This is the philosophy I live by when cleaning and organizing: it gets worse before it gets better.
When my desk area gets out of control with papers and books and an array of other things that shouldn’t be in a desk area (Legos, food wrappers, running watch…you just never know), I know the only way to tackle the mess is to spread it out all over the dining room in order to be sorted and organized properly. My husband would say it’s easier to keep it organized little by little as I go, but how is that fun?! (Truthfully, I’d really like to be able to operate his way when it comes to organizing. Maybe when I grow up.)
The “worse before better” mentality must be applied when approaching potty-training as well. Trust me – we’re nearing the end of this process as I type this. To be perfectly honest, I might have been okay with #3 staying in diapers a little while longer because diapers are easy. Diapers are convenient. And potty-training is neither easy nor convenient. I knew he had to be potty-trained, but I may have been dragging my feet a little as I thought about the time and energy that must be spent to get a kiddo out of diapers.
I put aside my fears two weeks ago and the potty-training began. It had been almost four years since my last experience, but I was suddenly thrown into the world of asking Double J every 15 minutes if he needed to go to the bathroom. Of running to the bathroom at any “sign.” Of coaxing him to sit on the toilet just a little longer so we wouldn’t be back there again in five minutes because he wasn’t actually done. Lord, have mercy.
Now, two weeks later, boy #3, our last, is now in underwear and I feel triumphant. I really do. But I’m honestly a little tired of all the time we’re spending in the bathroom. I’m reminding myself that this is part of the “worse” before the “better” of him being able to go to the bathroom independently. It’s a process and I know where we’re headed and that’s where I’ll keep my eyes fixed.
The cleaning and potty-training have been real life, in-my-face examples of something God has been trying to teach me about my heart lately. I’ve been holding on to some ugly stuff for a while because I just don’t want to deal with it. The ugly stuff is stuff many of you are probably struggling with as well. It feels “easiest” to just push it aside to work through another day. Except “another day” never comes.
This weekend, as I was making my way through another toddler-bathroom ordeal, I realized my spiritual eyes are too focused on the right now, when they should be looking to the “better” God wants for me. I will have to face some hard truths, make some sacrifices, go through a lot of discomfort in the “gets worse” part of the journey, but I have to trust God that it will all be worth it. And I will have to keep declaring to Him, as one of my favorite songs says, “You’ve never failed me and You won’t start now.”
It may seem easier to slap on a smile and stuff my stuff deep down to handle in the future, but I want to rip off the bandaid today to face the worst, work through it with my Savior, and get to the best He has promised me. And I know a clean heart will feel even better than having that clean desk and potty-trained toddler!