Well…confession time. I’ve been known to do this. I did it just yesterday. I just vacuumed the floor on Sunday and did not feel like getting the vacuum out again nor did I feel like picking up the rug and taking the rug all the way outside to shake it. I reasoned that it would all get done later in the week because we will be having friends over for dinner this Saturday night. But, in the mean time, I could not stand looking at my crumb covered rug. So, I opted for the easy solution.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that this little bad habit of mine is very similar to the way we tend to deal with the messy relationships in our lives or the character flaws we see in ourselves. Actually, that’s the problem. We don’t deal with the messes in our lives. We avoid them. And just like the familiar saying goes…we sweep them under the rug.
Sometimes, we rationalize why we can’t deal with the mess now. We make deals with ourselves and with God and we vow to clean up the mess later. Other times, we have no intentions on cleaning up the messes we have hidden away. We rationalize again. If no one else can see the mess…then why bother cleaning it up? It’s neatly out of sight and no one has to know about.
This reminds me of the time in my life when I was struggling with alcohol. I drank too much. But, I took pride in the fact that I was a very tidy drunk. I did it behind closed doors. I even went so far as to hide it from my garbage man. Never would I put all my empty wine bottles in the recycle bin. I would hide some of them at the bottom of the trash can. What would Mr. Garbage Man think of me if he saw my recycle bin with that many empty bottles? He would know. I would also hide my mess from the local grocery/liquor store cashier. I would never go to the same store two days in a row. I rotated my trips in hopes that not even the people at the store would have a chance to see my mess.
Until I made the decision to tell someone, those in my life had no clue. Until I made the decision to bring my mess out from under the rug, my life looked normal…whatever normal is. Only problem is, the mess was like a cancer on the inside. I knew about my mess and I was slowly self-destructing.
I’ve been sober now for many years. Early on in my recovery, I remember sharing at a 12 step recovery meeting how I didn’t have to be ashamed of my recycling bin anymore! I was bubbling over with gratitude as I shared this news too. There was nothing in my trash that I felt the need to hide! There is so much freedom found when we choose to lift up the rug and confront the mess. There is incredible peace that comes when we finally acknowledge the filth that we once so desperately tried to hide.
Today, I live my life knowing that it’s human nature to try to hide our problems and our messes from those around us. But, I’ve also discovered the beauty of admitting my faults. When I admit my mess to God, He comes in and cleans house. And, He will do it as many times as necessary!
So, my questions today…
What is it that you’ve been sweeping under the rug?
What do you need to bring out into light?
What hard conversations have you been avoiding?
What bad habit threatens to destroy you?