Thanks, you guys, for your comments on my last post and for the emails some of you sent to me. I’ve learned that I’m not the only one who struggles with brokenness, busyness, boundaries and another “B” word that I couldn’t remember until my sweet friend Gretchen reminded me, “balance.” Yeah, that’s what I’m needing! Some balance! Thanks, Gladitude Gretchen who keeps me Grounded. (I don’t know what the deal is with all the alliteration lately. Just ride it out, if you can. It shouldn’t last much longer.)
We spent most of Memorial Day in the garage. You’re jealous, I know. Every move I try to take less stuff with us than we brought or at the very least, the same amount. That means I have to sort and toss and give away and reorganize. I tend to start with great energy and enthusiasm with very decisive movements. I was telling Gretchen that apparently halfway through the process, my body releases some sort of paralyzing chemical that makes me incapable of making simple decisions about random pieces of junk. At the beginning of the day, I have to exercise great restraint not to throw away our birth certificates. (How often do we actually need those things anyway?) By lunchtime, I’m having second thoughts about that smocked outfit that I put in the giveaway pile. (Shouldn’t I at least try to consign it somewhere? Or should I try to save it for my children’s children to wear?) By early afternoon, I’m in tears over whether I should keep a smiley face that one of the Littles drew on a used Applebee’s napkin. (I’m pretty sure it might have been the first face that one of them drew. When they become famous I’ll wish I had that napkin for their museum exhibits.) By late afternoon, I’m walking around random piles I’ve created, high on Sharpie fumes, trying to remember who I am and how I ended up in this garage surrounded by all this garbage. So now my garage looks as upside down as the inside of my house. Oh, how I love moving!
I did find a scrap of paper today that turned out to be quite a treasure. On it I had written part of a Bible verse. I remember writing it down after Bible Study one morning. I had the most incredible privilege to lead the most amazing group of ladies in Bible study when we lived in Louisiana. I’ll have to tell you more about them later because I don’t have time right now, so remind me. My friend Kim had shared this verse with us and I just had to write it down because it really made me stop to think. Today when I found it, it made me stop and think again. It fits in perfectly with where I am in my walk right now. I looked it up in several different translations/paraphrases and I liked what it said in all of them!
The verse is Psalm 101:2b:
“I will walk in my house with blameless heart.” (NIV)
“I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.” (NASB)
“I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.” (NKJV)
“I’m doing the very best I can, and I’m doing it at home, where it counts.” (The Message)
That’s what I want. That’s what I’m working toward in my life. I especially love the way The Message interprets this verse. It doesn’t matter how I live my life where the world sees me if I’m not living it with excellence in my own home. If you’re a frustrated perfectionist like me, that “perfect” word that the NKJV uses could throw you for a loop. Fear not (she said biblically)! The word for perfect means “whole and complete.” Like just about everything else in this life, it’s a process. A daily decision, if you will. Today I choose to walk with integrity in my home. Today I choose to do my very best here with my family, where it counts.
My dad has been a Southern Baptist minister for over forty years. One of my favorite things about him is that he is the same man at home that he is standing at the podium on Sunday mornings. He doesn’t lead us in hymns or praise choruses at the breakfast table, but other than that, he’s the same man on Tuesday afternoon as he is on Sunday morning. He walks with integrity in his home. I think that’s one of the reasons why he’s had close to 42,000 entries in his CaringBridge guestbook. People love and respect him. They know he’s the real deal.
So what does it look like when I walk in integrity in my own home? For one thing, I think it means that I don’t use a tone of voice in my house that I wouldn’t use if company were here. I try to ask myself how I would feel if another adult spoke to my child the way I am speaking to him/her. If I wouldn’t allow anyone else to talk to my child that way, why is it okay for me to speak to my child that way? The same is true about the way I speak to my husband. I want my words to encourage him, not wound him.
Another way I can walk with integrity at home is to make the best use of my time. Since my last post, several of us have talked about how we sometimes treat the computer as if it were our favorite child. I was glad to know I’m not alone, but having company in my faults doesn’t excuse me from them. I’m embarrassed that I’ve lost count of the times my children had to take a back seat to Mom’s computer time. A friend of mine was telling me that her kids have asked her to do something for them when she’s finished “working.”Working? I’m not working, I’m socializing…or looking at decorating/homeschool stuff,” she said to me. I knew all too well what she was saying. I need to remember that this blog and my emails are not my job. They’re a fun distraction, but they’re dangerous if they distract me from what’s most important in my life: my faith, my family, and my friends.
I’m realizing that I need a plan. I’m not a “schedule every minute” kind of girl. I literally threw the book Babywise across the room after I read it because I knew it would never work for my temperament. I need some flexibility. That said, I also need stronger boundaries so that my computer time doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. I’m curious as to how you all have settled this in your own lives. I know that some of you have regular unplugged days. Do you have other ways to keep yourself from spending too much time in front of the computer? I’d love to hear your ideas.
I have a few more ideas about how to walk with integrity within my house, but I need to make best use of the rest of my time that I’ve allowed myself for the computer this morning. That means I have to go now. I’d love to know what you first thought about when you read Psalm 101:2b. How do you best “walk the walk” in your home? I’d like to come back to this idea and add some more ideas and I’d love to know some of your suggestions.
So you have two assignments: How you keep yourself from sitting in front of the computer today and how you walk with integrity in your home. Now stop reading, start thinking and typing! I’ll be back later to check your work. I have to go see if I’ve left a Little somewhere in the garage piles.