I tend to be an ambitious, overachieving, optimist, biting off more than I can chew and believing it can be accomplished in an irrational amount of time. As such, I tend to become frustrated or disheartened, when it becomes obvious that on any given project I am not going to be able to accomplish half of what I had intended in the amount of time allotted.
Thus, my home office. It (along with the rest of the house) has been sorely neglected these last six years while I have been in school. My basic theory was to keep the kitchen and bathroom clean enough, do laundry when necessary, and clean a little better and vacuum if someone was coming over (company clean!). So I thought I could clean out my office (see a few of the included pics) in a few hours. In case you are wondering, I am on my 3rd weekend of office cleaning and have made progress, but not really scratched the surface. Alas, six years of neglect are not repaired quickly.
I have heard that in taking care of paper work, you can file it or pile it. I chose to pile it. The four stacked boxes in the above picture are the remainder of my neglected filing system; I had already sorted through at least three boxes before this picture was taken.
I had been wondering over the last several weeks why I stay exhausted. I mean, October, November and December at work were extraordinarily busy, add to that the holidays, a family wedding, teaching an online course, and caring for a dear family pet in end-stage IBS, but I would think I would be recovering by now.
Then last evening I began shredding the papers in the newly designated shred pile. Slogging through ten years (okay, maybe I was optimistic when I said six years) of paper work made it clear to me why I am exhausted. Reliving in fast forward much that happened in the last ten years is exhausting work: the abuse, the divorce, school, children’s massive dental work, three children’s weddings, a family member’s life-threatening illnesses, an apartment complex coming after me for delinquent funds because they could not find the person who rented the apartment next who had not paid their bills, an ex who wouldn’t let go, a dear friend’s illness and death, and my own marriage. I didn’t have time to process any of this while I was in school. I was working full-time at a demanding nursing job and going to school full-time. There was always over time and the next assignment to complete.
So here last evening I began the hard work of processing through all of the above and more. It may take me a while. My office may need to wait a little longer. I may seek out my counselor if it seems necessary, or maybe this is the time to look into the Step Study of Celebrate Recovery that I learned about while in school but could-not-possibly-add-one-more-thing-to-my-schedule. I don’t know.
Then this verse comes to mind:
“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”” Isa. 30: 15
So I try not to get frustrated when I don’t make the progress I think I should be making on cleaning out my office. I try to remember that “in quietness and trust” is my strength. So, so counter-intuitive. I also try to remember that “all joy and peace” is connected to trusting in God, as Paul says in Romans 15:13:
“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.”
I am not to the point of “all joy and peace” yet, but I am making progress. But you must excuse me; I must go. I need to get back to processing…