Cleaning Out My Cabinets Like a Man
“The cupboards need cleaned out. It is not normal to have to duck before opening a cabinet either in the bathroom or kitchen,” my husband insisted while dramatically demonstrating his manly ducking skills. Pssttt…the one part of spring cleaning that I don’t like to talk about and try to avoid whenever possible. You know what I am talking about: cleaning out the old food, stale food, consolidating bottles, ridding bad nail polish, organizing things on a shelf the best way possible, etc. Why having “too much” in the bathroom or kitchen is considered such a bad thing I will never know. At least if I want something I have it right on hand. Besides, whenever I get rid of something within three days I have a dire need for it!
For those of us that live in rural areas I can hear you nodding your heads in agreement through this screen. When you live twenty minutes from the nearest store you tend to take on an attitude of hoarding preparing. It truly isn’t worth allowing yourself to run out of something when you have to travel so far to get it. This seems logical, right? You are saving on gas mileage by making one trip instead of several, time is saved, and your heart is not broken by the oppressing disappointment of “running out” of something. If there is an unpardonable sin for country living I am positive it mentions “running out” of something that you need.
With that being said I also must say that there is a down-side to this. The downside seems to be presented in a scenario that looks like this: You are in the store and you see an amazing “Two-for” deal/sale. Of course you realize that this item is not on your shopping list but your mind begins to wonder if you are nearing the end of your inventory at home. “Maybe we need this,” you think. So you stand there trying to remember how much you have at home (pausing to move out of the way for the lady sighing behind you). After a second intrusion of a kid screaming in the next aisle you realize your concentration is diverted and quickly conclude that it is better to be “safe than sorry” and purchase the amazing deal. Ok, scratch that, you purchase two of the product deals because you know you will never find this item on sale again for this cheap. Now when you get home and go to put this product that you spent next-to-nothing on away you realize that you not only did not need the item but now you have an additional four to cram in with the original two. In case you need help with math this equals a very full cabinet. Thus the term “ridding out” was created.
So I started to think about this, and men in general, and how if a houseband (my word creation to represent male housewife) ran the home what things might look like. Immediately I imagined a casual dinner-table conversation where I had to mention that we ran out of toilet paper three days prior and it would be nice to have that restocked next time he would be in vicinity of the store. See? Men do not have the same pressure-driven consciousness that women have to think ahead about things like that! I thought about how bare the cabinets would be because men do not seem to have the same desire to please everyone and anticipate individual needs and whims as us women do. I pictured my husband opening a cookbook and writing down every single ingredient in the recipe, going to the store for only those ingredients, and then repeating this up to five days a week. Somehow I just know there would be days we would use dish soap for shampoo and baking soda in the place of toothpaste. And things like sugar scrubs? You would be substituting table salts scented with beer (the one thing most men do think ahead about). It also occurred to me that the number of gadgets would increase in our households because men seem to have a real drive towards mechanical gadgets. Mmm…perhaps the clutter would simply shift into other areas (toolsheds, man caves, outdoor kitchens)? But that speculation is another article for another day.
Regardless, my husband is right when he reminds me not to keep more than I really need. Stores will always have more sales, one of us is always driving past a store, and the world won’t end when we run out of something (except aforementioned toilet paper, which if we run out of I may single-handedly cause devastation). After awhile having so much clutter can be pointless because during spring cleaning now matter how many times I have insisted that “I KNOW where everything is in my cabinets” I find a minimum of twenty things I didn’t even realize existed in the black holes of storage space.
So as I sat on the bathroom floor ridding through the cabinets I started to think about my attitude of hoarding over-preparation and how it can carry into other areas of my life. If my husband is “semi” correct about my approach to storage is it possible he is correct about other things? (Gasp! Yes, I admitted my husband was “semi” correct!) This leads me to the punch line of this article: Approaching Bible study like a man.
Men don’t fret, worry, try to foresee every event and need, whim and desire. They just don’t. They don’t cram things into small spaces insisting things will fit; instead they get rid of what they don’t need. Men can go to the store with a list and stick to that list. They can also multi-purpose things which extends beyond their ability to build malls out of toothpicks and into every day life (i.e. using dish soap for shampoo when needed, I won’t even speculate about substitution for toilet paper). They simply aren’t afraid to keep things simple and to the point.
There are so many times when we read anything set in front of us in regards to bible study. We will follow this devotional, that magazine, someone’s blog (clears throat), anything to fill in our space and time with Godly things; except what we really need. We stand there skimming our topical indexes wondering which topic we need and which we already have stored “at home” in our minds and inevitably end up picking and rereading the same comfortable passages over and over. We fluff up our egos with all of these seemingly wonderful quotes and sayings without realizing that we are missing some very basic essentials that are applicable to us now. Some parts of our spiritual cabinets are crammed and overflowing while the things we really do need are left ignored.
Maybe it really is ok to run out of “hair volumizer” that we don’t need and restock our shelves with some medicine that we do need. The word of God is like medicine to us: body, soul, spirit.
“Listen, son of mine, to what I say. Listen carefully. Keep these thoughts ever in mind; let them penetrate deep within your heart, for they will mean real life for you and radiant health.” Proverbs 4:20-22
With the Word of God we never need to “hoard” anything we can get our hands on, cramming it all in because we may run out. The Holy Spirit is in us and we can read and receive scripture that we need, meditate on it in our heart, and it will always be enough. The Holy Spirit will always bring to remembrance God’s word as we need it. This does not mean we do not need to read the Word or study God’s word; I am simply suggesting it would impact our relationship with God more by doing a focused and in-depth meditation/study on the scripture we may truly need in our lives now.
“I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.” Psalm 119:15
As a subscriber of Bible Study Magazine I have found over the past few years that the focused study each month on scripture gives me the “medicine” I need and a fresh look at things. The magazine focuses monthly on a theme or book of the bible and all the articles are an indepth study and scripture reading about this. Rather than cramming in everything I scroll by on facebook or every devotional I’ve collected or been referred to, it has given me a focus and allows me to zero-in on scripture in a new way. If reading scripture then contemplating the application in my everyday life is great, I now find new resources for articles written by others on the same scriptures. Instead of treating my daily scripture reading as a buffet of tasty appetizers I began delving in and enjoying the meat which brings a fulfilling and life-changing attitude. Suddenly, instead of memorizing random scriptures as I go I am now reflecting, digesting, churning over and over internally on the words that apply to my life at this very moment.
I don’t know about how you feel but before I cleaned out my cabinets and reorganized everything I would have been thoroughly embarrassed if you had popped in for a visit and looked around. On the outside my home looked very organized and clean and orderly. But if you went deeper by snooping into my cabinets you would have noticed the ways that I was not being a good steward of the things I am blessed with. I wonder if the same can be true of our spiritual cabinets, our heart compartments. I wonder if in cramming so many verses and devotions and readings into our “cabinets” that we don’t even know what we have in there anymore? Let alone use it, have it organized, or be willing to let others look inside! I don’t want to live like that. I want others and God to look inside of my heart and see that I have been faithful with what He has given me. My desire is for God to see that I have treated His word as a treasure and organize it within me as I meditate on it.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” Luke 16:10a
We don’t have to be hoarders crammers of God’s word. There is always enough. His very nature assures us of that. God is a God of abundance and overflowing love for us. Rather than stopping at filling the space in our minds I know He delights in us studying what we need and allowing that to transform us internally, intensely.
So take a look at your cabinets. It is time for some spring cleaning!
- What do you need?
- What are you cramming that you don’t need?
- What scripture is God calling you to take like medicine right now?
- What areas of your life could use some of God’s truth to replace the useless mindsets that are not helping you fulfill your calling?
- How can you organize your “cabinets” so they reflect you as a child of God?
- Do you feel your “cabinets” (heart) are something you could proudly open up to God and the world or do you need to spend some time getting things in order?
Don’t hesitate, start now! Let’s approach bible study “like a man” with the confidence and assurance that we have all we need and can focus on one day at a time!