My Story

The story of where I was, how I realized that my prioritized life was missing the mark, and when I began clearing my queue is a long one. Over 30 years long, in fact. Reading it shouldn’t be quite as time-consuming as living it.

The story of my recovery all begins with a Netflix subscription.

Long ago we bid a cheerful farewell to our television service and enrolled in Netflix. It is the homeschooler’s documentary heaven, without the questionable commercials. With Netflix, we could select programs from an online catalogue and add them to our queue, where they are available to watch instantly.  When the children were asleep, I would sit down to preview a program for class or to enjoy an old classic. But I never watched one–not one! Instead, I would find just one more, just one more, just one more great program that I had to add to the queue. In no time at all I had over 400 shows in my queue. There was so much great stuff, so much clutter in our queue, that we could never find the jewel we were looking for. I never watched anything.

Just like my Netflix queue, my life had become overwhelmed by various forms of clutter–mental, physical, spiritual, emotional–all clutter.

I had carefully organized files, piles, cupboards and drawers full of wonderful activities and ideas for quality experiences with my six children. I had tips on marriage, homeschooling, crafting, homesteading, cooking, you name it. I had magazines, catalogs, cookbooks, articles, print-outs, curricula, and unidentifiable boxes of stuff. They were all wonderful things that I did not want my family to miss. I was so busy organizing, collecting and constantly tidying that I never actually got around to doing any of it.

I was trying so hard not to miss out on all the wonderful experiences of life, that I was missing out on life itself.

My computer was cluttered with a backlog of inspired writing projects, each preventing the others from reaching completion. My desk was cluttered with piles of important to-dos, each paper burying something more urgent. My mind was cluttered with the latest health news to the point that I became a hypochondriac; I worried so much about not being around for my children, that I was mentally not around for my children. My sewing cupboard was filled with projects I had started with my children, only to drop them for the next great idea. My heart was cluttered with unrealistic expectations for life and relationships, resulting only in self-justified resentment every time life and people did not measure up.

And this is only the tip of a very dangerous, very ugly iceberg.

One day, my Handsome Prince kissed his Sleeping Tolerable-To-Look-At and woke me up. He wisely informed me that I had been missing life in my attempt to make it as fulfilling and well-rounded as possible. I was trying to give my family good health, great education, strong faith, positive character, fun evenings, peaceful mornings, an unlimited array of skills, a great mama, a fit wife, a super cook, a successful writer, and just about every positive educational character-building experience available. What did I give them? A frumpy, stressed, anxiety-riddled, joyless, bitter, UNfun shell of a woman with flabby thighs. I woke up and wondered where the last 10 years of my life had gone.

It was time to get back to the basics, to focus on what mattered, to clear my queue, so to speak. I began immediately.

I cleared my queue mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I stopped looking for the next best thing for my family and homeschool and business. I stopped second-guessing my well-thought-out-and prayed-about decisions. I forgave people and stopped wasting my time with bitterness and discontent. I gave away masses of items to people who would actually use them, not just store…no, hoard them, as I was doing. I threw away files and files of activities and recipes that we would never get around to using because we were too busy filing activities and recipes. I gave things over to God and left them there. And I stopped letting the negatives, the fears, and the clutter back in.

The burden tumbling off my shoulders has been remarkable.

It is a long process still in the making, but it is a daily release, a daily renewal, a daily joy to return to simplicity and provide my family with an even more well-rounded, fulfilling life.

If you long to find extra time in your life, extra room in your home, extra space in your heart, then join me as I continue to clear my queue.

My hope for you and me both is a simple home, simple faith, simple life.

33 thoughts on “My Story”

  1. Gosh, I can relate. I’ve been sort of down lately because that’s exactly what I’m sensing I’m doing. Guess God had me come here and began reading this for a reason.

    Thanks…I didn’t finish. Kids are howling, “Their hungry.” But I’ll be back… I stopped at, “I was trying so hard …”

  2. I have to agree with Angela. I’ve certainly been looking to make a lifestyle change. The Lord must have lead me here to get confirmation that it’s doable. I look forward to traveling thorough your site and gleaning some of the wisdom you’ve learned.

  3. Wow, this is exactly how I’ve been feeling! Your story closely matches mine and though I haven’t completely let go of trying to do it all, be it all I have recognized it and am in the process of giving thsoe unrealistic expectations to the Lord. I can’t wait to come back and visit here again soon!

    1. Unrealistic expectations, both of others and ourselves, are burdens we are not meant to bear, and yet, it is astoundingly difficult to get rid of them…and keep them from coming back. Recognizing it is the first important step. God’s blessings on your journey toward peace and simplicity!

  4. Wow, I could have written that…I have so many slips of papers, torn out magazine articles, books, etc full of great ideas yet I am too busy collecting MORE ideas and not able to find time to try any of these great ideas! I love, “I stopped letting the negatives, the fears, and the clutter back in.” I’ve been writing a lot lately on my negativity and my fears so that I can focus on LIVING, so that I may experience the joy that can only be abundantedly given by God(there is no joy in clutter)! 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment, Laurie. I threw away (burned even) all my files full of “somedays,” and now my “todays” are much brighter. You’re right. There is no joy in clutter. As Mary Poppins says, “Enough is as good as a feast!” As God says, “Be content in everything.” I’m on a quoting frenzy. Please stop me!

  5. Whoa…so weird how God does that b/c just like a couple of others commented I was just “hopping” around (I read your comment on GraceFullMama and just thought I’d click over here) and this too is what I needed to hear b/c I am like you…I research, read, collect, file away ideas but what am I doing with all of them?! Thanks for sharing and inspiring. Blessings!

    1. Welcome, Sarah, and thanks for dropping by. My home and life are less cluttered since I got rid of all my “projects” and expectations, and I truly enjoy my family more and can spend more time with them. Still a work in progress, however.

  6. Thank you for sharing and being honest! I, too, have been collecting, saving, cleaning, etc. As I was homeschooling my two oldest children, I realized I haven’t used all the stuff that I am saving and chances are, I won’t. I haven’t been enjoying my life … just doing what needs to be done. Today, I said to myself, I want to be the fun mommy that I was as a preschool teacher before children! I want to be the person I thought I was going to be as a mommy…I want to be whom God created me to be. When I read “A frumpy, stressed, anxiety-riddled, joyless, bitter, UNfun shell of a woman with flabby thighs.” THATS me! Thank you again! God Bless!

    1. And thank YOU for your honesty! It’s nice to know we’re not alone. 🙂 God’s blessings on your journey toward a simpler, more fun life as mama!

  7. I too have realized that I have been living in a land if paper dreams. Sometimes I pull something out for someone else to run with, but then feel a bit empty that I did not go and do it. I guess I need to do me today.
    I have been tossing stuff but I bet doing it faster might make me feel better….I think I will get to it NOW,

  8. Hi Christy, I just subscribed to your blog. I tend to go from one extreme to the other.Maybe I can learn to find a spot more toward the middle with your blog.

    P.S. frumpy and flabby thighs,etc. fit me perfectly! Lol! Linda

  9. WOW! All I can say is WOW! I was just looking around on Google for “how I should decorate with a biblical theme” and ended up here. Just by reading your story, I’ve been truly blessed. Along with all of the others here who have commented, I can totally relate to you, too. I am a Christian, married to a Chrisitian ;), a mom of four, I homeschool, I worry about our health too much and being around for my children, I am an aspiring writer, I want to be a super wife, mom, teacher, daughter, sister, friend, church member and the list just goes on and on. I too have felt so overwhelmed and anxious and have wondered where the last ten years of my life has gone. I need to pray, pray, pray and purge, purge, purge. Your story has been a blessing to me. Thank you so much for your testimony and HONESTY. I need to change my to do list so that I can be a better me, wife and mom, but most of all a better servant to the Lord. Thank you so much.

  10. So very well said! I pray this for my daughters and for me. That our focus will be on living life, loving the Lord and enjoy all the good and not worring about the “what ifs” that we can’t control anyway!

    I just found your blog and I love it. I just became a follower!

  11. Oh My Goodness Girlfriend I am glad I’m reading this now before I get too far gone in life-wondering where the time had gone! Forget this..trying to do it all by myself, i’m gonna do what you said over at the humble homemaker and let the kida join in with me and teach them about life “hands on”! Thanks’re one I wanna keep up with!! God Bless! ps. I too am decluttering and you’re really blessing me to keep me on track! I have four kids and am homeschooling too, just beginning this long journey of becoming an effective FUN home maker..and beautiful too :)!

  12. Forget this..trying to do it all by myself, i’m gonna do what you said over at the humble homemaker and let the kida join in with me and teach them about life “hands on”! Thanks’re one I wanna keep up with!! God Bless! ps. I too am decluttering and you’re really blessing me to keep me on track! I have four kids and am homeschooling too, just beginning this long journey of becoming an effective FUN home maker..and beautiful too :)!

  13. Ohmuhword… wow… I was researching “roadschooling”, found a guest post you’d written, then your family blog, and reading this? The Lord knew *exactly* what He wanted me to hear tonight. *Thank you* for your honesty and putting into a clear metaphor what I’ve struggled with for several years. I’ve “pinned” more ideas than I could ever do, accumulated more “supplies” than use, and expected more of myself and my family than God ever intended. So clearing the queue is exactly what I need to do. Thank you for the inspiration! Your imagery is gold! Can’t wait to explore your blog further!

  14. I just found your blog and have been reading everything! Mental and physical clutter is going to be my undoing, and I’m inspired by what you wrote here to make some real changes. While you may not SEE my clutter, it’s there, neatly stored away (taking up space, again, both mentally and physically) and it’s not pretty. I’m kind of up to here with ‘good intentions’ and am now more focused on what God wants to do with my life. So, I’m going home to purge the ‘physical’ stuff and start now on the mental clutter. Thanks Christy! You have a great blog and a great family. I am so glad to see something written from a Christian, yet realistic, perspective. I’m already imagining the joy someone is going to get from my ‘stuff’ once I empty my neatly stored boxes and donate the contents. Someone may need the things I don’t need, and that will make me happy! Double blessing – my boxes will be gone! My filing cabinet will come next!!

  15. As I searched for an easy bread recipe to make for dinner, I came upon your website and the bread was delicious! By the time dinner was finished, dishes were done, and I sent our girls outside to play, I told myself to sit down for a few quiet minutes to check email. Before I did so, the many resources at the top of your page beckoned me to explore this website. I wanted to know more about you, the author, of such a fantastic perspective. It was then that I read about the “old you” whom I completely relate to and recognize as myself! Ironically, I have recently begun to clear the clutter of my life by way of cleaning out closets, desks, the garage, etc. A recent garage sale reinforced my purging. I have been hanging on to so many pieces of my children’s art, letters, clothing, and such in an effort to always cherish every moment of my life as a mother. However, the need to be the perfect wife and mother has been limited due to my collecting of several memorabilia. I have been feeling so overwhelmed these past 7 years that I had begun to feel helpless. I knew rationally that I needed to simplify my life by getting rid of the hand-me-down clothes and things that are filling our house and minds. I really appreciate that I was led to your webiste: you are an inspiration! Wish me luck on my journey. I want to be more balanced. Thank you!!!

  16. I’m still trying to “clear my queue” as you call it! I hate clutter and since becoming seriously disabled that’s what my life has become. I can’t even walk across my bedroom without tripping on some pile or another, and I can hardly walk so its dangerous. When your life becomes dangerous to live, its time. I don’t quite know how to go about it, because I’m alone in the world, and can’t even attend church. I did call a pastor for prayer today for healing. I need to heal at least enough to take care of the clutter in my life. I feel I’m betraying my Lord to live like this. I wish it was easy, but its not. I want to just toss it all in the trash. LIfe has become very complicated for me, as I can’t even bring the trash to the corner of late and it accumulates week after week in the driveway. Thank God I have a large trash container. I need help. I pray to God he will send me a helper. I feel so alone sometimes without flesh and blood help in my life. Only Jesus can help me now. I pray he will make this easy on me as I struggle everyday just to get out of bed to participate in the only life I’ve know for almost ten years now, struggling to get through each day in pain and weakness. I don’t see how my life is glorifying to God. I just don’t have the strength for the physical battle. I had a dream last night that I was healed. It was beautiful. For the first time in a decade the pain was gone. I could walk in the woods again. But it preceded a coming war. That was my dream. This needs to be my reality for the war is coming. I need strength for the battle. I want to be a warrior for Christ again! I’m on my back almost all the time now. I am trying to create a website to evangelize the unbelieving. I feel Christ has been dealing with me regarding this for some time. You are an inspiration to me in that way. I had a family once, like you. My mothering and wife-ing days are long behind me. My children are scattered to the four winds and I have little contact with them since becoming sick. I miss my daughter especially. But the facts are facts. This is what I’m dealing with. I want to get up in the morning and fill trash bags with everything on my floor. I pray I have the strength to do this. Thank you, and keep on keeping on.

    1. I’ve been thinking about your comment for some time. You are in my prayers. Has God sent you a physical helper? Please call your local churches–perhaps they have a women’s group, men’s club, or teen organization interested in serving others in the community.

      On an even more practical level, the FlyLady taught me to find one area in my home (she used her kitchen sink), clean it as slowly or quickly as you are capable, and keep that one spot clean. Gradually, the cleanliness will “migrate” out as you slowly make your way through your house–slowly, yes. Slow progress is still progress.

      Please know that God can use you to His glory no matter what your circumstances. Your attitude, faith, trust–those are mighty examples and weapons.

      My prayers are with you.

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