The last year of my life has been about improving the livability of my life. I have worked to improve myself at my job and at home. I have worked to organize and simplify. I have stepped up into things that God has led me to, and opened my hand to release my plans to Him…and I have waited. I am still waiting on some things.
As I have waited I have tried to focus on doing everything I can to make the most of the lessons I am learning. I have seen the benefits of removing clutter and how it soothes my soul. I have reaped the benefits of spending time researching and teaching things I used to expect others to do for me. I am focusing on including creativity regularly in my life. While this is definitely still a work in progress, I know I am in the right place, doing the right thing.
Removing the clutter from my life has been of so much benefit, I wondered where I might benefit from applying this lesson that I hadn’t yet thought of. Sure, the garage and my room/office are obvious places to de-clutter; but there are other areas of my life that need work…areas that seem to always need work.
So I decided to see if I might apply this lesson of removing the clutter and creating space to my area of greatest weakness…food. My part of the refrigerator and pantry. My shopping list. My daily meals. Have you ever thought of such things as being cluttered? I hadn’t, until recently. Now it seems like a revelation.
My pantry shelf is a mess, filled with bits and pieces of items that have been in there for ages. Things I purchased because I had a coupon or it was on sale and I thought I might use them for for small group snacks or tea with friends or Christmas cookie projects with my sister’s kids; but that never happened. I have “just in case” items that are there for if I am sick or if I run short on groceries unexpectedly. A poor woman’s stockpile. If I look at them with my new, healthier, de-cluttering eyes…I see the stuff of distrust and unhealth. I have gluten-free thai noodle packs in case I get sick and there’s no one to help me. The stuff I bought with no real need for them are there because I’m afraid I won’t have the money at some point in the future to buy what I might need. The way that clutter in a garage or room points to the fact you don’t trust you will have what you need when you need it, my pantry items were saying the same thing. I gathered and held onto things that I might need because I feared. I feared they wouldn’t be there when I did need them.
My grocery list often spoke of the same thing. Everything on sale with a coupon that I could get the most of (not what I needed to meet my needs). I didn’t trust I would have enough.
So I have spent time decluttering this part of my life. I went through and threw out all the expired items. I gave away things that weren’t expired that I didn’t have any immediate plans for. And I de-cluttered my grocery list. I went back to the “7” plan, buying only the dietician approved chicken, eggs, whole grain bread (gluten free), sweet potatoes, spinach, apples, and avocados.
It sure simplifies things. I know exactly what I need and how much it will cost me every week. I am eating healthy foods without having to stress over counting calories or worrying about portions. I save money and eliminate waste because I only buy what I know I will eat by the end of the week. Nothing goes bad. (Except sometimes the avocados, because they have a sneaky way of being hard one day and overly ripe the next; but even that I’m getting better at determining!)
I also include a Sabbath break with my eating. During the week, I often face cravings (don’t we all?) but they are easier to deal with when I tell myself that if I’m still craving it on Sunday I can have that thing. I allow myself a Sabbath meal to be free to eat what I want, no guilt. (Just one meal, not a day of eating poorly or a weekend…as that tends to be much harder to walk away from when Monday comes around). One meal is easy. Half the time my cravings don’t last until the weekend, which gives me a better sense of self-control. The boundaries of the healthy groceries allow me to lose weight without focusing on what I can’t have (only on what I do have). My Sabbath meal reminds me that I am free to eat what I want, within boundaries…and that boundaries are for my own good. I see how negatively sugar affects me with so much more ease when I rarely have it. It makes it easier to choose to avoid it.
I find that I enjoy the food I do have. I enjoy my Sabbath meal more than I would if it were a frequent occurrence. And I enjoy trusting that God will provide for my needs. It’s no longer about me scraping by to take care of myself. It’s about being thankful for what I have and resting in the provision of God’s plan.
I wonder what other ways I can apply this?