I’ve been reading a book that has challenged me to reduce the noise in my life. From the clutter on my desks (home & work) to the clothes and shoes I no longer wear to the unnecessary time I spend on social media, the noise must be reduced. Eradicated would be even nicer but I’m learning to set realistic goals, make sustainable change. Like placing a roll of toilet paper so that the sheet hangs over not under.
Before getting married, I began asking myself what things I’d be willing to do differently in the name of reasonable compromise. I figured that two people living together eternally doesn’t happen easily so why not address the easy stuff ahead of time. Before we said, “I do,” I asked my fiancé if he cared which way the toilet roll sat. He preferred over. And so, in my first memorable act of compromise, I began placing the roll over once we got hitched and started sharing space. It was, and is, change I can sustain.
I grew up with under, therefore, that’s what was right in my mind, proper in fact. Changing that age-old stuff isn’t easy because there’s a value placed on it. The same is true in my closet. I’ve got items I’ve held onto because of the value I’ve placed on them. So even if they no longer fit or have an irreparable hole, their ability to take me back to 1999 makes them irreplaceable and, therefore, impossible to let go. Well, not really impossible. But certainly very hard.
So a lot of my current journey is about reframing. (Sometimes all a picture needs is a better frame–the details become clearer.) There are habits I’ve fostered that need to be broken but won’t be unless I change how I see them. Because breaking a habit typically doesn’t happen quickly. I can’t expect my brain to no longer process the way it’s been processing for 20 years. And while I choose to believe some of the stories of people quitting something cold turkey, I also know that permanent change is healthiest when we treat it like the process that it is versus a moment in time.
Now, unless God communicates some particular instructions, I’m not about to pair down my closet to 10 items or only have 1 pen in my desk drawer. What I will do is make the time to do what I currently know to do, to reduce the noise, to free up space in my head, to make it easier to listen…and obey. If or as that knowledge shifts, so will I. And believe me when I say that even the small steps need heaven’s help. So even though I’m focusing on change I can sustain, I’m not saying I don’t need God; I’m essentially staying away from the unnecessarily dramatic steps we take that we say are God but are really our insecure movements that only last a minute because their impractical and uncalled for.
Here’s to toilet rolls and better days.