There are two phrases that I say all of the time. I am not proud to admit this by the way…and I feel like I should ask your forgiveness in advance as well as beg you not to judge me.These are not my favorite phrases, but you would not know it based on the number of times they fly from my mouth. My kids think it is funny…and if you are childish and juvenile (which I am) then you will probably think it is funny too. But these phrases are not said at funny times. They are not sweet little Southern gems like, “Well, I’ll be!” Or “Holy Moly!” or “Bless His Heart!”
The phrases are always associated with things not going right. It can be a little thing like spilling water on the counter…or a bigger thing like dropping a glass and it shattering and then the water spilling. Or it could be going out to start my car only to discover I have forgotten my keys…or worse finding out once I get inside to retrieve my keys that I have actually misplaced my keys… and now we will be late. “Things not going right” is the criteria for me saying them…and if a person was to be a “fly on the wall” at my house on any given day, they would likely conclude that things are constantly going wrong for me.
That isn’t really true. And I know that the words are rude and crude…and I know that they are used too often…and I know that they are not really a reflection of how things are going…so why do I continue to say them?
I have been thinking a lot the past 24 hours about my request that you and I dump everything out that we think that we know so that we can sift…like panning for gold! Like hunting for treasure!… left with only the essential elements that will make our life beautiful. I believe that we all have a treasure to find. It is right now buried deeply or covered over and unrecognizable. But it is there to be found and restored. And then it is to be celebrated and shared.
This is going to be REALLY hard. At least it is for me. I didn’t realize how much has accumulated …
Let me describe where I am right now. I am at my house at the kitchen table. In the center of the table is a stack of 4 books, one magazine and several days worth of mail. Right beside of the stack is my purse that has a small yellow legal pad inside with a list of “to-do” items. Some items have been done and are crossed out… but most are still outstanding. My purse also has crumpled up receipts, a stack of bills to be paid and coupons that I will never use. The are as good as trash already. They will expire and I will toss them away.
Beside me on a kitchen chair are two large canvas bags. One holds four notebooks, a three-ring binder and a stack of loose papers. There are important messages to myself and notes that need to dealt with sooner than later. The other, larger bag has a Bible, a clipboard, two full-sized yellow legal pads a small yellow legal pad. All of the pads have various “to-dos” and lists and thoughts …and and and…
From where I sit I can see into my living room. Months ago I carried at least 10 boxes, bins, and baskets full of junk from my office to my living room. I wanted to clear out the office…and I convinced myself that if the stuff was where the TV was that I might do the mindless sorting while watching a football game (as sports are all I watch and that is rare). Needless to say, college football is over and the NFL playoffs division playoffs are this weekend…and the bins are still in the living room. They have been moved from the back of the couch…to on the couch…to now in front of the couch.
I was trying to bite off only the amount that I can chew…only what I can deal with at one time. 10 boxes bins and baskets out of…I don’t even want to admit how many. If I begin to think of all of the boxes, bins and baskets in my garage and attic and basement I easily become completely overwhelmed.
“Crud in a crud-bucket!” “Poop in a poop-basket!”
That is what I say. Almost everyday. Sometimes several times a day.
And looking around the interior of my house there is really no doubt in my mind now why I say those phrases.
“Crud in a crud-bucket…Poop in a poop-basket” I could add….Bunk in a bunk-bin…Bluck in a bluck-bag…
And after yesterday’s post there is really no doubt that my interior me is very much like the interior of my house.
It’s too much. Where did all of this come from? Why have I accumulated so much…and why have I not done a better job of letting it go?
I am a hoarder. I hide it well. It is all jammed into clever spots where most people won’t look. I am a pretty tidy person and have always kept things looking straight…looking clean and neat. But I am running out of space to keep it all in. It has become that closet that’s doors must be pressed upon and latched tight for fear of all of the contents pouring out. I have either been afraid to let go of things or too proud to let go of things. And now all of those things are taking over. It is time to either discard them or disappear somewhere under them.
When I told you yesterday that I wanted to dump, spread and go through one thing at a time, I knew that it would be a difficult process… time consuming…messy.
But I was not expecting to feel so vulnerable with my “mess” poured out and possibly looked at.
My traditional mode of operation has been: take a box or a bin or a basket …or a bag; dump it out.
And then on the floor or on the table I sort it out.
Some things I throw away that are obviously garbage.
But inevitably what happens is I say to myself…”I might need that.” And it goes back in. “I might want to read that again.” And it goes back in. “I don’t know what those buttons or screws or nails or knobs go on…but I am sure they belong somewhere”. And back in they go.
“I will go through that school work; that mail; those pictures when I have more time. It isn’t pressing.” 1 month later…1 year later…10 years later.
I cannot live like that anymore. That mode of operation is not operational.
I must ask “Is it really valuable? Is it really necessary and needed? If the answer is “no”…or if the answer is “I don’t know”…can I let it go?
Crud in the crud-bucket and Poop in the poop-basket must go.
What is the first thing I want to let go of?
What has now been removed, dumped out and is exposed. What am I looking at right now that MUST be closely examined to determine if it is worthy of being returned inside.
What I say to myself…or what is said in my head. I cannot necessarily attribute the source of some of the things that are said in my head. But I know that they are lies. It might have been the thoughtless words of a teacher when I was a child that made me feel like I was”bad”…or it might have been the disapproving look of an adult that I loved and respected that made me feel like I was annoying or unwanted. It might have been the rejection of a person I thought was a friend that made me feel unlikable, even unlovable. It might have been the desire to share my heart only to have it mistreated. It might be that I tried my best and I still came up short…I didn’t make the grade; I didn’t win the game or the race or I missed the last second free-throw or struck out at the last “at bat”.
“I’m a Loser, Baby…so why don’t you kill me.”
That is a song, you know? …It was a popular song.
And if I am going to expect you to be honest with yourself in this process, I am going to be honest with myself too.
That lyric sometimes plays in my head. “I’m a Loser, Baby…so why don’t you kill me.”
Gross, isn’t it? I hate it. I want it gone.
It pops into my head. Sometimes out of nowhere.
I don’t know any other words to that song. It is not my type of music and I would not purposefully listen to or accept those words to play in my head. But it comes. Out of nowhere. It comes.
Why? Do I think that I am a loser? I don’t know. I have lost things…things that were important to me. I have made some really bad choices in my life and let go of people that I shouldn’t and held onto people that I shouldn’t . I have lost money. I have lost my patience. I have lost my way. I have lost my unborn babies. I have lost confidence and hope. I have lost pride. I have lost courage. I have lost my strength and my voice and my power. Sometimes I have lost my health. What else? Do I really want to think very much on this?
How can such bad, destructive words play in my head…and yet I can also be proud?
Do I keep things…save things…hoard things…fail to discard things…because of my pride or because of weakness or because of laziness?
Have my losses made me tell myself I am a loser and to prove that I am not I hold on? Are there pushed down, covered up, put away out of sight feelings of loss in me that if I pulled out and laid out and looked at might be overwhelming… might be too much…and so I don’t?
Crud in a crud-bucket.
I don’t know. Maybe.
But what I do know is that I am holding onto lies that others have put in my head that have made their way to my heart. And the lies need to go. They have no place back inside. I have a feeling that I am going to constantly be finding these among my clutter as I do this sifting. Some are going to be glaringly obvious and easy to pull out…but some will be hidden or entangled. Some may be tiny. Some will have a tight grip and are nearly impossible to remove. Some will appear real… at first. But upon further close inspection will be discovered to be a well-constructed counterfeit …but a lie is a lie.
I know that I am going to be unwittingly collecting more and more lies because they are all around us! It is going to require vigilance and constant attention to toss them out before they find their way in again.
The question to be answered… to be able to move forward is…how do we recognize a lie? How do we know when something that we tell our self ..or something that we have been told and have accepted as true…is really untrue?
How do the words, thoughts, memories make you feel? Ashamed? Unloved? Too much? Too little? Stupid? Bad? Do you feel like a loser?Do you feel like you don’t matter.
Have the lies made you not feel at all? Better not to think or look or try or hope….
1. Let’s gather up all of the lies that we can.
Let’s agree…Those will not go back in, OK?
And ask yourself…where did they come from? Why would I believe them? What is true?
Does it matter? Does discovering the truth matter?
Yes. It does.
And more than that….we matter.
This is true.