Tackling ‘the cupboard’

I recently returned from my church’s annual spring clean where I tackled ‘the cupboard’.

I’m sure every church has one – the place where all the resources are kept… paint, glue, felt-tip pens, footballs, hoops and skipping ropes.

It really should be so straightforward – a clear plastic box for the beanbags, a tray for the scissors, a cardboard box for the paint – but the trouble is that people are so kind.

  • A carrier bag of kitchen roll tubes… well, they might come in handy for Girls’ Brigade.
  • A black sack full of left over florist-ribbon, all a bit scrunched, but I guess it could be used for something-or-other.
  • A biscuit tin full of various crayons, novelty staplers, erasers, pencil sharpeners and half-used glitter-glue, all generously donated by a teenager who’s had a bedroom clear-out.

Added to that I found all the left-overs from a wonderful Easter fun day that the church held – now where to put all this shredded tissue paper?

Several hours later and some sense of order had been restored – rubbish was thrown away, items returned to their rightful home and boxes and tubs labelled clearly so that we can all keep things tidy from now on. Craft stuff is all together on one side of the cupboard, with sports and games equipment on the other. Used-once-a-year boxes like Christmas decorations are stored up high with used-every-week things easily accessible.Everything is in see-through boxes and clearly labelled.

It’s a brilliant system and it really should work perfectly… but of course, the reality is that within a few weeks it will be a right mess again.

Our lives can be a bit like the newly-tidied cupboard sometimes – everything compartmentalised, labelled and separate. We wear so many different hats – wife, mother, GB leader, work colleague, friend and church member.Sometimes we can lose integrity and present different versions of ourselves in different situations.

The challenge is to be the person that God made us to be – and to be that person at all times. I think this is a particularly difficult issue for the young Christians in our care, particularly those from un-churched families.

One minute they’re enjoying the worship and fellowship of a youth meeting at church, the next they’re arguing about a messy bedroom with a tired mum or trying to fit in with the popular gang at school.

In an increasingly secular society it’s tougher than ever to stand up for Jesus. Imagine my joy when I read this prayer from one of my seniors:

‘Dear Lord, thank you for giving me the courage to tell one of my friends about you and how amazing you are. Now all my class knows I’m a Christian and I’m not afraid to tell the world.’

That’s the kind of prayer to make a Girls’ Brigade leader’s heart skip a beat. Now back to the cupboard – do we really need three broken whiteboards and a set of toy policemen’s helmets?