I have been exasperated with my children lately. They have just not been able to keep their rooms clean or in order. I have encouraged them, fussed at them, disciplined them, taken privileges away, and even bribed them with treats and money...to no avail. Personally, I've been at whits end with the whole thing. I have even threatened to bulldoze their end of the house and start over. (they are not opposed to that, BTW...) I have not been able to figure out how to get them to clean their rooms and keep them in order. So, I went to my husband for input. He told me what I did not want to hear ~ "They have too much stuff", he said, "we need to get rid of some of it". "WHAT?!", I responded (with great love and respect). "What are you thinking? We got them that stuff, we can't just get rid of it...!" There, I'd made my point. "Now (I demanded), give me a real solution". Then he proceeds to tell me that we, as a family, have too much stuff. AND, in fact, I (me) have too many clothes and shoes to fit in my closet". NOW he's getting personal. I sat in my cluttered, unorganized bedroom and sulked. How could he? He knows how much I love shoes... Did I just hear myself say that? I LOVE shoes? Instantly it hit me, I could not expect my children to follow an example that had never been set for them. I have been expecting them to keep all their stuff in order without any kind of real example for them to follow. I have been living and unorganized, undisciplined and messy life, holding on to bits of paper and junk as if my life depends on it. I need to get my room in order (and keep it in order) before I can ever expect my children to follow. I need to get rid of, throw away and clean up the mess I've been living in.
Prayerfully, I proceed. It will be a long process (we have a LOT of stuff), but, I believe, it will be well worth it. Not long ago a girlfriend asked me, "If God called you to be a missionary in another country, how long would it take you to prepare for the trip?" I'm afraid the opportunity would pass before I was ready to go. We have some dear friends that are moving to Ethiopia for a year. They sold their business and most of their possessions. I remember her telling me how great it felt not to have the responsibility of all that "stuff" anymore. Oh that I could live that way here at home.