Friday, November 11, 2011

Coping By Cleaning

Everybody copes with stress/conflict/difficulties in one way or another.  It’s an ugly truth. 

Some people eat (GUILTY!!!).  Some people shop (GUILTY!!!).  Some people exercise (wish I could be found even an inkling guilty for this one!). 

Some people sweep it under the rug, plaster a forced smile on their face, and pretend everything’s a-ok.  Some people busy their lives with countless activities.  Some people, in their conversations with innocent bystanders, make jabs at the one they are hurt by. 

Yikes!  This is getting a little deep!  Let’s move on…

So this past week Nate and I got into a little tiff.  Yes, every couple fights, and it knocks my socks off when I hear someone in a relationship say, “Oh, we don’t really fight” or the newly dating/newly married couple that sheepishly grin and say, “We haven’t had a fight yet.”  One meaty word for you: BALOGNA!  Anyyyyywayyyyy, Nate and I were having a little conflict sesh.  Don’t ask me what it was about because I couldn’t tell you.  That’s how ridiculous it probably was.  So the way I often initially deal with conflict is I ignore it, while playing the situation/conversation in my head over and over.  I stop talking.  I shut down.  And forget about eye contact with me because there’s no way I’m giving it to you.  So, in the midst of this conflict with the hubster I began to clean the kitchen.  By this point Nate had left the room because I was ignoring him all together.  This was happening post-dinner so I had to clean the kitchen anyway.  However, after the dishes were in the dishwasher and the table and counters were wiped clean, I continued to clean.  I proceeded to clean and organize the fridge (which, hardly ever gets done), wipe down the outside of all the appliances, and use the scrubby part of the sponge along with spray bleach to re-wipe all the already clean countertops.  What in the world?!?  I had automatically turned into a mean, lean, cleaning machine in a matter of a few minutes, all the while replaying the conflict in my head.  At some point during my kitchen cleaning quest, I made the connection that I was avoiding the current situation with Nate.  I realized that the conflict I was trying so hard to keep inside of me was bubbling out through the action of cleaning.  Instead of working through the conflict with Nate in a healthy way, I chose the unhealthy route by trying to ignore it.

It’s so hard to actually make the choice to act in humility in the midst of conflict.  It’s just not natural.  It feels so against my own selfish desires.  But that’s just it…I’m selfish.  I want things to go my way.  I want to be the one to always be right.  Sometimes it just feels easier to avoid conflict and cope with it in a hundred different ways instead of the one way that it should be dealt with.  Suck it up and face it head on!  Easier said than done, right? 

The lead pastor at our church often refers to two choices in life: the choice to please God or the choice to please self.  It seems kinda simple.  It seems like the obvious choice would always be to please God.  But can I get an AMEN on the fact that it’s just sometimes easier to please self?  It’s such a constant battle of everyday life: Driving down the road and the old lady in front of me is going insanely slow?  Please God…Please self?  A friend talking trash about another mutual friend or family member?  Please God…Please self?  The babe is clearly doing something she knows she shouldn’t be doing?  Please God…please self?  The house is a complete and utter mess?  Please God…please self?  Someone says something hurtful to me?  Please God…please self.  You get the idea…the list is ENDLESS.  Every day I am faced with multiple opportunities to either please God or to please self.  

Now, I’d love to hear from you on a couple things!  What is one way you have found yourself coping with a difficult situation?  What is one practical way you can choose to please God instead of pleasing self (either in the midst of conflict or just in general)?


  1. ugh! thanks for being honest! as a newly married person i am well aware of the fact that people argue. although i feel like growing up i got this idea that if your with the right person you shouldn't ever fight. but its not about being with the right person at all. its about being the right person. and that right person is the person that tries and picks God, not self. Good blog girlie!!! i seriously think it is so good to hear that other people have issues and i'm not the only one haha not that you have issues....well you do. =-) we all do! love yoU!

  2. mmm hmm, good one Em. Makes me think of how to deal with mi padre... please God or please self. Can't say i am there 100% but the reminder is nice.

    -Kim L.

  3. good thought Lor! thanks for sharing!
    kim, you definitely don't have to be there 100%. What you're going through has got to be tough! i can't even imagine! stick it in the back pocket...chew on it. even if you're taking little, tiny steps in the direction of pleasing God that's gotta count for something, right???

  4. I love your blog Emily! I do the same cleaning thing when I'm upset. Reading your blog makes me laugh and it makes me miss you a lot!