The Devil’s in the Details

My very wrinkled sheets, hanging on the line

There’s so much chatter about making time for God.  Devotionals for the busy mom surround us like a thick hazy fog.  If you don’t have time to dedicate toward [the reason for your entire existence], nataproblem.  God can be compartmentalized for the overworked and overscheduled.  The frazzled and hectic.  Five minutes a day is all it takes to develop a long-lasting relationship and to start to see real change in your life.  Come on!  It comes with an audio CD!

The fact is that middle-class Americans just aren’t that damn busy.  I seriously know zero women who are strapped to the plow, or spend their days scrubbing shirts on a washboard and stripping cotton.

The other day I began to run down “all I do around here,” like I’ve been keeping up some chore scorecard.  There’s the laundry and the dishes and the cleaning.  The errands and pick-up and dental appointments.  I change sheets and answer work calls and put kids to bed every single night.  I was practically seething at the vision of poor little ol me doing all those horrible, wretched things all by my lonesome.  What kind of husband leaves his wife at home and runs off to earn a solid paycheck leaving her with THIS? I most certainly needed to wait through eleven cars at Starbucks and flip through the sale rack at Nordstrom.  I was so busy I thought I’d check facebook, and make apple muffins, and wander around cyberspace reading poetry.  Don’t ask me to pray, or seek truth, or devote time to prayer.  Don’t ask me to be grateful for the small things.  A house to clean.  A family to love.  A warm bubble bath to melt into.  Don’t ask me to verbalize thanks for a life filled with joy and second chances.

To be honest, I’m just too busy.

It’s struck me lately that my priorities are in the wrong places.  I was reminded by Sandra Heska King that thirty bucks spent on your daughter’s flashy Hello Kitty shoes is a month of Compassion ministries wasted.  And every thirty minutes spent on trashy television is time we don’t dedicate to something that really matters.  Like prayer.  Not for unknown people.  Not for generalities like world peace.  This kind of fluff creates a void whereby your brain starts wondering if you’re out of Oregano: you are making meatballs for dinner, right?  Did you use up that leftover chicken?

I’m starting to think of my life as one big Hoarder’s episode.   I’m asking God to start cutting out the fluff.  I want to see the waste around me like trash on the side of the highway.  Only then can I start pruning, and weeding, and getting those thorns out of my fertile soil.   Only then will God reveal the relationship that’s meant to flourish.

I am ripped open with shame that my husband works so hard and never complains.   I want to avert my eyes to that woman who is wrapped up in her own selfishness.  I don’t deserve mercy. I don’t deserve clean sheets.  I don’t do anything but fill up my life with static and yet I feel blessings pour down like warm summer rain when I am so dirty and ugly and don’t deserve the washing.

We all have time.  But the devil’s in the details.

Today is what is laid out before us. Today I will love, and forgive, and spend time being grateful.  Today is the day I start working harder, and pushing farther, and complaining less.   Today, I purge.   And tomorrow, when the sun comes up and light begins to emerge on the horizon, I’ll shed this mask of shame.  I will breathe in the soft smell of the after-rain.

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5 Responses to The Devil’s in the Details

  1. Sharon O says:

    Totally beautiful and full of truth on many levels. Thanks

  2. What a wonderful post and it hits so close to home. After dealing with my oc hoarder father for the past six months (not even 50% cleaned out), your line about life as one big Hoarder’s episode was especially vivid. It’s a hard truth to swallow that I need to purge the excess, that I cling to things, material and not, and that, really, the priorities are out of whack. Time to recalibrate…

  3. Amber C. says:

    Oh. Wow. This packs a wallop and spares the fluff. I needed to hear this, too. Thank you for verbalizing this. The devil’s in the details… so true.

  4. I am so grateful I met you at Emily’s. Just started following you and I feel like there is more of this wonderful where this came from. Look forward to the words and the community, friend. This is a powerful piece. Just punched in the gut, in a good way, powerful.

  5. Gabrielle says:

    Ah, yes. Let’s cut the fluff and forget about this “busyness”.
    Excellent post!

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