Wednesday, January 11, 2012

You Know It's Bad When...

...your bags are so full, they begin to multiply. 
A few months ago I completed a What's in Your Bag? blog post.   That post is only a faint glimmer of the true, sloppy, hoarding, unorganized mess that is me.  I've never liked this part of the person that I am, and I have always had the desire to change, but somehow, I never really have.  Here is proof:
1.  I daily lose something inside my purse. 
2.  I regularly think about cleaning it out. 
3.  I rarely do.
This time I don't have pictures to prove it, but I need it on the record about what I was doing last night that was more important than blogging. 
The story starts with Monday night.  I was  getting ready for bed when Jason  asked me where a set of keys were.  That simple question resulted in a frantic search through all of my work bags, coats, and the office.  They were, of course, right where I had left them (that's not always the case...).  Which is where I had said to look, but Jason looked and said he didn't see them.  They were to the left and under a paper.... 
But in the meantime, before that discovery, I was looking everywhere else and being reminded at every turn how truly chaotic the house is right now.  I am up to 4 (F-O-U-R) work bags now, plus my purse.  Not because I need it all, but because they are growing.  I keep acquiring different things.  When they don't all fit, I take a new bag.  I realize that there is a ridiculously simple solution to all this silliness.  But that's how insanity is.  I keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result.  Hmmmm...
Then Jason had the nerve (while I am flailing around the house groping coats and shuffling through papers and fighting back tears of frustration) to ask me why I had four work bags.  I love that man.
So, I finally huffed to the desk, moved a paper and handed him the envelope with the key.  Inwardly fuming and frustrated.  Not necessarily with him.  Mostly with myself.  Okay, maybe some with him.
Then we went to bed.
But I had to get up and fight back tears (okay a few slipped out) because I wasn't quite ready to laugh it all off yet.  This sounds ridiculously dramatic.  But it's sad and true. It was more than the bags... pick a household chore or spot, you name it, it's messy, disorganized and I am behind on it.  And Jason helps.  He really does.  So, it's not like I'm all alone here.  But, at that moment, while I was being a big baby, that's how I was starting to feel.  Alone, overwhelmed, frustrated, worthless. 
Here is where my new practice working towards unencumbered perspective came in. (If it wouldn't have been nighttime, the sun would have peeked through the clouds, and a tiny choir might have sang)  I was drinking water and sniffing and doing that silly hand waving, deep breathing thing that girls do when they are trying to quit crying about something totally not worth crying about, and I started prayer and the pep talk. 
I am a busy, busy mom, and we lead a busy life.  That is our choice.  We are choosing to hang out with the kids and watch TV and do other things when we aren't at work or driving somewhere that are more important to us than constantly cleaning and straightening and organizing.  For example, I can't even tell you how many pounds of junk paper come into our house each week.  It's absolutely assinine.  Maybe that's not the best use of the word, but it sounds like how I feel about all those papers. 
My inward pep talk to myself and prayers helped.  And then I was able to remember and think about how my tears were worth way more than those papers and not being able to find that key right away.  The avalanche of frustration that one question had started would take more than my crying and angrily cleaning a corner of the house to move.  Noone moves an avalanche of snow all at once.  It's one shovel at a time.  One path at a time.  What I needed then was to let it go, stop crying, and get sleep.  It would all be waiting for me in the morning.   And the next day.  And the next.  And I knew even then, looking out the kitchen window and slowly drinking water, that I wouldn't be able to make a dent until the next, next day.  What was the point of letting it deprive me of sleep now?

Since Monday night, I have gotten some shoveling done.  All the newly canned foods are put away, and I went through a pile of junk mail.  I also stayed up (after we got home from Rangers and I got the kids off to bed) and cleaned out all four of my work bags and  my purse.  (You think the purse from November looked crazy.  You should have seen January's.  And the funny thing is, I have cleaned it out since that last blog post!) 
Because I chose to do a little cleaning and organizing last night instead of blog, I am now down to one work bag and a bag of bags.  They are the reusable grocery kind too. Maybe I will start remembering to take those to the store and be green and use them! 
The reason that I didn't do more last night, was because we were at the church until 7:30, which is normal for every Tuesday night. The blessing from last night, was that I helped out my husband by leading his Royal Ranger kids.  I got to start them on their Esther Bible merit!  Maybe I will write about that tomorrow.  If you've never read the book of Esther, you should.  It is one of my favorites.  Cleaning and organizing my house doesn't give me goosebumps (the good, exciting, God-is-moving kind).  But taking time out to tell kids about what God can do in their lives does.  If I had to choose between a more organized life and doing my part as a member of the body of Christ, I would have to choose being a phalange.  Or arm. Or whatever part I am. 
Am I still annoyed that I don't have a perfect house?  Yes.  I will probably always struggle with that a little bit.  But hopefully, I will be able to move past letting it control my emotions and steal my tears.  And hopefully I will continue to be able to keep everything I do (and don't do) in perspective.  And maybe, this year, I will clean my bags out a little more often. 
As my schedule permits... of course.


  1. Changing is so hard - I'm trying to change a few things about myself, so I know how hard it can be! But thank goodness there is always hope!!!

  2. @ Judy - I hope you read my finished version of this post. I emailed half of the post from my phone to my blog (which automatically posts it) and then finished the rest on my laptop, so I don't know what mess was floating in cyberspace while I was doing that. There is always hope!! Thank you for the encouragement! :)

  3. This post makes me happy in so many different ways. I understand the avalanche, I understand spending time on more important things than organizing, and I really understand the overwhelming guilt that creeps up. I am so excited that you used your "unencumbered perspective" to get it all back in its proper place. And I love the book of Esther. It's one of my favorites!

    1. Thank you! I felt as "cool as a cucumber" sticking to my word for the year and getting some perspective back. And it is nice to hear that other people understand! I like getting older and realizing more and more than none of us really have it all together. I've just decided to be as transparent as possible about what a mess I am. And no one seems to be repelled yet. That's the most amazing part.

  4. I have a very serious bag issue as well. I lug around a bag full of books, notebooks, etc wherever I go and it recently overflowed into bag number two, which it has done in the past as well. When some of the guys at work see me coming with a tote bag on each shoulder, they ask me if there's really any way I can even use all that stuff in one night--and the answer is probably not. At this point, I think of the bag(s) and its contents as my "transitional object"--I use it for comfort and security the same way a toddler uses a favorite blankie or pacifier or whatever. You're only young once but you can be immature forever.

    Try not to be too hard on yourself--it sounds like you have your priorities and focus in just the right order. :)