I have a love/hate relationship with my kitchen. I love the fact that raw ingredients go in and family time and nourishing meals come out. But I hate the cleaning that comes with it. And I especially dislike the upkeep required around the sink. Sponges are particularly annoying–they seem to soak up everything. That can be good, when I’m cleaning up messes. Or bad, when the sponge soaks up and retains the odor of those messes.
I’ve drawn life parallels from this, and I call it sponge living.
I grew up hearing the phrase, soak it up like a sponge. It was always used in a positive way, usually referring to learning something quickly and well. So I assumed sponge living would always be a good thing.
But as I considered the analogy, especially in regard to being a military family, I discovered it was not.
There are lots of things out there that we need to avoid soaking up—from incorrect news reports, to the fears that circle around us when a loved one is deployed. Soaking up everything we come into contact with is something I’ve learned isn’t good. It leads to mold and mildew, and it can make life stink.
So here are three things I try to soak up:
1) The Word of God
I try to make sure God’s words permeate every part of my life.
2) Positive Words
So often the words we let hang around are the negative ones. But the sweet odor of encouraging words is what we need to hold on to.
3) Good Friends
People come in and out of our lives. When we have a good friend, we need to hold tight to them and keep them close.
And here are three things I avoid soaking up:
1) Bad News
There is so much in the world that’s wrong that it’s hard not to be overwhelmed. But there are good things—from big organizations to individual people striving to make the world a better place–like the driver who lets us cut in on a long line of traffic. We have to choose what things to focus on.
2) Negative Words
I don’t know about you, but I’m the worst offender when it comes to saying negative things to myself. I say harsh things to myself that I would never say to another person. I’m trying to do better and be kinder to myself, but it requires conscious effort.
3) Mean People
Let’s face it, there are some out there who just can’t be nice. I’ve learned to keep my distance from toxic people.
So, sponge-wise, these are the things I do to keep life sweet. What would you add to the list?