Saturday, January 29, 2011

Putting One's House "In Order"

As surely as the Chickadee on the suet, it arrives each January - a faint uneasiness, a stirring, an urge to “get my house in order”. Perhaps it is the past 3 months of preparing for and celebrating the fall and winter holidays, with their associated rituals, decorations, foods and clutter. Maybe it is the nearly imperceptible lengthening of the days working towards the distant spring. Or, it may simply be the beginning of a brand new year. Whatever, I feel driven to action.

And not just any action. I feel the need to clean up, clear out and reorganize. This is the time of year when closets and back shelves get tackled, their stuffy, hidden contents aired out, thrown out or stashed in bags for a future rummage sale. Some years there has been redecorating - painting, wallpapering, tiling, or at least a plan begun for such future projects. Other years, new hobbies have been started or old ones readdressed. I feel the need to unload, shake off some hidden baggage and begin anew

This cleansing is not only physical, but also mental. Each year, I mull over where I am in life and where I’d like to be next year at this time. How are my attitudes and moods? What shape is my body in? Am I using my skills and talents in positive ways? Are my priorities really what I claim they are? Am I making any progress, if only baby steps, toward the goals I set last year? What are my goals for this next year?

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, because the word “resolve” and I don’t particularly get along. But I did learn a long time ago that you can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you are now and where you want to go. I plot a course and every so often take a personal compass reading to see if I’m on the right track. Many times in my life, I’ve wandered pretty far afield from my stated goals, and have had to regroup and find my way back. I’ve visited some interesting new territory along the way! Sometimes, I’ve discovered that I actually like where I’ve landed, and simple change my course and direction to a new goal. I try not to be too hard on myself, just as long as I’m moving and making some progress. Life itself is the journey.

And what is to be gained from this reorganization, this re-charting of the course? It is said that most people never achieve their full potential, nor become all that they can be, nor do all that they are capable of. I’m no exception, but I can continue to try. I have not yet fully developed my talents, honed my skills, nor shored up my self confidence. I have not yet smiled enough smiles, said enough kind words, nor offered enough help to others. I have not yet shared nor given enough of myself and my belongings. I have not yet encouraged enough, trusted enough, nor forgiven enough...

So, once again, I’m putting my house in order. I’ll do what I can as long as I can and trust in the One who’s in charge to guide me. I’m not there yet, but I can always hope.

... But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:24-25, 15:13

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