Sometimes I clean to control.
You see, life has uncertainties. There are so many things we do not know and cannot control, things that are out of our hands.
Life is full of question marks.
But, then, how do we handle such uncertainties and question marks?
This is important to ask, because we never reach a point where there are no uncertainties and we have everything under control.
I experience anxiety sometimes because of this. Especially when the uncertainties are closer to home. Or when I can’t fool myself in a given moment that I do indeed have control over this or that.
I realize how I can sometimes try to arrange my life (or at least my day) to avoid facing uncertainties.
For my family, there are question marks too. Our kids are getting older. We have twin sons who will soon be 14 and a daughter who is 18. We’re aware that the next few years will likely bring more changes than the previous several years.
Now, I do tend towards worry, introspection, and, occasionally, melancholy. I can get caught up in my own thoughts. I occasionally need someone sensible like my wife to pull me out of my own head.
Because I have so many reasons for gratitude, it’s almost ridiculous. I have so many reasons to trust that my Lord and God will be with me and will lead me, it’s almost stupid of me to get bogged down in the question marks.
Yet I do all the same. That’s why I sometimes clean to control. If I get a particular physical space I inhabit regularly under some control, it gives me a feeling of relief. Maybe even a bit of peace.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with cleaning a room or organizing a specific space, but I shouldn’t allow this to make me think I have control over something I don’t.
Instead, I’m learning—far too slowly, unfortunately—to trust that I can trust God with all the things I’m uncertain and anxious about.
Where I see question marks, he sees sentences that end with a period. Or maybe, on occasion, exclamation points.
For sure, I’m better than I used to be. I used to carry around anxiety like a wallet. Right there, ready to pull out, whenever needed. Now it’s a little more like something I pick up once in awhile rather than something I always have with me.
Though I hate that I can still let the same question marks bother me.
Which means I’ll likely be motivated to clean in the same way sometimes.
But Lord willing—and I mean that literally!—I will increasingly leave the question marks in his hands, knowing that whatever comes my way I only need to walk in his.