Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Potty Training: Take Two (Day Three)

Today's Priority Check brought to you by Frigidaire...

I wish my spiritual life looked more like my fridge.

No seriously!

Not the outside of my fridge. That's easy to keep looking presentable: wipe it down once in a while, and then plaster it from corner to corner with pictures of friends and family and drawings of the kids.

I'm talking about on the inside... the important part, where all the really vital stuff is. The sustenance, if you will. Now the inside of my fridge isn't particularly pristine or uber-organized or anything. It gets a good deep cleaning maybe twice a year, and wipe downs when things spill. But beyond that it doesn't really need any real work, because it gets regular attention.

Take tonight for instance: I made a big cast-iron skillet of chicken pot pie for dinner, since I had broth and carrots I needed to use up and was making a blueberry pie for a friend on Friday (I like to make as many pie crusts at one time as I can, since they make a pretty big mess in my kitchen). So after we'd eaten and while Hubby was giving Baby her bath, I went to put the leftovers away and do dishes. I put a lid on baby's bowl for her to eat it for lunch tomorrow, then stacked it with the leftover's of her PB&J from today's lunch. In front of that I put Hubby's lunch portion of pot pie, packaged up with a drink and a cookie (just cuz I love him) in a neat grocery bag. Behind those, I stuck my own small lunch in the very back.

Then I proceeded to clear things out and rearrange to make room for the big container of leftovers. Out came the several-weeks old spaghetti sauce. Out came the container of congealed chicken gravy which is all that remained of a chicken and vegetable dinner it had gone with. Both went directly into the trash. The fruits and veggies and breakfast meats that had managed to float about the fridge over the past week went back into their assigned drawers, and the leftover peas and broth not used up by tonight's dinner went in the front of the bottom shelf to remind me to use them. The water jug came up to the front of the top shelf, the juices all shoved to the back in an effort to force me to make more healthy beverage choices first. Finally, the leftovers went in, placed neatly on one side in the front so I would remember to use them up. The pan holding the blueberries and the pie crusts I made earlier went in front of it, and I closed the door, turning my attention to the dishes.

Okay, so maybe you're raising your eyebrow and wondering when exactly I'm going to get to the point. Presently, I assure you.

First, let's look at the lunch line-up. You could make a case for this showing a set of perfect priorities. First is my husband's lunch, lovingly packaged. Behind it is my child's spread, mindfully planned with an eye toward teaching her not to waste and to eat reasonably healthy choices. Last of all comes my own lunch, not too much, but just enough to give me the energy I need to get to the next meal in my day. I put my husband first, then my child, before I thought of myself. How I wish it were so easy to prioritize my daily attitudes and actions to put my husband first, and then my child, and to die to my own desires! How I wish I could lay out my husband's need for a relaxing home environment and my daughter's requirements for a patient and encouraging atmosphere before my own longing for respite and rest, like so many neatly packaged Tupperware containers!

Secondly, let's examine the things I threw away: old spaghetti sauce, and useless gravy. The spaghetti sauce got thrown out because it was past the point of being nutritious, and would only start to go bad and stink things up if left alone. The gravy got the boot because it was purposeless; we have nothing in the house from which I intend to plan a meal anytime soon that would go well with chicken gravy. I see these as being analogous to things in my life that, similarly, need to go. Constantly, I seem to find myself in real life holding onto things that are either approaching the point of being bad for me, or which have grown useless and would be better gotten rid of to make room for new things. Romance novels, for instance, or less-than-godly music. Perhaps they were no big deal once, when I was a weaker Christian, and had bigger fish to fry. When I was too busy focusing on the “Big Sins” to find time to look into the minor details. Or maybe some of them are even still okay, for people who don't have an impressionable toddler wandering around getting into everything, and repeating every word she hears. But for me, they're only time-bombs, sitting around, waiting to go rotten and make a big stink in my life when I least expect it. They're better gotten rid of now. And my chicken gravies? Time wasters. I am a horrible time-waster. I love me some PC games, and I like to play for hours without a break. Of course, there's nothing inherently wrong with enjoying something that has no real-life value (except mayeb stress-relief). But when they start to take up space that could better be used for the important things, the pot pie and fruit and water and yogurt... that's when I need to really assess things and evaluate how valuable this thing is that I'm holding onto.

Finally, there's just the general organization of my fridge. I do this almost without thinking about it: anything I want to remember to use or eat or drink, I put in front. I'm trying to lose weight right now, so water is a big one. Every night, and several times during the day the water pitcher gets filled and placed back on the top shelf to chill, blocking easy access to the sweeter, sugary choices like juice, soda, or wine. The fruit and veggies have their drawer, as do the meat and cheese and lunchmeat. They tend to migrate around during the week because breakfast is a hurried affair in our family, but I try to make sure they always get put back where they belong. And everything else has its own general area where we all expect to be able to reach for it. Everything has its place, and just by looking at where I place it, you can tell how much we use it, how important it is to our daily schedule. Eggs are used almost daily, milk several times a day, likewise water. What would my life look like if I arranged it so that the things that were the most apparent were also the most important? If just looking at my life and my daily schedule and finances, you could tell that I spent time with God and in the Word, that I loved on my daughter and husband constantly, that I wrote as often as I should, and volunteered for my fair share of nursery duty on Sundays? And what kinds of things would start moving toward the back? Maybe cleaning... much as I cringe at the idea of my house going a day without a good sweep and mop (especially lately: potty training has made a urinal out of my living room floor-- eesh!), sometimes spending time with my Baby reading an extra Bible story before bedtime is more important. Or what if I started cutting out Facebook time to spend face-time in the Book and in prayer with Hubby? Wow...

The funny thing is, I don't know if I've ever mentioned this on here before, but I am an addict of variety. I love change. I adore rearranging. But I've never really thought about rearranging my life. Pushing the unimportant things back in order to bring forward the priorities. But just now, thinking about it, I started getting excited about it. It's a new project! And I love projects. I think I'm going to start working on making my spiritual life resemble the interior of my fridge. Because right now, it more tends to resemble my Tupperware cabinet. Stacks and piles of stuff here and there, in no particular order, with some missing lids, and all the really important stuff way up where I can't reach it. :-/

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and finish his work".
John 4:34

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