Is negligence costing you, too?

I don’t neglect on purpose. It’s an accident. I don’t pay attention. Let it slide. Save it for a rainy day. Wait until I have big block of time. Just don’t notice it anymore.

My mess

My mess

The last may be the worst. Something small and insignificant doesn’t demand my attention so I set is aside until it blends in with the rest of the scenery. And goes unnoticed. Until I notice it. And it’s past due. Expired. Spoiled. Outgrown. Dust-covered. Obsolete. Or just so decrepit that its unusable.

Finally got around to three things yesterday that I had been neglecting. Oh, not intentionally. They were on my to-do list. Marked for execution, at some point. I just hadn’t gotten around to them. And when I did, they were all past due. There may be financial penalties on two of them. One was past deadline. Opportunity lost.

I wonder how fast the cost of negligence is accruing in my life. Not just in financial penalties and items tossed but in opportunities missed. That’s where God’s got my attention. And not in a “yes, you should lament this, shame on you” kind of way but a “dear one, please attend to the details” voice.

God really is exceedingly patient with me. I mean, I discovered I have a winter sweater from LAST January awaiting hand washing in my laundry room. Been what, 10 months? But this is the least of His worries, I imagine. Perhaps he laughs among Himself and says, “Oh that Wendy, she does have laundry issues.”

No, today we’re talking about maintenance issues. Things that can wait, but shouldn’t wait forever. Because things gather: the inbox fills, the bills mount, the dust gathers, the piles build. Isn’t it interesting how inanimate objects are active by accident?

I suspect it’s entropy. That force in the universe that tends things toward disorder and disarray unless we do something to stop it. The things I see seem harmless enough. But what about the things I don’t see? Things like:

  • boundaries that erode
  • relationships that grow cold
  • ideas left to die
  • energy that dissipates

These things deserve attention. At the very least, maintenance. A tap or a check-in or a re-visiting every now and then, just to be sure they’re intact. Perhaps some need a bit more care and tending. A bit of patching or bolstering. Some clean up or mending.

Perhaps the very act of attention may regenerate them. A little sorting or clean up may be just what is needed for me to see the nugget underneath. The seed waiting for me to sow it. A bit of water and some fertilizer and who knows what might grow?

My antagonist always seems to be busyness. That sense of needing to do what presents itself for doing and clamors for the most attention. The other things, the ones underneath, are quieter, calmer, willing to wait. If they have a voice it is still and small.

And I wonder if the Sabbath wasn’t created for such as these. A day of rest, not a ‘put your feet up and let the day serve you’ kind of rest but a restorative rest. A day to attend to the boundaries and things on the fringes. A time to address those things we have left behind or set aside. To consider what stays and what goes. To put things where they belong.

Really, it’s childish to leave our things all scattered about. Didn’t our Father teach us to take care of the things he’s given us? To leave our childish ways behind?

  • Step 1. Notice the messes.
  • Step 2. Schedule regular cleaning.
  • Step 3. Enjoy the satisfying feeling of order.
  • Step 4. Look for life there and give thanks.

How refreshing!

About wlebolt

Life comes at you fast. I like to catch it and toss it back. Or toss it up to see where it lands. I do my best thinking when I'm moving. And my best writing when I am tapping my foot to a beat no one else hears. Kinesthetic to the core.

Posted on October 12, 2013, in Body, In Action, Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. just. what. i. needed. phew. thank you. wow. “inanimate objects are active by accident”.

  2. My thought is this is why less is more. How many of these are busy messes? Most of mine are set aside because they are not as important as what is in front of me. Maybe because my little one changes so fast…. I do let opportunities go for a time when I need more life in my life. My life is full and not perfectly organized

    • Not all of my “left behind” are opportunities, for sure, Susan. More, I guess, are ‘out of sight out of mind’ things that, had I addressed them with more timeliness, they wouldn’t be burdens. I am guilty of taking short-cuts because taking the long way would have required learning something new OR doing something menial. I know God speaks in the new and certainly in the menial. That’s what makes it meaningful. But now it’s piled up so, just to address it, will take dedicated effort and much more time than it should have (or would have). Not seeking perfectly organized. But I’m glad the world can’t see all of my leavings …

  3. I feel like I just read a post about my own life. It started out with a small and occasional pocket of “neglect” here & there when the girls were little… Too tired and not enough leftover time in the day to deal with those things sitting on the back burner. Years have passed and “small and occasional” has turned into a habit or procrastination… Or maybe even laziness in both my physical an spiritual life.
    Thanks for your honesty in exposing an area of struggle in your life and sharing it with others. What a great perspective, Wendy… and motivation for me to get things back in order!

  4. Haha. Glad I’m not alone Caroline! I find you to be an extremely ordered person. If we trusted that God gave us just enough time to do all we are meant to, how exactly would we spend each moment? In God’s perfect will. In our own lives it’s a negotiation between putting in sufficient time (diligence) vs too much time (perfectionism). It’s that trusting there is enough time that gets us every time 🙂

    I suppose this is why deadlines and finish lines help us out of our dilemma. If there’s only so much time, we use it more wisely.

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