Thursday, December 2, 2010

Feeling Overwhelmed?

In the last few weeks, I have found myself feeling increasingly overwhelmed. You would think that I would then rattle off a long list of all the responsibilities and activities going on in my life or health or financial concerns. But that's not the case. My feelings of overwhelmedness (my own word) stem from three areas in my life that I can clearly name:

1. Too much stuff in my life and an increasing need and desire to simplify like never before.
2. A sedentary life in my mid-40's which is making me feel like I am going to turn into a frumpy looking toad if I don't do something.
3. A plateau in my spiritual life that needs to be recharged.

In the last three years we have moved twice and hauled off bags of stuff to charities and to the trash. Our kids have moved out taking most of their stuff with them. So you would think we would have less stuff. Not so. I think it multiplies like the dust under the couch.

As I walk into my closet, the clothes are spilling off the shelf and the shoes are falling off the shoe rack. Yet every single morning I find myself wondering "what will I wear to work?" Well, let's see - there are the pairs of jeans that are not going to ever fit again and by the time they do they will be so out of style they could pass for something vintage. There are the shoes on the floor that were probably in style in the 90's or are so worn out they are not worthy of being worn any longer. Not too mention the umpteen other pieces that I'm never going to wear again. Stuff!

I am a pile-prone woman by nature. So if left to myself, I will die in the middle of random piles of stuff in my house. I don't like it. I like a clean, well-kept house. But when you have too much stuff - you get piles. And as the piles continue to steal the space in my house, it also steals my contentment and I feel overwhelmed.

So I am currently a woman on a mission. A mission to get rid of stuff and to do it with intentionality. As I cleaned house tonight, I made sure to take the extra 10 minutes or so and actually go through two piles of stuff in our bedroom and either throw it out or find a new place for it. I opened a drawer to put some cds away only to discover a brand-new 2009 calendar. The calendar and most everything else in the stack went into the trash.

My goal over the next 30 days (yes, right in the middle of the Christmas season) is to go through every drawer and cupboard in my house and get rid of anything that needs to go. If it isn't being used, isn't necessary or will never be used - it needs to go somewhere else.

You know those bottles of lotion under the bathroom sink - the ones that have just enough in them to keep, but not enough to really make you use it? Yep - I have a little collection right there beside the face cream. So I am going to start using it up before I open a new bottle. I may smell like a mixed-fruit basket by Christmas, but at least there will be less clutter.

Tonight I lit all the candles in the house. No - they do not all have different strong scents. Some are just pretty. I like candles. I like the smells. I like the way they make my home feel, especially in the winter. Sadly, I have spent most winters not using them like I want to. Instead, I put them out, pack them up for a season, get them back out and move them around the other candles in the boxes that I never burn either. Life is too short not to burn the candles. If I burn them, there is less stuff to store and more enjoyment in the use.

Life is full of stuff. It can either overwhelm us or give us pleasure. My desire is to truly simplify in every area of my life. By simplifying I will be able to focus more on my family, other people and my own relationship with God and the ministry that he has called me to.

Tomorrow I will write about #2 and the sedentary life of a wife in mid-life and the changes that need to be made to honor God in all that I do.

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