Confession and Lessons Learned

They say that confession is good for the soul.  I guess we’ll see about that shortly.

I’m more than a bit OCD about things at times (FYI: my husband probably just snorted whatever he was drinking when he read that–and so did a few of my friends.)  This isn’t new information to those who know me well. In fact, my sister can probably recall that when we shared a room, it looked like two different rooms within the same square footage.  All we needed was that wall down the center of the bed to make it happen. My side was the one with everything put away, the bed (my side only!) made-up properly, clothes hung up, and drawers all in order; her side was “lived in.”

In college, I couldn’t study until things were cleaned and put away. My roommate in grad school was often incredulous to find me cleaning the kitchen and scrubbing toilets on the nights before exams before I could sit down to study and I’m absolutely certain she thought I was nuts at times for that.  (She wasn’t far off, I guess, but that’s another story.)

When I moved into my first apartment in Atlanta, my sister helped me move everything in and the next time she returned, she walked around looking at everything, then turned to me and said, “You know this is a sickness, right?  Everything is just where it was when I left here the last time.”

I wrote all of that to say this: I’m a person of order. I do things when they’re scheduled and I try to be on time. I keep a detailed calendar and…I think you get the drift…which makes what I’m about to say even more shocking:  I spent most of last week reconciling the last year of bank statements.

Yes, a whole year’s worth.  I know.  I’m still a little bit in awe about it myself. (My apologies to my friends who work in accounting and banking and with the IRS…I’m so sorry I just made you all sick to your stomach. Please know this is highly irregular around here and I’m not expecting it to happen again any time soon. I’m still more than a little freaked out that it happened this time.)

It all happened so subtly starting in September of last year. We knew we were going to be moving, and then we moved him, but not me. And then I was back and forth every week and then we moved us and we were in two different places for several months–and at one time, we actually had three residences…with stacks of unrecorded receipts in all three locations.  (Yes, I know. It was bad.) I kept putting it off because the very idea of trying to organize bills and receipts from three locations and get everything else done that had to happen was more than I was capable of doing…and I’m really capable.  Something had to go.  It was the bank statements.  Bills got paid on time and, naturally, money got spent, but those bank statements were just easier to let sit.

Except that they weren’t just quietly sitting there on the desk. They plagued me. Every single time I sat at my computer, looked at that corner of the room, blogged, wrote a check or paid a bill of any kind, bought groceries, etc. You name it and this THING just hung over my head like the sword of Damocles. Until last week.

It took a whole week to do them–in part because some of the receipts had to be resurrected from different locations and some major remembering and deciphering was involved. And you know what?  I am now the free-est individual you know right now. My life is back in balance and I learned way more than just what my bank balance was.

I learned:

  • Do not ever do this ever again. Stay current on this even if you have to let other things go.
  • Procrastination is from the pit of hell…and I mean that literally.
  • You spend way more money than you think when you’re not keeping up with it like you should.
  • God is gracious to me…way, way gracious.
  • Sometimes you do have to let things go that you wouldn’t normally let go. It runs totally against everything I used to know and say, but there it is:  You can only do what you can do. After that, you need to administer some grace to yourself.
  • Once you sit in front of the computer looking at numbers for a solid week, you begin to appreciate the fact that there are toilets to be cleaned and laundry to be washed, but I do not recommend that you try my method of learning these things.
  • Finally being free from whatever it is that plagues you opens you up to be more creative in other areas. It is truly liberating in ways I didn’t realize. I know now why I’ve been so blocked artistically over the past year. I can’t wait to get back in the shop and I want to paint everything I see right now.
  • I’m grateful for the life I have and the people who share it with me.
  • I really did need that technology-free weekend I just took.
  • I reach for my phone way more than I thought I did…and I’ve done so while ignoring the real, live people in the room. (You, too?)
  • I seriously missed hearing all of the comments from around the world while I watched my college football games…even those who are just talking smack to annoy me. (grin)
  • I plan to deliberately miss those comments at least one weekend a month as I institute a regularly-scheduled technology-free weekend into my calendar so I can focus on the real live people in the room.
  • Confession IS good for the soul and I’m writing all of this really personal stuff just in case you also have a stack of bank statements that need balancing, or a phone call or a visit that you’ve been putting off, or anything else that makes your stomach knot up every time you think about it. Go do whatever it is…now. Right now. You’ll be glad you did.

And yes, I laughed at myself when I re-read the following verses and now, you can join in with me because, after all, life is too short not to learn and laugh at ourselves–and I don’t mind if you start with me.

” Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down…” Proverbs 12:25a

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:17

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

God is good…all the time.

Grace & Peace!