“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. Matthew 23:25-17 (NIV)
Ever since I can remember, I have coped with stress by cleaning and organizing. It helps me to relax and mentally prepare for the tasks ahead. Last week was a particularly trying period at work and home. It was not easy being a supervisor, plus we are in the midst of our busiest season as March is Heritage Days. At home, we were preparing for a house inspection which we had to pass in order to be able to fire State Farm Insurance and contract with another company. There were lots of hoops to jump through we could be reimbursed for the repairs to youngest son’s car, and oldest son was waiting to hear about a new job in his field, but did not get it. I had to go back to the doctor for more medicine to counteract the side effects of the steroids and antibiotics I have been taking. My dad had to have an MRI for his back. Husband’s first quarter statement for his retirement account arrived with its jaw dropping depreciation. Throw in a meeting at church, and I was about over the edge. So, what did I do? I cleaned my desk at work and threw away a bunch of papers and old meeting notes. I set up a file cabinet at home with insurance information and the kids’ school reports. I reorganized our medicine cabinet, sorted through the linen closet and cleaned out the refrigerator. The most impressive thing I did was create a glass workshop in our garage. Up until now, I have been working on a folding table on our front porch. Husband made me a space in his garage so I could have a more permanent set up, but I still had only had the folding table which not only was too small, but too short and it killed my back to bend over it. A friend of husband’s heard of my dilemma and offered his father’s old workbench. It is not pretty, but is exactly what I needed with lots of drawers for my tools and supplies and shelves to store glass. It was very generous of him to give it to me as I am sure it had sentimental value. His dad’s initials are even stamped into the top. I spent all day on Sunday getting it organized. I can’t wait to be able to work out there. Despite all my efforts at cleaning and organizing, I still will not be able to cope with the stress load in my life unless I have more than a tidy office or home. It is what is in my heart that will enable me to overcome hard choices, a tough economy, health issues and whatever other problems life throws my way. A heart full of peace, love and hope can only come from God and is available just for the asking. I would be wise to focus more on seeking a deeper relationship with Him, than sweeping floors or emptying drawers.