Thursday, January 29, 2009

Catching Up & Moving Forward

I have a confession to make: I'm having a "Catch-up Day" today. Earlier this week I wasn't feeling up to par and didn't get much done, and then yesterday I essentially had a "day off" as much as a mom with two little ones can—I loaded my kids into the car (yes, in the horrible weather that we had, for those of you who live around here) and drove out to my parents' house for a much-needed day of playing with my kids and talking to other grownups. And playing Wii while the kids were sleeping. J

So today I woke up, looked around the house, and thought, "Who fired the maid?" Unfolded laundry was blasphemously trying to reach the heavens. My children were apparently trying to help me improve my fitness and coordination by creating an obstacle course of toys strewn throughout the first floor. And the dishes—well, let's not talk about the dishes. You get the picture.

And so this is my catch-up day. It's time to buckle down and get things back in order. And you know what? I kind of like catch-up days. Yes, it can be overwhelming to see the things that need to be done. But it's encouraging to me to know that it IS noticeable when I don't do the things that I usually do on a daily basis. And I like that I can accomplish just a few small things and notice a big difference. I also like that I have plenty to do, but that the tasks are not complicated. I can let my mind wander or talk to my kids while I work—and I can enlist their help, too. J

So as my mind has been wandering, I've realized that I need a spiritual catch-up day, too. Have you ever felt that way? You let it go for a day… or two… or more… and suddenly the dirty laundry is piling up and it is just too overwhelming to think about, so you just close the door. It happens so easily. But you know what? It just takes a few small steps to notice a big difference. God has got one heck of a washing machine, and it takes Him no time at all to wash us white as snow. It just takes a few minutes—while you're driving, when you first get up in the morning, even while you're straightening up the house and letting your mind wander—to spend time with Him, and before you know it, you feel like your spiritual house is back in order.

There is a downside to catch-up days, though, both the physical and the spiritual kind. They don't really let you make progress. At the end of the day today, my laundry will be folded, my dishes will be clean, and the toys will be put away, just like they are on most nights when I go to bed. (OK, I use the term "most" loosely… but I'm making a point here, so just go with it.) But I'm not accomplishing anything beyond the basics. I'm not cleaning out my fridge or reorganizing my pantry. (You laugh, but you have NO IDEA how badly this needs to be done!) I'm not making crafts with Grace or playing trains with Matt. If all I ever do is let things go and then hectically try to catch up, I'm never getting ahead.

That's true spiritually, too. If I've missed my time with the Lord for a week, and then one morning I get up early and spend 45 minutes reading and praying, I feel great! Just like I'll feel great tonight when I go to bed and my house is nice and clean. But you know what? Tomorrow my kids are going to get their toys back out; I'm going to cook, creating dirty dishes and counter tops; we're going to play and do crafts and create all sorts of mess, and I'm going to have to do all of this same stuff again—although hopefully it won't take as much time as it does on a "catch-up day"—to have a clean house before I go to bed. And tomorrow I'm going to have frustrations, concerns, sins, and all sorts of things that I need to present to the Lord if I want to continue to feel close to Him. That's just daily maintenance. If I only do it when I really start to feel bogged down by the mess inside of me, that's all the further I ever get. But if I do maintain my relationship with Him daily, then I can also spend time getting ahead. I can take a few minutes to read a Bible study. I can talk to Him about some deeper concerns than I may come up with on a "catch-up day." I can get more out of my Bible reading, sermons that I hear, even conversations that I have with others.

So yay for catch-up days! I hope that you can get your house—both physical and spiritual—straightened today! And I hope that tomorrow, you and I can both make some progress. J


kirsten said...

great encouragement katy! thank you for sharing this wisdom. i find in my life that i have too many catch up days, spiritually and physically. i've never thought about it the way you described here. i'm going to start some laundry and process this for awhile. thanks again!

Missy said...

Hi! I didn't know you had a blog! Thanks for the good inspiration. I'll have to check in now and then. I have a blog too. Stop by sometime!