Tag Archives: purging

The Anti Nesting Instinct

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We still have 8 month left of this term.  Itineration is still too far away to begin disengaging from responsibilities and friendships.  But I can tell that I’ve already begun to lean into the change.  How can I tell, you may ask?  I have noticed a purging impulse has been activated in me.  I call it “The Anti Nesting Instinct”.

When a mother is waiting for a baby to be born, she starts frantically putting the house in order in preparation for her new arrival.  The Honey-Do list starts to fill up with all those little household repairs that have been ignored for so many months or years.  Mom-to-be starts filling up the house with new purchases and organizing drawers full of teeny tiny clothing.  That’s The Nesting Instinct.

Photo credit: jamelah / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: jamelah / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

So, logically, The Anti Nesting Instinct involves purging, cleaning out, throwing out, and giving away things.  It is recognized in the peacefulness of gazing contently into a nearly empty closet.  Its joy is magnified with each new pile of possessions successfully delivered to its new owners.  My recycling bin runneth over.

Last Saturday I tackled my daughters’ bed room.  It was a hoarder’s paradise.  The amount of cardboard and paper that I hauled out of their room was horrifying.  The scraps of old craft projects, plastic bottles rescued from the recycling bin, and half colored pieces of paper were pretty much the only things holding up my middle child’s bed.  I removed 4 full garbage bags of pure trash from their room, a mountain of toys and books that they had grown out of, and another bag full of clothes to give away.  This morning my daughter told me that she’s been opening and closing her closet door just for fun.  I understand this since more than once this week I’ve stood gazing with satisfaction into their super clean and nearly empty closet.  I love an organized closet.

Yes, the urge to purge has even manifested itself in my work at school.  I am tackling disorganization, clutter, and an absurd amount of pure junk that has been stored here since Jesus was a small child.  I am busting through cobwebs and pawing through moldy boxes in search of anything useful for my teachers before I dump the contents of a whole cabinet in the recycling bin.  Clean is a beautiful moment.

So even though it’s really too early to start thinking about leaving on itineration, my emotions are releasing their connection to the things I live with.  I have a mental To-Do list with dates attached to each task.  I will tackle these projects one by one and whittle away the last few months before we must face the overwhelming task of packing up the house for storage.  The Anti Nesting Instinct has kicked in.

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Running on the Hamster Wheel

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This is part 3 of our story of how we were called into missions.  If you missed the last 2 days, you can go back and read them, or you can pick it up from here.

We had just bought a new house, but something strange was happening to me.  I kept forgetting what the front of my house looked like.  I don’t know how many times I drove right past my own house and had to turn around and go back.  I just couldn’t fix it in my mind.  So one day as I was pulling out of the driveway I turned around for one last look of the house to try to fix it in my memory.  Suddenly the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “This isn’t yours, don’t get comfortable here.”  I had no idea what that meant.

There was a little lake across the street from our house, a mile and a quarter around.  I’ve never been a runner, but all that spring I had such a restlessness in my spirit so I started running around the lake in the mornings.  I’d run and run and run, trying to out run my restlessness.  Trying to escape out of my own mind.  I ran so much that I started to feel like a hamster running on the wheel, always running and never getting anywhere, uselessly running in circles.  I felt restless.  Change was coming.

Then the purging began.  I started giving stuff away.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe surrounded by so much stuff!  I just had to get rid of stuff.  I didn’t care about money, I just wanted to purge my life.  And with each gift to friends and family, I felt lighter and freer.  It felt good, so I kept doing it.  I just gave stuff away!  That was weird, but in a good way.  Change was still coming.

Then one day we came home from Youth Group on a Wednesday night and I felt like a light switch had just turned off in my heart.  “I think I’m done,” I told Josh.  That’s it, I’m just done.  Well, he wasn’t done.  But I said, “when you do feel done, don’t wait for me- I’m already there.” So that was that.  Nothing left to do but wait for God to make his move.  Waiting for change is like waiting for the storm to arrive.  Tense.

A few months later Josh walked into the senior pastor’s office and plopped down in the chair.  “I think I’m done.”  He finally was feeling the winds of change blowing through our lives and he too was uncertain about which direction they would carry us.  Our pastor suggested missions, knowing how much we loved going on our trips with our teenagers.  “Hmmm, maybe someday, but not yet” Josh said.  Our pastor graciously let us stay on staff until we figured things out, for as long as it took.

A month later we were on a missions trip to Mexico City that had been in the works for nearly a year.  We knew it was our last trip, but the kids didn’t know anything.  On the last day there, the missionary took us to the University campus UNAM.  He told us that there were 400,000 kids studying on this campus and it’s extensions, yet we have no ministry for them.  He asked us to walk around the campus and pray for God to send workers here.  Josh and I sat down on a bench together.  He looked at me and said, “Well, what do you think?”  and I knew exactly what he meant.

In a fraction of a second, I had an entire conversation in my heart with the Lord.  “Mexico?  Mexico?!?  But I took FRENCH!!!  Oh wait, is this one of those times when I say Yes to what you want and then you give me what I really want?”  No.  Then in a flash, the Lord took me to all the times that I had ever knelt at an altar after a missions service and begged, “Send me!  I’ll go ANYWHERE!  Just send me SOMEWHERE!”

And he asked me Did you really mean anywhere?”

I paused, then I said, “Yes Lord.  I did mean anywhere.  I will go where ever you ask me to go.”  And I had the sensation of free falling off a cliff… backwards, arms flung wide open… and I had no fear because I knew the Lord would catch me.  Surrender.

...Read part 4 tomorrow…