I am more determined than ever to “get it written.” That is, get my manuscript written.
I really feel like I need to get it done in 9 months.
A friend emailed me last night and said, “9months is totally doable to get your 1st draft written, then 3months for edits.”
Except for one hiccup. One thing I had forgotten from not so long ago.
When my only sister died back in 2011, my nephew requested my help in cleaning out her condo. That was tough, for a number of reasons I will write about in the book. But the biggest WORD lesson I took with me from that trip was what I would call, “Clutter Paralysis.”
When I arrived on scene at her condo near Vancouver, WA, there was so much disarray, my mind began to spin.
My nephew had created “pathways” for walk through.
Without going down too many rabbit holes, the scene was likely something straight out of the TV show called “hoarders.” And he had already thrown out dozens of bags of trash. It was when he took me upstairs, to what would have been considered a guest room, that he said:
“This is where I need you, or where I think you need to be. There is a lot of family history stuff in here you probably would know more about…since she didn’t share much of it with me. I’ve looked through some of it, but this is beyond me.”
I could see why. And all I could do was nod.
I was ready to weep, but just stared at the mess for a couple of minutes.
My sister had inherited much of our parents furniture when they died decades ago. She still had all of it (OK, most of it).
In addition to what she’d inherited, she had collected stuff since then, too. Tons of stuff. She’d collected some of the same kinds of stuff I had thought about buying over the years. Stuff I had kept myself from buying – because I wasn’t sure I would use it.
Yet, there I was, staring at it. My heart, literally and physically, ACHED.
I am not going into additional detail. I am not following that specific trail any further. God will use that experience to help me fully heal when I write and complete my manuscript.
I only mention that specific fragment of time because God needed me to see it and it’s important to share here. He needed me to see what I had been missing up until that point.
“Don’t invest in things, in this world.”
He needed me to see what it looks like from His point of view, looking in.
“I want you to see what I see. Don’t hold so tightly onto this world, that you lose your grip, your focus, on me.”
My Sister is the 2nd person I’ve known who fell prey to this human longing. Who got caught up in “acquiring.” What she lacked in her personal relationships, she attempted to make up for in store-bought, man-made, materialism.
Most of the things she acquired had gone un-touched and were now left behind: un-opened, unused. Cluttering up a room, taking up space.
Even if they’d been bought for a reason, with good intentions.
Here is the beginning of the irony. My sister died in 2011. My mother-in-law died in 2012. Both died unexpectedly, without warning (Like a thief in the night: 1 Thessalonians 5:2) Almost exactly one year apart.
I received from their estates what was leftover (which was very bittersweet). So imagine, me…with a household and family of her own; Inheriting furniture and stuff from two other women and their households within a year of each other. Two women who had clung tightly to their material possessions.
By the time the moving truck left (yes, a moving truck), my house was a disaster. For a long while. Until God reminded me to:
“Think outside the box.”
It had taken 6 months for the initial shock to work through the reality back then. Our household was at an impasse of what to do with all the furniture we had. No one was willing to “cave” on what to get rid of.
By the end of the first year I decided to try and make use of everything or place it in a way that allowed full use of the house.
I tackled the master, front room and dining room in a day. The family room the next day. That accomplished the downstairs.
I didn’t have a clue what to do with the upstairs (that I hadn’t already done). Home decorating and organizing isn’t my, “thing.”
That was a year ago; But, I had to, we had FAMILY coming to stay with us short-term.
I’d switched room usage and configurations around. What the former owners called the “Movie room” became my sewing/embroidery and writing room. The bonus room was big and roomy enough to accommodate the TV and seating; which had been cramped in sewing room. Now, of course, my sewing room is a disaster! 😦
The bonus room has always bugged me. I’m not an organizer by nature. If the Spirit didn’t push me to move, it wasn’t goin’ to happ’n!
That is, until yesterday when I re-opened my Scrivener trial to write my opening scene of Manuscript Part I — and then God said:
“Yes, I want you to write. But you made yourself a promise a long time ago. You need to work on that right now. Don’t attempt to write until you do. And another thing…be cautious of the promises you make. To yourself, Me or anyone else” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7)
I instinctively stood up from my desk and walked into the bonus room. I quietly thought to myself: “Ugh! No!” And then whamo, where I was smacked me right in the face: “Clutter Paralysis.” I had become caught up in the same wretched emotional roller coaster as my sister! I was drowning in clutter and playing the avoidance game. Clinging to this life I wasn’t letting God BE God….
I let out a *Deep Sigh* and realized, Your Will be done, Lord.
We went to WORK
In the far corner was the card table and on it:
- the table top tree
- my serger
- and other “stuff.”
Under the table:
- “Tech” stuff
- a Christmas storage box
- and shipping paper.
I knew this section was my Achilles heel. If I tackled this, the rest, “in theory,” would fall into place.
For a moment my mind traveled down a rabbit hole and I wondered: How did I get myself into this?!
Enough, keep moving, Don’t stop to ponder! Onward and Upward….
The Tech box went into my recently cleaned out sewing closet.
The Christmas box and shipping paper under a bed, at least, until I needed it this Fall.
My serger stayed on the table and the whole thing shifted to (get this) a DiFFERent – out of the way – corner! (ha!) and I saved the tree for a special “showcase” spot.
I shifted the entire room around by 90*. The mini-couch replaced the card table and I removed two moving boxes from MIL’s house to the attic (that were virtually empty anyway) and then shifted everything else a foot.
I should have taken a before picture, but at least I’ll post a photo of my favorite spot in the room. It looks really nice now. Even my youngest kiddo told Dad last night: “Dad, you have to see the bonus/movie room! It looks beautiful!” Such simple words and keen observations that made my heart sing!
The only room yet to be conquered is the sewing room (I have little space for organizing, fabric everywhere and no cupboards or containers! *Ick*)
I have re-worked the front room…twice. It is as good as it gets, for now. I don’t have large enough muscles or man power to move large furniture! 🙂
An Impetus to Purge
I titled this post The Transitional Purge because as we enter the month of March we near the transition of 1st and 2nd quarter.
First quarter is Winter. Winter is a period of “hunkering down,” digging in and a time of introspection. Little by Little, God is guiding me to accomplish in my life what my Sister wasn’t able to accomplish in hers. Cleaning out, clearing up and unearthing what’s excess from what matters.
I re-purpose as much and as often as I can. But sometimes, letting go isn’t just important, it’s necessary.
I don’t want to cling to things.
The only the I want to cling to is the Love of Christ.
The love of Christ isn’t loud or boastful; it’s more like the silences of winter where we find our voice – in it’s quiet stillness.
The peace of Christ is akin to watching the snow fall from the Heaven’s to the Earth. If we don’t just watch it, IF we step out and listen, we can HEAR the calm and stillness standing under those magnificent falling flakes.
I never realized that when we moved from the West Coast to OK, that the Lord was taking me out to the desert. I knew no one out here when we moved. Not a soul. But that was part of His plan. I knew NE OK was on His agenda but He knew what was on His agenda for my life. Better his plans than my own.
Everything that’s happened was purposeful. Intended to draw me closer to him. He needed me to loosen my grip on what I THOUGHT I needed and allow him to help me open my hands to the receive the true blessings he would bring my way.
The purge continues and I pray He will continue to direct my steps. They are the only ones I want to follow.
Danny Gokey is one of my favorite CCM artists. Please listen and consider the lyrics; they pack a powerful message!
Please say this Prayer WITH Me:
Given that I am human and living in the midst of a fallen world; help me. Let me see you in everything. Help me to cling less to this world and the things in it and loosen my grasp of possessions.
HELP Me to seek you in all things, each day, every season. You prove again and again that when I search for answers from you, you will provide. Help us all to be confident enough, bold enough and brave enough to LOOK to YOU and no where else for the answers that matter. Help us be “Bet the Farm” risk takers and pray bold prayers. We can be world changers as long as we have you directing our footsteps.
I ask that you direct me on that ever narrowing path. Lead us, Strengthen us, Protect us and cover us with your tender mercies. Fill us with your Spirit and show us how to Shine our Light on a world that is in need of you.
In Jesus Name – We Pray, Amen.
Have a Blessed Wednesday,
And Keep looking UP!