For me, relaxing really isn’t very relaxing.  I have to work at doing nothing.  You have no idea how much restraint it takes for me to leave the dishes in the sink until after the company is gone!  My poor family can’t even finish their meal before I’m clearing the table.  They eat with one hand while holding onto their glass with the other!

I don’t know why, but it’s a painstaking ordeal for me to overlook scattered papers around my Chipper’s chair or the unmade bed in our foster daughter, Tammy’s, room.

Yet, those same two who irk me with papers and unmade beds are thoughtful enough to unload the dishwasher almost everyday…and how do I say thanks? By getting up in the middle of the night to redo what they’ve already done, I know…that’s not really saying thanks at all, is it?

Please don’t tell them, but, I kind of wish they’d just let me do it.  That way, I wouldn’t have to get up in the middle of the night when they’re both sound asleep and redo it.  See, I like all the green glasses to line up, then the gold ones, and the clear ones go on the outside.  And, you buy matching cups for a that they match in the cabinet.  Don’t even get me started on the silverware!  Those trays made for silverware are divided for a reason….why, oh why, don’t they understand that long forks and short forks are entirely different utensils?

I don’t mean to seem ungrateful for their help, but, it’s hard to figure out why, if they’re going to do it anyway, they don’t just do it right.  Why?  Because what’s right to me…doesn’t seem right to them.  If the truth be known, they probably think it’s wrong for me to expect everything to be done right.

You know what?  Inflicting my peculiar ways and obsessions on anybody but me causes me and them a lot of undo stress.  Why do I start an argument over a trivial thing like hanging the bath towels over the towel racks as opposed to over the tub?

The very people I’d lay my life down for are usually the very ones that I give “what for” most often.  That’s wrong and sad that I’m more likely to accept unacceptable behavior from a stranger, than I am my own flesh and blood.

We’d have a lot more harmony in our homes, if we’d just let the little things go sometimes.  My personality traits are just that..mine.  And, my Chipper’s are his…and Jena’s are hers…and Joshua’s are his…and my mother’s are hers….and my father in law’s are his… and Tammy’s are hers….perhaps if I could remember that, long suffering and self control wouldn’t be so difficult.

I have a bad habit of nit picking about stuff that irritates me…and the main irritation is that I’m the only one whose irritated.  You know those fruits of the Spirit talked about in Galatians?  Well, the self control and long suffering varieties are my lemons.  But, I found out a long time ago that unless I got a handle on those two, it was going to be an uphill battle to grow the rest.

How can I possibly exemplify goodness, kindness, gentleness, joy, peace, and love…if I’m always criticizing and finding fault with everything someone else does?  How can I walk in the Spirit, if I’m angry, stressed out and unable to relax?  It’s hard to exude any joy when I’m so tense and uptight that I can’t even sit down and enjoy a conversation without fretting over the dishes.

So, I’ve been working harder at “relaxing” and slowly, but surely I really have seen progress.  For going on a week now, when I wake up at my normal time, 3am, instead of tiptoeing down the stairs, turning on the stove light and dish by dish, rearranging the cabinets, I’ve refrained from my longstanding ritual.  Let me tell you.. it’s a nightmare to lie awake in the dark, imagining all those cups randomly sitting in the cupboard.  It takes every ounce of strength I can muster to stay put….it’s more work not to work…than it ever was to get up and work!  I still wake up but, I haven’t been getting up.  At least I’m climbing upwards instead of slipping backwards.

Today, I was about to make a snippy remark about the bazillion papers that my Chipper had strewn at his end of the couch, but, guess what?  I walked right on by! Yes I surely did!

And you know what?  When I walked past them without nagging my husband, I won a round in my battle with long suffering and self control.  I fixed myself a cup of tea, grabbed a Better Homes and Gardens and headed to the deck, giving myself high fives and a round of silent applause.

And, the most wonderful thing happened.  My Chipper noticed my restraint. He came to the door and gave me a thumbs up.  You should’ve seen that grin on his face.  It was like a domino choosing to avoid an unnecessary quarrel, I not only got a gold star for long suffering and self control but love, peace, joy, kindness, goodness, gentleness…just sort of fell into place. 😀

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kelly Coker
    Nov 03, 2010 @ 22:16:38

    From one neat freak to another, I enjoyed every word. I too understand the frustrations and agree that we must choose our own battles. This is oh so hard to do for people wired like us. Proud of you sister!!!


  2. Nett
    Nov 03, 2010 @ 22:18:17

    HeHeHeHe….You go girl!!!


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