Cleaning Out the Pantry

Nov 19, 2020Personal Transformation

Y’all.  I just took an online pantry course.  For real.

It was all a part of my master plan.  You see, I am gearing up for the Big Kahuna, the Biggest of the Big organizational projects—my attic.

As with all great sagas, my pantry and attic “situation” has a (not necessarily tragic) backstory.

Eric and I did what no one else in their right mind would do about four years ago.  This is a trend for us.  We make interesting choices often.  But this time, we found a house we liked (this one) and decided to tidy up our old house before we went on vacation and put it up for sale while we were away.  This was when the kids were younger and we tended to take the month of July for family time and vacay.

So that’s what we did.  We tidied our old house, made an offer on this one contingent on the sale of that one, packed our bags and went out of town.  For 27 days.  Yes, you read that right.

Amazingly, we got an offer on our house while we were away and did most of the work remotely.  But then we came home.  To a not packed house and a closing date less than a month away.

I figured we would make it through, somehow, and would be happy on the other side.  Eventually.

Enter a tropical storm and a potential flooding situation—our movers moved UP our already ridiculously close moving date.  And the old owners let us move in before we even owned the house because of the crazy extenuating circumstances.

It was pretty much all bonkers.

But some tremendous friends helped us move our attic (and our pantry) stuff so that we didn’t have to pay the movers to move EVERYTHING.  We got all our cars and our friends’ newly minted 16 year old driving son (and his pickup truck) and hauled everything across town, up our crazy crooked stairs, down the length of the house and into the attic.

The baskets from the old open pantry got shoved into this house’s teeny tiny pantry, though they barely fit and you could see nothing inside.

Voila!  We had moved.

But we weren’t organized.  And we just lived with it.  Year after year.  For four years.  Because we were in survival mode.

So here we are four years later.  I finally decided to truly attack my pantry.  And I was going to do it RIGHT.  I felt I needed accountability so I signed up for an online course with a company whose Instagram images made my heart go pitter patter.  I cleared my calendar (not too hard these days) and told Eric to prepare for “organizational supply expenses.”

The first step?  Take every blessed thing out of that pantry.  EVERY thing.  Check if it is outdated.  Throw away what is.  Donate what you won’t use.  Then categorize your items.

This process led to a lot of me time.  A lot of thinking time.   This is my God time.  What was I thinking about?  Well, these were the main words circling in my mind:  Contentment; Comfortable; Satisfied

Being content in our circumstances, no matter what they are, is and has been a huge part of my and Eric’s walk through life.  Honestly, if I were to pat myself on the back, I would say that I have been able to be content in difficult circumstances, financial and otherwise, through my life.  “Contentment” is my buzz word.  I got that.  At least that’s what I told God as I was pantry sorting.

But I felt this question in me:  Am I content or am I just comfortable?  And do I want to be comfortable?  Let’s be honest y’all.  Comfortable shoes are a great thing.  Stretchy pants make my heart sing.  But do I want my life, my relationships to just be “comfortable?”  And then I thought of the word, “Satisfied.”  It’s a buzz word over here, lately (Thank you, Hamilton).  Do I want to be just “satisfied” with my life? With my relationships?  With God?  With others?

This is the truth I came to, through all of this (God guided) pantry organizing thinking.  God wants me to be content in my circumstances, absolutely.  He tells us that over and over in his Word (Philippians 4:11-12, Hebrews 13:5).  But I don’t think God wants me to be comfortable and satisfied with where I am today.  Because quite frankly, unless you are Jesus Christ, where you are today is not where God is taking you.  He is not finished with us yet.  We know that.  So, when I am comfortable or satisfied, I keep God from continuing to enhance my life.

So what does this have to do with anything?  Well, I don’t know for you.  But I can tell you what it means for me.  It means that I don’t just need to tidy up my pantry or my attic.  I need to tidy up my mind and my heart.  Just like I took everything out of the pantry, I need to think through my feelings, my emotions, my faith, my decisions, my reasonings.  God searches our hearts (Ps 139:23), but we need to search them as well and be aware of ourselves.  There are some thoughts I hold, some feelings I have, that are old and out of date.  They need to be thrown out with the trash.  Some of these may be based on a tragic (or not so tragic) backstory—most things are.  There are some inklings in my heart that I haven’t even discovered yet and it is only through thought and prayer that I will discover these truths that could have a huge impact on my life and my family.

Can I live with all of this hidden away?  Sure.  But I it is entirely possible I might just be surviving, like I was with my pantry for four long years.

Guess what?  My pantry is now done.  And it is FABULOUS.  It is tidy and it is labeled and I can find what I have and when I put away groceries, they all have a place to go!  It is literally amazing.  It is life changing.  It makes me so happy that I am nicer to the world because I have a clean pantry and I am 100% not overstating this.  It completely changes my point of view.

That’s the deal.  I was surviving (kind of) with the old out-of-date, messy pantry.  I was comfortable and satisfied (as long as the door was closed and no one could see it) but now I delight in my pantry.

Yep, that’s the final word God gave me.  He does want me to be content, but He wants more for me than just being comfortable or satisfied.  He wants me to DELIGHT in my life and live every moment to the fullest.  In order to do that, I need to search my heart and mind.

Sometimes the process may be messy and take time and hurt a little, but the end product is so beautiful.  He wants us to delight in our lives and share that delight with others.