Saturday, November 6, 2010

Control...or Order??

This morning Mark and I were facing this out in the garage:

Many of my middle-aged adventures are teaching me to stop wanting to be such a control freak.

Sometimes I have to let go of my desires to be in control of a situation, and let God take care of things. My control-ish-ness can be a denial of faith, as in, this will never work if it doesn't go the way I think it should go. Of course, I frequently learn that God has a better way, a way I never dreamed of, and if I just back off and let Him take over, things turn out so much better than I could have ever imagined.

I tell myself I have learned this lesson, but then I found myself getting a little tense when Mark mentioned the other day that he would really like to be able to park the car in the garage again, what with winter coming along, and all.

The garage is definitely something I would like to see whipped into shape. I have been avoiding the garage for months, because so much it seems totally out of control, and I have no idea what to do about any of it. And even though I've been working on giving up trying to be in control of everything, I've been pretty sure that God wasn't going to take charge of the mess in the garage.

Luckily, Mark had a vision of how things could be rearranged. I was a little grumpy about the whole project, but I showed up to help him, and after an hour of sorting and sweeping, we had this:

Still not perfect, not entirely satisfactory to my control-freak way of thinking, but I have to admit that there is actually a certain kind of order to Mark's tool bench at the front of the garage. The clutter kind of drives me crazy, but I have watched him--many times--go exactly to what he needs on the tool bench. Somehow, he has a system there that makes sense to him.

I think back to my days as a mama of whole tribe of young children, with the clutter and chaos they could so effortlessly create. Somehow I always knew that the first step to cleaning up the mess was to have a place where everything belonged, a system that was easy for me and the kids to keep track of. I always felt that the underlying environment was the most important thing, that it was better to have a systematic plan for the things that cluttered our lives, than to simply move the clutter out of sight. I tried to set up developmentally appropriate storage systems for toys, art supplies, school needs, clothes, etc. that worked for me and the kids, and I found that working with all the "stuff" of our lives in this way kept me far more sane than cramming things into a closet.

I didn't have to be controlling--as in, bossy, insisting, critical--if there was a system that naturally encouraged order. There is a fine, subtle line between demanding that others do it my way and working together to maintain order.

Hahaha - not to say that my children were angels, and the toys were always picked up without any nagging from me! Not at all! But having fewer toys out at a time, having places where the toys belonged--and having children who understood what the system way--made everything so much simpler for all of us.

Today, out in the garage, Mark and I worked together to establish a little more order. We'll work on another section of the garage another day, but for now, we have accomplished Mark's goal...

...a warm, dry car, no matter what the weather!


Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

Looks great! Thanks for helping us set up the shelves, so our garage can have more order too. :)

Patricia said...

Oh, you guys are great! Only one hour of work? Fantastic! We need to follow your example. I'd love to be able to get a car in the garage this winter.