Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cleaning Mask

I realized something about myself today. I was babysitting for a family this afternoon, and one child was in her cozy crib taking a nap, and the other decided that she wanted to watch Curious George instead of playing a game with me. (Bummer. Loss of cool points from army captain night) So I did what I always do when all children are occupied and for the moment don't need me...I cleaned. What is that? Most people would probably pull up a seat and hang with the monkey, but no, I grab the dish rag and start scrubbing. At first I used to think it was just because I was a nice person (humor me) and I just wanted to help other people out with some light straightening up because I'm pretty good at it and can do it rather fast. Which is true...I do love to clean other people's houses, and I love doing extra work for families I'm with if there is down time. But today I started sort of thinking about my weeks and weekends and what I do at home and I started realizing a pattern.

I think about a lot of things in my car when I'm on the way home from work. I pray random thoughts, or for people in my life that come to mind...and a lot of times I end up realizing some area(s...there is usually more than one) that I need to work on or improve in my walk with the Lord, or in my study habits, or prayer life, or serving attitude, etc. So then I make a point in my mind to go straight in the house and journal about whatever I have just discovered needs some tweaking, or do a Bible study lesson, or just sit and talk to Jesus for a while. And then I walk in the house and see a million things that need to be done (dishes to wash, bed to make, floor to vacuum...and put-off my spiritual moment until things are all in order. Then normally by the time I get finished cleaning everything in site, I'm tired, so I justify my reward of relaxing (eating) and watching tv after working so hard, and say well, I'll just have that spiritual moment right before bed...then I can sleep on it. Right. And then the next morning when I wake up late because I didn't want to get out of my warm bed to give myself enough time to shower AND talk to Jesus about that thing (that I have now reminded HIM of like 3 times as if HE was going to forget)...I say well, I have to shower for work, so we'll talk right after I get home. (Go back to beginning of paragraph and repeat.)

So I'm cleaning the dishes while Curious George gets locked in the zoo after-hours, and I realize that I have a stalling mechanism that masquerades as a really great housekeeper. Whenever I have something serious to do with Jesus, I avoid it like the plague. I mean, I'm sure we all have our ways of putting off dealing with our junk...but when the free time is there, I have no excuse. I just walk around looking for things to clean so I don't have to sit still and really face what I need to fix. I do my regular devotion, and then pray as I normally do, but I always skip whatever that thing is that I need to fix.

So tomorrow. My room will be just as messy as it is now, but I'm not going to touch it until the real mess is cleaned up. I'm dealing with my junk. Honest.

There...I'm out of the closet, I've confessed, so now you can hold me to it.
What is your 'secret' stalling trick?


Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

Hi Abby! I have, sadly, been a lurker for months but I wanted to finally say hello. I LOVE this post... just something I was praying about last night! I've got a busy few days ahead of me and wanted to spend last night cleaning, packing, etc. I really felt impressed just to let it be.

So, in response to your post, AMEN. :)

I'm at www.ministrysofabulous.com by the way.

Patty said...

Girl you teach on!! It can be a number of things that keep us from dealing with the junk in our lives and maybe junk that has been there for years. I think my stalling would be through watching t.v. or sometimes it can through church activity and even Bible Study. I learned years ago that Bible study can take the place of quiet time with God. As Beth says, the captivity of activity. Thanks for the reminder!!

Kristen said...

you make me smile :) this post was just what i needed to hear! I do the same things in the morning, just busy myself with other things instead of cleaning out my "real" mess! Thank you for sharing!

love you!

Lindsee said...

Good word, girl. Good word! :)

Taylor said...


i am definitely a 'avoid-it-by-cleaning' girl...and i think you mentioned this as well, but do you ever find yourself "thinking" about praying about things rather than just praying about them?

oh that HE would continue teaching me that "I" will never been good enough, or organized enough, or cleaned up enough, or anything enough to come to Him on my own...that's why Jesus came. I come to HIM (the Father) by HIM (Jesus).

I listened to an awesome message the other day by Charles Stanley on www.intouch.org (in the audio archives)..i think it was entitled, "Abiding in Christ" or something with "Abiding." And the day before I had just been reading John 14 and 15. Coincidence? Of course not.

Also, i've been reading so much about "remaining in His love." It's our only hope. And i love how in John (14 or 15?) Jesus said that we will remain in His love by keeping His commandments...I love that His commandments are meant to free and not to bind.

Abby, seriously I did not mean to type this long, but thanks for letting me share because i needed to be reminded of it! and thank you for sharing in your post. I hope you have a great day...remain in His love.


p.s. would you mind sharing with me, if you know, how to change my "Profile Picture" on my blog? I'm new to it all, and have looked everywhere, but cant seem to find that link! The place where i inserted the picture in my profile seems to have disappeared!

Fran said...

Right there with ya....anything can distract this one....absolutely anything can keep me from dealing with my stuff.

Today, I'm gonna spend some time on some stuff.

Have a good rest of the week.
So good to see you over at my blog.
Love ya~

Leigh said...

MIne-family obligations. But I need to put my Father first. Though, he knows my needs before I ask them....I do need to STOP! and talk to him. I use my travel in the car to chat. That is the best time for me.
Abbey-you are such a wonderful motivaion. I adore your blog!

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Loved your post! Thanks for sharing. I think my biggest "stall" is calling people and getting opinions instead of just taking it to the source! If I could just do that it would spare many people time and help my relationship with Jesus! :) Thanks for making me face that and write it out! Now it is confession time!
Much love,

Taylor said...

abby! thank you, thank you!!--for the profile/picture instructions! It went so smoothly and i so appreciate you taking the time to find that information. :)

Bev Brandon said...

"So I'm cleaning the dishes while Curious George gets locked in the zoo after-hours, and I realize that I have a stalling mechanism that masquerades as a really great housekeeper." Girl---this is profound writing. I saw you e-mailed Lisa W.---well stick with her cause you just have to write! And go to Lysa T's too. You have a river of words in you that is beautiful plus the heart to go with it to deal with the "present" moment of masquerade. Your stuff! I love you to pieces Abby! My beautiful God just showed up at my Benbrook door in a FED EX envelope!!!

Pastor Lisa said...

Why is it never pretty when God shows us ourselves? LOL! Great word!

Katie said...

Hi Abby! I stumbled onto your blog a couple of weeks ago from the LPM blog and I have been reading off and on. I read this post and I just had to leave a comment. I do this very same thing girl! I don't know why except that dealing with my "stuff" always takes so much out of me. This reminded me of something I read on Beth Moore's blog, and have so far had a hard time putting into practice.

Just this afternoon I was washing dishes and some things came to my mind that I needed to work on in my relationship with Him. I started to think, "ok, don't forget to talk to God about this later", but then it hit me that I don't have to wait, I can talk to Him about it while I am doing the dishes, I mean after all, He did initiate the conversation by bringing it to my mind. It reminded me of a post Beth Moore did on her blog about praying during the most mundane daily activities (I think she was praying scripture while taking the trash out). I've heard her talk about this before, you know, the whole "making your theology meet your reality" thing. She talked about not confining Him to a few moments a day where you can get quite and have a "spiritual conversation", but inviting Him to be with you during your everyday mundane activities. That really spoke to me, I guess I had been leaving Him out without realizing it. I think that learning to do this will be part of the answer to my begging Him for a deeper relationship with Him.

Anyway, as soon as I read your post I felt compelled to tell you about what I am working on, I hope you don't mind:) sorry its long! Thank you so much for being transparent and posting about something that I know all of us struggle with. Have a great weekend!

E said...

wow that is great abby - i have been reading your blog for a while but never posted. i have come to see that i am the cleaning to put off what really needs to be done in my life spiritually or relationship wise also. thank you for all of your words shared - they have touched me. have a great evening :o)

Nikki said...

Spot on, dear!! Thanks for the great reminder!!
Hope your trip home was great! Mine was busy and slightly weird but I am back home now and heading into a crazy week!!
Hope you have a great day!

Lisa said...

Abby --
I LOVED this post so much. You are speaking some truth, girl. You know how I feel about your writing! :)

Just continue to share your heart and you will please God.


Dana said...

Hi Abby!
I found your blog through my good friend Lindsee Lou and girl I can really relate. Cleaning, eating, watching TV, ANYTHING, I mean, even pulling weeds to keep from dealing with my stuff. Although, pulling weeds is an excellent time to talk to Jesus because you can pretend the weeds are your stuff and pull em on out! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post, but just found your site thru the LPM blog....I too was moved to heartache over the recent death of Eve Carson @ UNC. So I checked out your blog...love the music you have on, esp. Brooke Fraser...
Back to this post...I clean too to avoid my real dealin time with the Lord...
A kindred spirit I can tell...thanks for sharing your heart!
Angela in NC

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