Tuesday, April 05, 2016

HABITS, RESTORING ORDER, AND FINDING MY CHILL

I don't know why it is, but I am always in DESPERATE need of Spring Break.  I have no clue how the wheels fall off my organizational bus so quickly in the new year.  They always do, though.

Perhaps it's the depressing winter months ...

Perhaps it's the ridiculous pressure that falls upon teachers' shoulders as we move toward "Testing Season..."

Perhaps it's cabin fever ...

Perhaps it's the gray cloudiness ...

... the ever present feel of death in nature, what with the naked trees in dormancy ...

You know, maybe it's all of it!

Whatever it is, my mental health is dependent upon Spring Break.  I say no to a lot more stuff during Spring Break. I become a hermit. I become more introspective. I get to know the four walls that surround me much more intimately. I get into an attitude of organizing, purging, decluttering, cleaning, restoring order ... it all happens on Spring Break because I crave it!

I've come to know this about myself: I need order. I look like a free-spirited fluttery thing that sorta flies by the seat of her pants.  The truth is that appearances are smoke in mirrors. I function better under a structure. When I have a schedule, there are no questions asked.  I do what needs to be done. I go where I need to go. I follow the directions.  I do what's asked of  me. I expect others to do the same.

Yes, I am a rule follower.  If you don't give me the rules, I feel naked, exposed.  I am not sure what needs to be done.

There are people out there that think this is a bad thing ... being a rule follower.  Listen, it's just how we function.  Some function better than others. That's what puts variety in life, and, after all, variety is the spice of life, no!?

Don't get me wrong.  I love a good, spontaneous trip to an out of the way place.  I really do.  However, I love to have a plan.  Nothing wrong with that.

I get to Spring Break, and I think I feel I've been functioning without a plan.  Perhaps, in recent years, I have been functioning without a plan, professionally-speaking!  Who knows!

Last Tuesday, I spent the day cleaning my master bedroom.  Let the order restoration begin!  It was a "most of the day" project that, when complete, made me feel like I was taking back my life ... if only a little space at a time.  I took a day to do other things ... lazy things.  Then I tackled my guest bedroom ... and then my living room ... and then my kitchen ... and then I stopped.  It felt good.  This restoring order in my life felt good.

I have been trying to establish habits ...

  • healthy meals
  • healthy habits like exercise
  • cutting out tv
  • taking time to read
  • making sure the house is picked up before I go to bed
  • daily Swiffering the floors in the house (cat hair, y'all)
  • daily cleaning out the cat pans
  • making sure things are put away
  • getting back to making my bed every day
  • being able to see my counter tops ... ALLLLLL of my counter tops.
It may seem like silliness to you, but this is order to me.  This provides my heart with a certain amount of relaxation knowing order has been restored. I am able to restore my chill.

Until something comes along and rocks my order ...

That thing was a mix up with a hospital bill ... and a conversation with a colleague (a good conversation ... just one that brought up a lot of stress I had pushed aside to restore the order)....

BOOM! My chill was gone ... and I sat on my sofa last night absolutely a wreck ... fretting about everything ... I texted my friend and said, "I am so worked up.  Why am I so worked up?"  

She texted back, "Let it go."

I serve a God of order.  He ordered things a certain way -- provided complicated intricacies in His creation, and so I think He is totally okay with my desire to have things in order ... as long as that desire doesn't get in the way of my spiritual growth. 

But it's a delicate balance, this desire for order. The least little thing can upset the apple cart, and then the order succumbs to complete and utter chaos.  My mind begins that process and then ... well, it's an ugly snowball from that point forward!
Yesterday was the beginning of the snowball.  Had it not been for me taking a moment to shut everything down, grabbing my Kindle, and allowing myself to dig into another world, effectively shutting my brain off.  

This morning, I awoke with only a hint of the nagging stress in my heart.  I started with my new morning routines ... still a bit shaky as I attempt to reign this order in and beat the chaos back.

I looked around and identified the pockets of chaos still in the corners of my house (and heart), and claimed order to those areas!  

It's a delicate balance ... this fight between good and evil ... order and chaos ...  a lot of my stress is self-imposed because of my lack of order amidst the world's chaos.  

Today, I am willing myself to cling to the Creator of Order ... to rely on Him to see order where there isn't any ... to find my chill whilst the world is mentally melting down around me ... 

Habits are hard, but order is good. I will find my chill amid my order as long as I just let the rest of the Stuff go ... declutter my heart and mind. 







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