Time

A few months ago, I bought 120 white plastic hangers.

It all started with a visit to a friends house. This friends house was really clean. Pristine. The kind of pristine that makes you feel like you are walking into a Pottery Barn catalog. The kind of pristine where even the washer and dryer are, well, pristine. There was no dust, no lint, no streaks of detergent, no lone, mysterious sock cluttering up her appliances. And then I got a peek at one of her closets–such wondrous organization!- and I couldnt help but notice that all her hangers matched.

Yes, I noticed that.

And I decided that I too wanted matching hangers. Silly, I know. But when I happened upon a hanger sale a few weeks later, I thought, What luck! and loaded up my cart. The following Sunday at church, when I casually mentioned to one of my friends about My-Matching-Hangers-Idea, she looked at me, more than slightly puzzled by my zeal, and said, smiling, teasingly- Donna, I think you need to go back to work.

See, over a year ago I became a mom. A stay-at-home mom. After working for nine years, and watching several friends blaze this trail before me, I kinda had an idea what this would look like. Lunches at Chick-Fil-A, playdates at the park, mornings spent shopping at Target. And time. I would have all this glorious time.

Time to be sure there was always a fresh pitcher of my husbands beloved sweet tea in the fridge. Time to clean the baseboards, straighten the garage, and vacuum my car. Time to read the Bible more. Time to pour into my relationships.

Time.

Eighteen months latermy husband makes his own sweet tea, my baseboards have never been dirtier, my garage looks like something from Hoarders, and my car is littered with cheerio crumbs and dried out hand-wipes. And I dont read the Bible any more than I use to. Maybe even less. And my friendships.. they are no deeper, no more authentic than they were, well, eighteen months ago.

And all those hangers? It has been six months and they are hanging in my closet all right. They are just clothes-less. All 120 of them still nicely wrapped in sets of ten inside their cardboard sleeves.

Why? I guess I could blame all this inertia on the busyness of life, on the demands of parenting a toddler. But to be honest, this inertia of mine is because I havent made the effort. It is that simple. That awfully simple.

This year, God is asking me to make the effort. So. Thats my one word. Effort.

When I looked up effort in the dictionary, I came across this meaning: a determined attempt. This year, that is what I am doing. Im not looking for perfection, I am just determined to attempt.

Dont get me wrong. God is not asking me to try harder, as if by sheer will I can become who He designed me to be. But with my one word, God is calling me to examine my character. I found that my natural inclination is towards procrastination and laziness. I like the easy way. I watch too much daytime TV. It is a crying shame that I know that Matt Lauer wasnt at work on Friday.

So, I am in the process of rearranging my days, so I can make the effort. It might mean getting up earlier, turning off Kathie Lee and Hoda, it might mean calling that friend and scheduling a coffee date even though it might not be convenient. In short, I am determined to attempt that whichever God has put on my heart, whether it is as practical and mundane as keeping house or as sacred as pouring over His word.

With that being said, I am now gonna close the laptop, and get to work. I have some hangers to see to.

  • Rick Olsen

    Great word and great story. I actually am one of those matching hanger/closet people. Other areas are not so neat, but my closet I can control. I even make sure all the shirts face the same way and I generally pull from the left and put back on the right to rotate my wardrobe–yikes! Effort is so key and often the small effort can be so huge. The effort to just hit the “off” button or take the dish all the way to the dishwasher instead of the counter . . . or to REALLY pray for someone instead of it being a nice way of saying “I’m done hearing about that problem of yours.” I pray (really) that you see clearly the opportunities for small efforts that yield big breakthroughs.

  • Donna,
    So. Very. Good!!
    I too am a stay-at-home mom, have been for many more years than your months and I so understand exactly what you’re saying. Time, it just slips away, and the day is over and the week and then the season and although there’s been busyness there’s no visible progress. I love your word – I’m going to incorporate it into mine. Thank you for such an honest and thought-provoking and well written post!

  • pam

    Donna,
    Thank you for sharing reality of a stay at home mom! Congratulations on that job title! It is the best title you will ever have! Enjoy the time with your child…THAT is your priority! Take it from this empty nest Mom that had all the matching hangers and the clean floors you could eat off. The hangers will wait…but your child will grow older!

  • WOW, we are alike!! The year is coming to an end, and I am about to embark on a journey in 2012 via an art journal class. I need to pick a word. I LOVE the choice you made, it is soo fitting for me too!!
    I realize I need to make more of an “effort” in every aspect of life!!!
    So with that I do believe I’ve chosen my word, THANKYOU!!
    I hope it all went well!