While working on our inner selves, we’ve also been doing some work on our environment and practical lives too. John has been reading Dave Ramsey and I have been reading “It’s All Too Much” by Peter Walsh which is about purging and organizing your house. We’ve felt such a call to get our literal and figurative houses in order for the past few months. With the collapse of my table, the constant financial strain and just the feeling that God really wanted to call us to something deeper, we’ve been working hard at Getting It Together.
We began with working on our spiritual lives; more prayer, more tithing, more Word, more seeking, more worship, more laying down of self, more surrender. We’ve been diligent. Rebuilding the table of our family and our ministry. Focus on our ministry here in our own home…that’s the ministry that God is refining and building up. We have Good Works to do here.
It seemed odd to me that God wanted us to pause from that and start work on organization.
Because, essentially, that’s what both of these books are about. Peter Walsh is teaching us how to make our home efficient and organized. Dave Ramsey is teaching us to keep our money efficient and organized.
I said to God, “Why are you having me focus on this when I need to be working on my heart, on my spirit, on my soul?”
For a time, there was no answer…just the gentle prod to pursue both. Straighten out your money and straighten out your house. This is what you need to do, Daughter.
Get your house in order.
We put a lot of the Dave Ramsey stuff in place two weeks ago and we are really, really seeing a difference. I recommend this book to anyone who, like us, feels like managing their finances is like trying to fit a double bed sheet on a king sized bed.
Yesterday, we began the household purge- getting rid of anything that was broken, hadn’t been used in six months or didn’t have a place. It was harder than I expected. Letting go of things that were perfectly nice or perfectly useful or that we might need sometime. We got through the den, the dining room and half of the kitchen. And the movies. The movies took forever.
We will be back at it this morning as soon as I’m done writing the words for the day.
But I needed to say…letting go of those things, putting my house in order…it was a little bit painful. And I was reminded of letting go of Hope Community Church and letting go of some Big Dreams I had and letting go of some baggage from my past.
As I purged the wine glasses, God was working in my heart. It seemed that with every glass or coffee cup or movie I put in the giveaway box, my bonds were loosening.
I didn’t put it together until this morning when I was drinking my coffee and thinking of the heap of things we’re not keeping. Two big boxes and two big bags of surrender. I feel free looking at those boxes and bags this morning. I feel like things are changing. I feel the metamorphosis. We are getting our house in order.
Our outsides now reflect the work that’s happening on our insides. We are clearing out junk, stuff we don’t need, things we’ve leaned on in the past. We’re learning to prioritize and make Grown Up Decisions and let go of things that just didn’t happen.
It’s the espresso machine. We received this lovely, expensive espresso machine as a wedding gift. We have never, ever, not even once used it. And that was more than two years ago. We have these cute little cups and saucers for serving espresso, we have coffee beans, we have the know how, even…but we’ve never used it.
Espresso is Not Going to Happen.
We’ve hung on to it, just in case. We’ve wanted to use it, but we never have. Claire takes pieces of it and hides them behind furniture and in toy boxes. It’s going to get ruined because we are hanging on to it but will never use it. The only person who ever even touches it is Claire. It’s a $100 unmet expectation and plan we’ve never followed through on. It’s taking up space in our life, where things that we do use could be. Just sitting there, reminding us our failure to make espresso.
The espresso machine goes. We’re not going to make espresso. We have to Let Go. We don’t have the sort of life where we make espresso. It doesn’t fit here. It’s a great thing, it’s in great shape, it’s aesthetically pleasing…it has all the parts it needs. But it doesn’t fit our life right now.
Craigslist ad featuring a never used espresso machine with some toddler finger prints, coming soon.
How many other things in our life are like that? How many times have we said, “We’ll tithe when money’s not so tight.” or “Once we get this taken care of, then we’ll be able to do this.” or “If only we could…” No. It’s time to live the real life that God has given us. It’s time to do the work He’s called us to. No more waiting.
Becoming financially stable, making our home a place of peace and order…it’s a reflection of the changes God is doing on our insides. Making our home easier to manage leaves more room for our ministry.
Our ministry to our six loves- Julia, Deanna, Aubrey, Chase, Lila and Claire. Our ministry to each other. Our ministry to love well. To share resources, to share hospitality.
Our home is always going to be deliciously chaotic- but in the good way. Full of loud and lively loved ones. Caroline barking and dancing with joy at the sight of her people. The constant swish of the washing machine. The smell of things cooking, coffee brewing. Plastic animals in unlikely places, shoes on the stairs and coats on the banister. Music and Veggie Tales and laughter. This is who we are.
But getting our house in order means that we will have more time and space to laugh together, sit together, eat together. There is less to worry about when our house is in order. Less financial strain, less time trying to figure out where to store All These Things. Less Stuff taking up our environment. More room for people.
This is our beautiful God, teaching me lessons in giving up an espresso machine. This is our beautiful, merciful God who is arranging and purging my heart just like I purged the china cabinet. He’s taking out what is unnecessary, what is just clutter, what is never really going to be something I use. He’s leaving what is beautiful, what is useful, what is a good gift.
This is our beautiful God, who longs for my house to be in order so that I can love well. He never lets a moment pass by that He isn’t in it; teaching, loving and being who He is.
Now, time to start purging the book room.