Sunday, January 4, 2009

Inches and Seconds

I know it's completely out of character for me (ahem) but I'm going to make a confession here. Yesterday I spent the bulk of my day cleaning my room. It was a mess, and I don't mean kind of, I mean, you'd think I was still a rebellious teenager, bad. Bad enough to the point I was mortified the other night when my daughter opened the door and let her 6-year-old friend see inside. Yes, bad enough to worry what a 6-year-old would think.

Cleaning house has never been my strong suit. It may well be the result of parents I was able to divide over the issue when I was a teenager, but some 20 years later, I don't think we can hold them at fault. (As much as I might like to pass that buck along.) I do think there is some root from going from being a kid who didn't have to keep her room clean to the lady of the (same) house who was responsible for keeping the whole house clean. I never really found my niche, and 20 years, a marriage and three kids later, the job never got any easier to conquer. And deep down I have a talent of lazy disregard. It was easier (always) to walk away from the mess, leave it behind a closed door and ignore it. (I hear a whole post birthing out of that comment as I type.)

In the early years of my marriage there used to be lots of battles between Neal and I. It really used to tick him off, and the wars were great. They never accomplished much, at least not for very long, but they happened. Over the years he has mellowed. I don't think it was a happy surrender, but it was one I appreciated, because there was a definite dying to self as he let go of the fact that I'm no Donna Reed. To some degree, I might not even be a Peg Bundy... a bit more like Roseanne, perhaps.

But the mess has been pretty unbearable, and though Neal held his tongue for the sake of peace, I could feel the unrest beneath the surface. Truth be told, even I was getting my fill, but every time I would walk in the room to consider doing something about it, I'd just get overwhelmed, walk away and close the door. Yesterday I got to the task though. And shockingly, it didn't take as long as I thought. Mind you I'm still working out the laundry, a dozen plus loads that have been assembly line organized in the garage to be put back in order. I've done quite a bit and heard comments like, "Wow, I haven't seen this shirt in forever!" Yeah, yeah, it's there now.

Along with this confession comes another. There is a part of me that has the potential to be a complete Type A personality, I can be a real zealot, an out and out Nazi mom. Truthfully it's one of the reasons I don't knock myself out with perfect cleaning, because when I do and my husband or one of my precious three children come in behind me and mess things up, well, I can be known to take it a little too personally. Offended is an understatement. And the temperamental personality I try so hard to keep under wraps fights doubly hard to be recognized, and I have to fight absolute rage over the tortilla chip crumbs that accumulate under the kitchen table. It isn't pretty.

So what's a girl to do? Last night I baby-sat for my neighbors and after their daddy came home I came back to a quiet house where my husband and two of my three children had gone off to bed. My teenager was watching a movie. After I sat down and did my daily reading (trying to keep that resolution of daily time in the Word,) all I really wanted to do was head off to bed. Instead I made a choice to take those few extra moments to pick things up and put them away, to load the last couple dishes in the dishwasher, to put the "lived in" back in order.

This morning it was the "little" thing of wiping down the counter after washing my face and brushing my teeth. It was taking 5 minutes to make my bed (a task that I can fully legitimize never doing.) And yet as I stand back and look at the room, it's that one little thing, making the bed, that makes the difference between order and chaos, it's what makes it tidy.

As I was wandering through my morning, able to walk through my bedroom without worry of tripping on laundry or stepping on some forgotten toy, it was quiet as by the time I got up to get ready for church Neal and Jacob had already gone to church, and the little ones were still sleeping. It's then when I heard the Lord speak quietly. "It's in the inches and seconds that victory comes." It is there from where faithfulness is built, it's there where the character is found. It's where discipline and habits are created. And isn't the case in just things like keeping house, though it applies beautifully there. Whatever our battles or struggles may be, it's not in the overcoming of the mountain peak, it's in each step made up the incline. Whether we want to run a marathon, lose 10 pounds or 100, or grow in the Lord, it's the faithfulness in the little steps, in the inches and seconds, that will lead us to the place where we can turn around and be amazed at the journey we've made, at the feat we've accomplished.

May 2009 be a year where I can find myself faithful in the inches and seconds, so when the journey is over I can be amazed of how far I've come. May it be that kind of year for you too, in Jesus' name!

1 comment:

Brandy said...

Well I guess I get to be the first one to comment on this post. I came over here from the penny post. Such a striking parallel and such a good word. Both posts.

You have given me things to ponder that will not fade away quickly - nor do I want them to.