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Fuss & Freedom

I was recently talking with a beautiful young lady and the topic caring for our homes and ourselves came up.  She, like I long ago, wrestled with creating a beautiful, yet child-friendly, space that reflected who she was.  Pretty baubles caught her eyes and made their new home in hers. But what once intrigued, now gathered dust.  The angst of taking care of it all when still other pretties called out, was getting the best of her.  The lovely girl also grew to hate the early mornings.  She struggled to have the time needed to get ready for the day, it took so long to get ready in the morning…

After a few practical suggestions, I began to think about my own journey to freedom.  Not all would like or even benefit from what I’ve learned but, take of it for what you will.

There was a time that “things” filled my life, filled cupboards, filled closets, filled shelves.  If I liked it, I bought it. (If it was in my budget of course) ;-) Time, effort & resources were given to maintain said lovely baubles. And, over time, I came to realize my things owned me. 

There was even a time when I wouldn’t leave the house if hair and makeup were not done and dressed in best.  I remember one day specifically, I had been in a car accident and had to drive 90 miles to see a specialist.  Leaving at daylight to drop my children with my mom about halfway, then drive on for treatment, then back to mom’s to rest before driving home.  I remember it so vividly, the smart red and black pencil skirt dress, the black pumps, the curled hair, manicured nails, the trim physic that much effort went into and the perfectly painted face - that was hiding the pain.  Not just the physical pain, but the emotional & mental pain.  Sitting in the waiting room, legs crossed, which took all the effort in me and intensified the pain (but ladies crossed legs right?) the thought of having to do this all over again in 2 short days seemed unbearable.  The doctor said I was doing well, I sure looked good.  If he only knew…  I could only convey in part, my suffering because so much went into being who I thought I was supposed to be, that I found I didn’t know how to be anything else. This even permeated into how much I let the doctor see my weakness, my pain. Oh, how stupid it all was!  My Treatment was painful and exhausting and I was supposed to go right home and rest. Ha! This hamster wheel was getting the best of me!  By the time I got to mom’s I was done, toast, poke me.  That was the beginning of the transformation, the letting go of expectations - of others and even my own. 

Freedom has come in waves over the years.  I remember not long after that day of realization, purposed to leave the house without being “made up”.  Guess what, no one gasped, no one gawked and I survived.  When I calculated the time, energy and cost of maintaining the “me” I was trying to project, instead of simply being me, I was shocked and it motivated me even more.  It wouldn’t be for a few more years that I came to understand that the body we live in is just a tent.  “A tent? You say?” Yes, a tent, temporary housing.  It is not who we are, it only facilitates what we do.  And it makes for great hugs!  But we, we are spiritual beings living in this earthly tent for a season.  And when we consider how much effort we put into the “tent” and how little we tend to the “WHO we are, the spirit that is us” it’s heartbreaking. (this goes for our houses too, make a home, not a showcase.  Enough on that.)

We will all shed this earthly tent one day and we will still be fully us, even more so actually, not limited by the confines of the tent!  That time is approaching, closer today than it was the day before.  How do you want to spend that time?  Pampering the tent that will return to dust? Cleaning the tent, your home, that you dwell in? (Now, before you hate me, I do enjoy a spa day & a good pedicure every once in awhile.  I enjoy a nice home, but frankly, it’s just not that important anymore.)  I chose years ago to let “good enough” be the rule. No more “fussing” to cover sun spots, no more “fussing” over numbers on a dial, no more “fussing” over dusting baubles.  I only had so much time in the day, how much did I want to spend it?

I listed the things that had to be done daily; Work, readying for work, meal prep & planning, dining, sleep. I planned on making better use of the time I had left over but instead was so saddened by how much time I spent “fussing” over the “tent” than that which would be eternal!  Next, I listed what was important to me; time with the LORD, family time, reading, entertaining, cleaning. Something had to change!  The eternal was being shortchanged!  So, I divvied up the time according to priorities just to see what I’d be left with and if it was doable. (One such change, could a woman get showered and ready and out of the bathroom on half an hour AND still be presentable?) I wasn’t sure it was but we were going to find out!  It took some practice and adjustments and letting go of my perceived “perfection” but it worked.  Across the board, it worked!  In this process, I learned that this “perfection” was a symptom from an old wound that I needed Jesus to heal, and as He is always faithful, He did!  He came to set us free & give us life to the fullest (not closets to the fullest.)

So, what is today, is “good enough”.  It's freed, imperfect, uncluttered but a lil dusty, “fluffy” as my momma lovingly would say, even wrinkled. Still a work in progress. But that’s ok, it’s only temporary…. ;-)

2 Corinthians 5:1-8 in the Message version brings such wonderful perspective!  Enjoy!
For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.

That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.”

During our visit to New Orleans we passed this window, it stopped me in my tracks and my spirit rejoiced at the truth it proclaimed.  May it bless you as well.


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