My husband has a most deceiving outward trait. If you were to watch him line up his shoes, clear off his desk space, or de-clutter our garage, you would think he was just an OCD neat-freak. We’ve all met people like that. They are sometimes just visibly annoyed when something is out of place or messy for more than 30 seconds. Well, that’s not my husband. It’s his motivation that makes all the difference. His greater purpose behind it all is so that he will be ready.
Ready for what? Anything! We never know when someone is going to show up at the door or when we want to hit a trail or kick a soccer ball around. If we know where things are, we don’t waste cycles looking for what we need. If we have too much stuff around, it slows us down, and distracts our focus from the most important things in life – meaningful connection and memorable moments. Don even seeks to have an empty inbox – not for the amazing accompishment it is in and of itself – but so that he can be ready to respond to those communications that are important, or so that he can unplug for a bit and not worry about missing overdue tasks.
Work and habits are definitely required to “be ready”, but it’s not a preparedness out of fear, but a readiness full of eager expectation.
“Empty-Handed, Open Hearted”
Leo Babauta’s article, Empty-Handed, Open-Hearted last week re-emphasized this concept for me. Don models a habit of “simplifying so he can execute,” in order that as a family, we can be ready to meet people with open hearts, sincere interest, and time to care.
When we really live into that, though, life often loses its cadence, its predictability, its balance. And sometimes I have a hard time accepting that. But many years ago, I heard some advice from a friend about life. She said that it’s futile and unnecessary to seek to balance life out continually. Rather, it’s more realistic to see and appreciate the natural “seasons” of life. Some of these seasons include the ebb and flow of a single day, and other times challenging seasons can span up to many years. As women juggling many roles, we might think that if we could just achieve equal success across all our responsibilities, we will enjoy a certain peace because everything feels balanced.
Better yet, I think if we adopt a mindset of purpose and readiness, the “stuff of life,” will take its place in rightful priority. We’ll work hard to shed the unnecessary clutter and be ready with open-hearts for the people and opportunities that matter most.