Friday, April 25, 2014

Let God Be Your Laundry Basket

Friday, April 25, 2014

As a domestic engineer, the thought of never ending laundry actually ending, seems magical. My on-going theory is, "A Pile A Day, Keeps The Loads Away." I can even see the slogan on a nice sign, hanging in my laundry room. The theory works well, until your dirty laundry piles turn into your clean clothes piles. I am not sure that my husband has gone to work with a crispy, crunchy, perfectly unwrinkled shirt since we have been married. I guess I better get to work on that! No matter what though, the laundry will always continue to come back.

What annoys me the most about doing laundry is getting the fresh, warm clothes from the dryer to the designated, "folding location." You see, I am a professional at getting the laundry basket to the washer. However, bringing the laundry back from the dryer is a whole different story. I get a false sense of security in carrying it back without a basket. I begin to believe that I am something much more than I am.

The ordeal always starts with a loud buzz. In my mind the buzz sounds a lot more like the, "Ding Ding" before a wrestling match starts. I walk back and open the door, allowing myself  a short timespan for a mental assessment of said situation. "Fifty-six million socks, a sheet, some undies, a work shirt... No problem!" With one swift arm swipe, I grab as much as I can. "No big deal," I think to myself. So with another not so swift arm swipe, I grab the rest. Who has time for two trips, right? The problem is, the whole load cannot simply fit in one arm. I am now bent over using both arms, my thighs, my torso, and my double chin to keep it all contained in the newly created heap. "So much for not wrinkling this pile!" I groan as I begin to do a 180 degree waddle to the door.

"I got this!" I mentally pep talk myself up. The "Eye Of The Tiger" begins to play in my head. I begin to do a penguin like waddle as I head to the folding location, clenching my pile as tightly as I can. This location happens to be on the other side of the house. The first few waddles goes well. "So I look like the Hunchback, but I am getting... oh, wait, a sock fell." I shift my body slowly and carefully, adjusting the load to grab the prodigal sock. "Great!" A few more waddles goes by, "Wonderful! Oh, there goes pair of undies!" At this point I have a particular ache in my spine, a good reminder of the fact that I have had three epidurals. I make the effort to re-shift the load in my arms and legs, and with a few labored breaths, grab the undies. Only to lose a towel, "Wait, I didn't assess that in there!" So I reach for the towel... and, "Oh, there goes a work shirt.. and another sock! Or was that the same one? Who cares!"

After multiple times of these re-shifting escapades, a few more steps of this embarrassing waddle, weird grunts and breaths that sound much like someone being kidnapped, and a newly exposed plumber's butt,  I angrily decide I will go back for what I drop. This is where I leave a trail all the way to my ending location. It is at that point where I just throw what is left in my arms onto the bed. Armed with a sour attitude, a newly formed case of scoliosis, and self-consciousness of my double chin, I march off to collect my abandoned trail of socks, rags, and undies. I don't just do this once. I do this trip almost every single time.

As I begin to fold this fiasco, ready to put the white load behind me, I realize this is often are with life. We decide to clean up our act and we dump the "dirty laundry" on God. He can handle our messes. But once we feel like we are cleaned up, we go on living like we have control. Like we can do everything on our own. We can carry the burdens of others, parent our kids, clean our homes, go to work, volunteer in everything presented to us, and pile on other dramas. Now think of the emotional pains we also try to carry. "I can handle it!" we tell ourselves. We begin to waddle through our day to day lives, frustrated, grumbling, exposing all of our crevices, all the while leaving a trail of dropped commitments and projects.

The busier, more pre-occupied with our lives we become, the more our devotional time, gratefulness, and God-honoring behavior lacks. I mean, sure, we can cram this and that into our schedules, we can carry a lot of pain emotionally, but what can we accomplish? What can we learn? When Satan tells us the lie that, "We can do life alone. We don't need help." we begin to fall out of community. We lose our dependence on God, relying on only our own strength. This usually sends us back into our lives picking up abandoned pieces of ourselves. We get short, we stop reaching out, and honestly, how can we live our purpose and glorify God when we are miserable and sore to our daily living?

How can we combat this pattern that I know I am not alone in?

Firstly, let God clean our piles. We cannot be afraid to take our messy feelings and lives before God. Our stress, sin, worry, drama. God can handle all of that and more. Let him clean out our lives and help us shine brighter for him. Isaiah 1:18 says, "Come now, let's settle this," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool." (NLT) Don't be ashamed to come before him with our junk!

 Secondly, we need to stop assessing life before we decide we might need help. "Am I good enough? Will people think I am needy? Should I ask for help? What if they discover I am weak?" Sometimes we need advice or help and we are hesitant to ask for assistance because we are afraid of what someone might think of us if we do. What if they really see our lives? Chances are, every now and again we all need a little help in one way or another. It certainly is humbling, but not as humbling as getting caught in a weak moment, like your nether-crack hanging out waddling down a hallway. Find a godly friend and ask for the help.

Lastly, let God carry you. Period. We do not have to, nor should we always, run to our close friends for assistance. God wants to be the center of our lives, we need to learn to lean on, and rely on God.

Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you;
he will never let
    the righteous be shaken.
 Psalm 55:22

 I look up to the mountains—
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the lord,
who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Psalm 121:1-3

It does not matter what our problems are or how many we have, God cares for us on such a level that he died for us. He certainly loves us enough to help us carry what weighs us down. In order to accomplish his purpose in our lives, we need our hands free. We need to be fully focused on our task in the big picture and we need to quit walking around with our hands full trying to do it all on our own. God is the giver of rest, the giver of peace, and the giver of hope! He will carry us.

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