I now use both bathrooms (for example). Well, the second bathroom has an old photo of me and my Sis in it from the beach (from years ago), and this morning I saw it and smiled....and then I paused.
What joy that photo brings me. Truly.
How often have I seen that photo...say....in the past three years?
...which looks a lot like dawn breaking across my forehead AND God face-palming himself...
The environments we create for ourselves at home and work matter. They absolutely matter.
That photo is probably 10 years old and is in an inexpensive beach frame BUT it brings me more joy than lots and lots of expensive stuff I spent three years giving away. The POINT though...the point is that it brings me JOY. It reminds me of Sis. It takes me back to a good memory of the two of us. It reminds me to dream of the next time we will be at the beach together.
I am getting asked lots and lots of questions about the purge. Multiple times a day. Tell me about this. How did you do this? What do you recommend for this or that? It is AMAZING! I want to scream YOU GO GIRL/BOY! at the top of my lungs! It is exciting to see so many energized about the concept of purging, simplifying, joy, etc. Let me be clear though...I am still learning lessons from the past three years as I reconcile it all. I am still processing. I am still walking into a room, seeing something, and being taught a lesson...by God. The truth is that we all have too much stuff. Even now, I have too much stuff. The lesson is does what you have bring you real joy? Do you get to experience that joy on a regular basis by owning/possessing said stuff? OR is it hidden under other stuff so you don't even know you still have it.
Hide it under a bush...oh no.
Anybody remember that song from Sunday School?
I have been not only hiding my joy under a bunch of stuff, but I have been hiding myself.
I have breathed...I mean true, deep breaths...more in the past 5 days than I have in the past 5 years. I feel like a prisoner released from prison coming out into the sunlight, squinting my eyes yet raising my hands in gratitude. I am overwhelmed by just how truly thankful I am to have finished the task AND at this amazing feeling of gratitude....for everything.
This morning, I was listening to the John Eldredge/Ransomed Heart podcast from yesterday; listen to it HERE. Suddenly he said, "What am I allowing myself to hope for this year? What goodness am I anticipating? If you don't open yourself to good things, it is hard for God to bring those things to you."
Allow me a digression.....
I haven't been able to get into my planning and (not resolutions) goals for the year yet; I usually do it the first weekend of the year. I have been blaming it on just the sense of relief I feel, but.....
What if I am past the goals and the resolutions?
What if I have grown up (read that as changed) some through this whole process and now what I need to focus on in 2016 is hopes, goodness, good things, and dreaming again?
Craig was on the podcast with John this morning. Craig has been through the ringer with cancer and chemo; he is currently healthy, and when he said, "I want to dream again in 2016." I wept. Me too. Me too I thought. Though my "cancer" has been of a different kind, it feels like I have come back from something that was trying to take my life. I feel like I have come out of a wilderness season, and I think I need John Eldredge's words to give me permission to give my heart permission to dream again. Like...it is okay. You're okay. It is all okay. Dream sweet girl. Dream.
Let me say right here...those two girls staring back at me this morning from that picture frame reminded me that joy is all around me. That it is my responsibility to not let it get hidden under "stuff" - emotional or physical. That they have missed me.
There is a very brief article/synopsis of the book and "joy test" concept that I shared on my FB page; you can read it HERE. The book can be found at any bookstore. I highly recommend the brief article and the book, and let me be clear....the joy test has become part of my DNA. I find myself still asking myself the question in my home, at my office, when I am looking at something to purchase. It really is the simplest and yet most profound concept.
If you cannot see your stuff....there is NO way that it can bring you joy. Period. Whether you are keeping it in boxes, piles, a closet. I am an organization freak (coming back to myself here and loving it), and I bought into the whole concept of boxing up my treasures, organized tubs, labels, etc. No. More. If I have a tub in my home EVER again, you need to check my temperature, because I might be sick (ignore the one that holds all of my crayons and coloring books...and I have done it since college so yes basically I was adult coloring before adult coloring was cool; I am hip that way.;)).
The bigger question if you cannot see your stuff...is WHY?
A friend of mine is on her own purge quest in 2016, and her journey is so much fun to watch (maybe not as much fun for her to be in the middle of), and you can watch too; click HERE. This morning she had her own ephiphany...it isn't just about the stuff. Nope. It. Is. Not.
If you allow yourself to really start embracing the concept of purging your stuff, what you will soon discover is that God has some stuff internally he would like to purge with you....and when it REALLY get crazy is when the two work in tandem. Do I need to remind anyone of this POST? :)
I love you Sis! You brought me joy this morning...from the bathroom...it also reminded me to book the beach house today. ;)
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)