Being Overwhelmed: Laundry and Life

I hate laundry.  It never ever ends.  In the event that I get caught up, everyone puts their clothes down that they wore that day and the vicious cycle begins again.  I have a laundry chute and that can be a very bad thing.  I close the door of the chute and pretend that laundry is not happening.  I can do this over a busy week.  I ignore it, do other things, and then I hear, “Hey mom!  The clothes are pouring out of the laundry chute upstairs!”  I then have to open the door and it falls down on top of me.  I become so OVERWHELMED.  I do not know where to start and a feeling of anxiety takes root.  I then just pick out the emergency pieces that are necessary and continue to ignore it because it is just too hard.

Life can be that way in all areas.  Our feelings, work load, relationships, and sin can all accumulate over time.  I call it the snowball effect.

I’m okay… I’m okay…I’m not okay.

This is one area that I have been growing in my life.  Since I am a pleaser, I am fine.  I can handle it.  I am good.  Until I am not.  This happens most when I suppress large emotions over time and then I will explode over something small.  When we were first married, poor John never knew what hit him.  It was such a transition.  We both were learning to live with one another and it was challenging.   Plus, I was the master of keeping records of wrongs, so when I exploded, things came up from 3 months before.

Strong emotions last 25 minutes.  Ride the wave.  Respond.

In the peak of adolescence, the girls and I tested my theory that strong emotions last 25-30 minutes.  Instead of asking one another to suck it up, we would just say what it was.  “I am really mad right now.”  “My heart hurts.” Once we owned them, we would cry, go run, do the thing that helps us cope and process.  We then might talk about it or we would move on.  But, we responded, we recognized it, and we dealt with it.  Stuffing feelings only result in larger feelings of that variety over time.

Whether the wave is a good one or a bad one, it eventually reaches the shore.

Little things turn into big things.  Good or bad.

Doing the little things can be hard.  We would rather do the things that we get recognition for instead of the things that nobody sees.  The little things are hard because they are monotonous.  (practice, dishes, laundry, cleaning, studying, etc.)  The little things are where we exercise our minds, faith, and bodies.  We enjoy the harvest, but sometimes we do not enjoying taking care of the crop.  We discount the importance of the little things in daily life.

When I first became a Christian, the people mentoring me gave me a huge list of rules.  I could not wear shorts.  I could not swim with mixed company.  I could not…   And for someone that struggles with perfectionism, I quickly became overwhelmed with it.

But, I learned that God slowly changes the little things in me.  He convicts me of things a little at a time. Over time, my life is changed for the better.  The little things make the big things happen.

This is a quote from Randy Alcorn that I love:

                                                      Sow a thought, reap an action.

                                                      Sow an action, reap a habit.

                                                      Sow a habit, reap a character.

                                                      Sow a character, reap a destiny.

I have lived most of my life overwhelmed.  I am learning to enjoy doing the little things.  I TRY to do a load of laundry a day from start to finish.  Just one.  I was standing in my laundry room a couple of months ago holding up a pair of teenage girl underwear and thinking, “Why can’t they be wearing Curious George underwear still? Where did time go?” And after I had my moment of strong emotion, I celebrated that the girls are still home and that we still have a little more time.

I also keep my laundry chute door open and let the clothes just fall into the basket. I do not close it and pretend it isn’t there.  I can’t hide it.  I have decided that it is time to not just air out my dirty laundry, but process it and move on.  I have it.  You have it.  It is time to deal with it one load at a time.


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