It’s amazing what we get used to. Before last Wednesday, I couldn’t remember the last time I had a splinter, and now I have my second this week. They’re odd little things, so small, and practically imperceptible, and then you hit it just right and it reminds you it’s there, and you tell yourself you need to remove it right away, but then three seconds later, you forget again, and go about your day…and the cycle repeats.
It’s amazing what we stop noticing. We recently rearranged our house because we were using an entire bedroom as a walk-in closet for things we rarely used, and the clutter was in the process of taking over a whole second bedroom, so I channeled my inner Jillian Harris, and frankly Stephen did most of the manual labor, and we de-cluttered and organized and now our entire house is usable space. There were a handful of things, though, that we couldn’t find the right place for, and they’ve stayed in the hallways and on the floors, and I’ve gotten used to them again, and now it’s been two weeks…and the cycle repeats.
It’s amazing what we start feeling is normal. Little worries start to creep in, little doubts appear on the fringes, little negative beliefs about ourselves or our circumstances pop up here or there. At first they’re just little things, and they seem perfectly natural so we don’t question them. They start to play on repeat in our heads, and we use them to make sense of the world around us, and it seems to fit, and since our brains are wired to reward us when we make sense of the world whether we’re doing so accurately or not, we never pause to question them…and the cycle repeats.
So it turns out, I’m a bit of a creature of habit. Not the way my dad is, who cleaned both bathrooms the morning of my wedding because it was the second Saturday, and that was when he cleaned the bathrooms. But you know, the normal kind, who has a bit of a routine, and tries to live with intent and purpose, but sometimes gives in to inertia.
What a huge relief, though, to remove that splinter, or put away the clutter, or to listen to truth instead of my fickle moods.
I’ve become a little obsessed with the show Love It or List It Too, where they do these incredible renovations on relatively normal homes. They rip out walls, raise ceilings, reconfigure electric and plumbing and custom build everything to the space, and when they’re finished, it’s 100 times more beautiful and 100 times more functional, and you’d hardly believe it was the same space. That’s what I want to do in my heart. I want to tear out the faulty beliefs I’ve held onto about my circumstances, I want to rip out the doubts and chip away at the disappointment, and if it means I go all the way to the foundation, that’s OK, because I want to be rooted in truth, and faith, and hope, and love.
This is not a raze-it-all situation. This does not mean haphazardly tearing apart my whole life. It doesn’t mean rebelling against everything I’ve ever been told, or all expectations of me, or anything I’ve ever believed about anything, period. If anything, this is the fight to keep the beauty, to carefully protect the lessons, and to hold on tightly to any grace up for grabs. It’s excavating for wisdom, and searching for treasure, and trusting that it will be better. It is a by-faith-and-not-by-sight existence.
It’s not just about the tearing down, it’s about the building up. It’s seeing possibility and potential, cultivating community and connection, curating beliefs and attitudes that are based in truth, and hard-won wisdom, and the words of people you love. It’s keeping an open heart and an open mind.
And it’s taking a good long pause every once in a while to reflect so we don’t take all of that good stuff for granted.
I feel, some days, like my brain is a colander, and something that was so meaningful to me one day just leaks out the next. As a matter of fact, I have a really hard time answering questions about my blog. If you’ve been around me when I’ve tried to describe it, you’ve heard just how awkward I become. It should be easier for a writer to come up with the words, right? But someone will ask me what my last post was about, and I can’t necessarily remember, even though I’m the one who wrote it. Clearly, I have not applied the part of my brain that knows how to dig in.
What if I did?
What if I took the part of my brain that knows how to obsess, and plugged in something different?
What if you did?
What are the very best things you believe about yourself? What are the very best things you believe about your circumstances? What are your very favorite things about your life right now? What if these were the messages we chose to replay? What if these were the thoughts we chose to dig in to?
What are the things you need to get rid of? What is the splinter in your finger, the pebble in your shoe, or the clutter on your floor that you need to address?
And what are the best things, the things you keep? What are the favorites, the perfect, (or perfectly imperfect, which is after all the most perfect), and the things you find most beautiful?