Stains have been a plague at my house right now. It started before the move and has escalated since we began the home repairs. I even wore the same jeans for 2+ weeks (yes, I did wash them a couple times) for the express purpose of keeping stains controlled to this single pair.
But it didn’t work. Not the way I thought.
When I would change to go to the grocery store, I thought this is a controlled atmosphere with nice accommodations, I want to look nice. But somewhere between leaving the house, visiting 2 stores, and coming home I picked up a large mark on my pant leg.
Seeing another stain left me feeling defeated.
I don’t have a lot of nice clothes. I don’t buy clothes often either, and when I was younger and would spend time and money on clothes – I bought all the wrong fabrics. Meaning they haven’t stood the test of time.
I’ve gone through many cycles in my mind from feeling perfectly confident to completely ashamed – and everything in between.
A while back I wrote about that – Less is less. I know all the hype and truth about minimalism, 10-item wardrobes, and the magical tidy-up lady – it has worked on me too. I do feel more able to breathe when the extras are removed.
But what happens when the extras are removed without your permission?
How does it feel to stain my favorite shirt? Not one pair but both pairs of khakis? When items are being taken out of my closet that feel essential, how does this feel magical?
When simplifying means sacrificing there is going to be less at the end of the day than the beginning. I no longer have khaki pants without stains. This is the less side. Sure, someday I will budget the cash to go find a new pair, but that wasn’t in the plan for this week (or even this month) so it isn’t even healthy for me to just look.
Or just want.
I thought I had limited my expectations of moving from our 2-room-situation into our own home – answering the questions kindly – “are you looking forward to having your own space again?” Of course, but after 11 moves in 10 years I’ve learned that moving is a lot of hard work and sacrifice.
Going to Target every time we “need” something doesn’t bring about healthy balance. The sacrifice of losing whatever it is (something broken, stained, doesn’t fit in the new space, etc) sometimes cannot be made right.
Sometimes I have to stay on the down side of the scale.
Sometimes I’m defeated by a stain.
Less is less.
And I was in a state of defeat when I read this:
I rejoice that these things keep reminding me to depend on You with all my heart…that they prompt me to trust in Your love, Your forgiveness, Your power, Your sufficiency, Your ability to overrule, and Your transforming presences within me. Thank You for the ways that my shortcomings and failures bring pressure on me to open myself to You more fully, and the way they let You show me deep and hidden needs: griefs and hurts that I’ve never poured out before You, that I’ve never exposed to Your healing touch, and sins that I’ve never faced and acknowledged. How grateful I am for Your constant cleansing as I confess each sin You make me aware of, and then turn back to You as my Lord. I praise You that I’m free from condemnation simply because Christ died for me and rose again…that it doesn’t depend on how well I live. – Ruth Myers with Warren Myers from 31 Days of Praise (quote from page 96 – 97)
Or how well I keep my clothes clean.
I know it seems like a silly thing to even write about, but my heart has been so hurt of these simple stains that I knew I had to work through it. There was no removing or replacing the problem. Only acceptance of less again.
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