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Friday, May 17, 2013

Sorting It All Out


I obtained a personal accomplishment this week—it may not sound miniscule in the grand scheme of things, but I assure you, it borderlined on the miraculous for my personality. Here it is…drumroll…the precarious avalanche of papers that teetered next to my shredder has now vanished. POOF! Gone.

 I stared at the familiar spot for months, watching it grow into a colorful life of its own. Some days I simply got used to it, as if it were a dusty piece of home d├ęcor. Other days, I ignored it altogether, choosing to clip it out of my line of sight. And then, there were other days of course, that it bothered me to the point of annoyance and spilled into other areas of my life, tainting my mood and triggering a vocal or tacit complaint.

Yesterday, however, I faced it head on. Sitting Indian-style on the floor, I sorted through what seemed to be an infinite supply of papers that seemed to multiply rather than diminish. As much as I was tempted to just toss the whole pile in the trash and be done with it, I knew that there were important papers that need to be filed. So, one by one, I scanned each item, and carefully executed their fate. I know I save some things that I should probably throw away, but just don’t have the heart to do so. If you have ever given me a card, I have a gigantic shoe box where they all live crammed in together under one roof---er---I mean lid. It is starting to overflow, actually. Isn’t this a perfectly good excuse to buy another pair of shoes?! Also mixed in the hodge podge were old receipts from 2012, junk mail, and more papers demanding a destination. When I finally got to the glorious end of it all, I had to pull out the vacuum to clean up the confetti of paper that the shredder had vomited all over my carpet.

I started to ponder, isn’t this exactly what we do in our relationships, especially marriage? Because we don’t want to deal with them, we allow issues to pile up until they seem to take on a life of their own. Some days we avoid them, other days we choose to ignore them altogether. When we choose to look in their direction without addressing them, we naturally feel overwhelmed, annoyed, or even defeated in some way. Isn’t this the plan of the enemy? To confuse us, overwhelm us, and litter our lives in the space where peace, joy, and intimacy should reside?

I am starting to understand in a deeper way, that both in the natural and supernatural, our God is a God of perfect order. For every item that concerns us, He has a divine destination. What may not be an issue for one partner, could greatly distress the other. It is important to be intentionally specific in conversations in which issues need to be addressed. Too often, marital malaise can be traced back to complaints about the other in general. Just like the mound of papers, there is a method that will eventually allow you to reclaim this occupied space in your marriage. Pick a mutually agreed upon time to discuss (not late at night when your husband is sleepy—trust me, for some reason, this doesn’t work at all). Incidentally, one thing you want to NOT do, is talk about every problem--ad nauseum--all at once. I know females, including myself, are especially guilty of this. I think we have a psychological file cabinet for just about everything. When a certain topic is addressed, others seem to spill out uncontrollably as well. When you do pick an issue, decide whether this is this something that can be discarded. Is it still relevant to the season that you are in now? Or can it be tossed for sake of current peace and happiness. Could it be something that may be treasured to one because of the deeper meaning, but may have no sentimental or relevant value to the other. Listen with your heart, forgive (both your spouse and yourself), bend, and most importantly move on--together.
If the goal of unity is in mind, understanding will begin to flow with increased and purposeful communication.  Things may even appear messier as you endure the drudgery of the sorting process, but as you do, one day you will look at that space where the enemy tried to take up residence, and by your cooperation with the power of the Holy Spirit, something miraculous will happen—he will vanish. POOF! Gone.

-Isaiah 41:12, “You will search for your enemies, but you will not find them. Those who are at war with you will be reduced to nothing and no longer exist.”