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Focus: Getting your house in order
1 Timothy 4:15 (NIV) Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
It’s easy to put things off during times of discouragement. When you’re depressed, the act of folding a load of laundry can look like a mountain to climb. It’s hard to approach any kind of project that requires much effort because your mind is so absorbed with other matters. When you let things go—the mess only gets bigger. As it grows, you just feel more overwhelmed…and of course you don’t see any progress.
Several years ago, there was a children’s program on public television called, ‘The Big Comfy Couch’. The main character, Loonette, was cute and clownish. The show was full of good life lessons. In most of the programs, Loonette was involved in amusing exploits that led to a segment called, ‘The Ten Second Tidy’. Throughout the program, ‘stuff’ was tossed here and there around the main room—until it was sloppy looking. At the beginning of the ‘tidy’ segment, Loonette would suddenly realize how bad things were—at which point she would exclaim, ‘Who made this big mess?’
Normally, Loonette had made the mess herself. The viewers had seen it happen—but she didn’t. With a toss of her big, black pig-tails she’d announce, ‘Time for the ten second tidy’. In fast motion, within ten seconds—Loonette would clean up the room. Watching Loonette tidy up so rapidly was entertaining. Cleaning up looked like fun, due to the technical tricks performed in post-production.
This cute show helped children see the importance of taking responsibility for the messes they make. In real life it would take a child longer than ten seconds to clean up a whole room, but actually—some things can be accomplished in a few seconds.
During the show, it was clear Loonette was making a mess. She didn’t set out to make a mess—it just ‘happened’ while she was having fun doing other things. She didn’t seem to even realize she was making a mess. She just never put things away until the situation was out of control. She always seemed shocked at how everything got so messed up…and she always thought someone else must have made the mess when she wasn’t paying attention. But, then Loonette accepted responsibility and cleaned it up. Once in a while, Loonette’s doll, ‘Molly’ made the mess. If that was the case, Loonette still had to help Molly clean up the mess.
Isn’t that kinda how things happen with dependency? Isn’t that how we often feel in depression? –Like somebody else came along and messed everything up and now we have to deal with it.
We can go along refusing to take responsibility for the mess—but that doesn’t change anything. For lasting change and improvement to take place—we need to ask God to help us face our part of the work. In order to keep ourselves clean—we have to pay attention and not take things for granted.
When your life has become unmanageable—it probably goes without saying that your house is not in order, either. Most likely, there are many things that need attention. If you can’t face all of it—try facing a small part of it and accomplish one thing a day. Just one thing a day will help you start to feel like you’re getting somewhere. Clean one drawer, or the top of one table.
If you want to clean a room that seems impossible—try standing in the center of the room and face one corner. Look at one quarter of the room—with the corner as the ‘center’. Don’t look at the rest of the room—just focus on a quarter of it. If you are able to get that part clean, then try another quarter. Just do what you can—but do something.
If the kitchen is in chaos and you can’t seem to get started, try filling the sink with hot water and put everything that might need soaking into the sink. Let it ‘set’ and then start at one end of a counter space and work your way across…putting things in place or disposing of trash until the surface is cleared. When you’ve cleared the counter, the stuff in the sink might be ready to wash and put away. In a nutshell, break a big task down into manageable chunks. Do as much as you can and spend some time admiring your results.
Knowing you are prone to distraction during this time—try to make a practice of putting things away more consistently. It might help if you tell yourself that getting your house in order is part of your recovery program. Truthfully, you need to do some meaningful activities that will help you see improvement. Don’t use the excuse, ‘it will just get messed up again’. Living in confusion is not going to help you have a positive outlook about your future.
Declaration: I will find new strength by taking the responsibility of getting my house in order. Even if I didn’t make all of the mess myself—cleaning it up could be therapeutic and will help encourage me as I keep moving forward.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.