "Come to Jesus Moment," I got up with renewed vision and hope for sorting through the stuff; where it needed to go and who it needed to be donated to.
Today is a new day. I have paper piles to organize, mail to toss, and toys to sort. I know if I am faithful to clear my space and create an atmosphere of peace, my entire family will benefit. For me, it is a renewed peace that comes after God directs my steps and gives me wisdom to clearly see how to give him more creative space in my home and in my heart.
Next time chaos comes calling...I'm sending it packing.
Living Completely Undone
I am a girl passionately in love with Jesus, my husband, and my children. I am forever learning how to live a life completely undone for my God. This blog is about my journey and a few funny stories in between.