I recently experienced a revelation. To some of you this will sound more “No duh!” than “Oh, wow!” but I share with confidence that someone out there can relate. Here’s the revelation: chores I tackle the moment I notice them are easier than chores I avoid for a while before addressing them. Your mind is blown, right?
Although this may seem obvious, it took a while to click for me. I fell prey to a shortsighted logic that told me, “This mess is not that bad; you can deal with it later.” That seems to make sense.
See? Not that bad. It can wait.
But here’s another way of saying the same thing: “You should deal with this mess only when it grows to a size and severity you can’t ignore.” That’s nonsense.
I was using the fact that any given mess was small and manageable as an excuse to put off dealing with it. What I could have done instead—what I am working on doing on a daily basis now that I realized procrastination has caused me undue stress—is to recognize that small, manageable messes are far less stressful to eliminate than long-ignored, overwhelming messes.
Five minutes, maybe?
But I still don’t like doing dishes. What’s your dreaded chore? How do you motivate yourself to complete it?
I just read that the name Israel probably means “he struggles with God.” Wow. This week I had a conversation with a friend about how we struggle in our faith. We question its place in a pluralistic society. We revisit certain doubts over and over. So I find it encouraging to read that Israel is named for struggle.
That means God knows us as we really are. Israel was the name of a man before it became the name of the nation of his descendants, but what man and nation share is a history of struggle. Israel was born Jacob, the conniving twin of Esau; the man who dreamed of angels on a stairway from earth to heaven; the man who wrestled with God. Much like him, I have pretended to be what I am not. I have dreamed big, then gone back to my old ways of living. I have tried to take hold of God with the same demand Jacob made after fighting all night: “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
The blessing in Jacob’s case was a new name. The blessing in my case is knowing that God understands. He may not answer all my questions, at least not right away. When Jacob asked, “Please tell me your name” he only replied, “Why do you ask my name?” But Jacob, now Israel, knew. He said, “I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
I think sometimes we believe that God doesn’t want anything to do with us until we have our lives and our thoughts in order. Doesn’t this prove otherwise?