Monday, September 12, 2011

Whittle the Zwittle

I feel it safe to say that God has been the main character in this blog. Supporting roles have been played by amazing family and friends, tiny humans, potatoes, and giant piles of laundry. Occasionally, I have thrown in the made-up word. Made-up words are essential. Every real word has first begun as made-up; some just don't make it past the Dictionary Committee.

For example, my current favorite:

zwittle, n. any large pile of work that is procrastinated, such as laundry, dirty dishes, homework, home-improvement projects, gift-wrapping, ironing, thank-you notes, e-mails, recipe planning, essential shopping, organizing drawers, cleaning out closets, phone calls, appointment setting, bathroom cleaning, vehicle vacuuming, attic de-junking, toenail cutting, etc.

We recently spent a lovely week in the Rocky Mountains where very little zwittle exists. Coming home is always good, but the zwittle here smacked me in the face, and I am still feeling the sting. And so, I have been cheerfully(somewhat) reminding myself that big things get done bit by bit. I can curl up into a little ball of paralyzed inactivity for only so long. I am not an armadillo. And so, I begin by doing one thing. And then another and another. Little by little, I will whittle the zwittle, say I. I will straighten one room, fold one load, write one note, do one thing. Something! Anything! Just do it! I exhort myself.

And I exhort you, too. If you are swamped by zwittle, do one thing. You can do one thing. And doing one thing will give you the courage you need to do the second. Do you remember Nehemiah? He was grieved for the city of Jerusalem, because it's wall was broken down and it's gates were burned when God's people were taken into exile in Babylon. He took it upon himself to oversee the rebuilding of the wall. This overwhelming job of his makes my zwittle look like nothing. In fact, I feel a little silly for even making up the word.

Despite the fact that my work looks like a trip to Grandma's house compared to Nehemiah's, there are times that the devil just tries to drag me down. He tries to convince me that I will never be able to do everything I should be doing. Being overwhelmed by work is real. I think we all feel this way at times.

The devil tried to get Nehemiah down, too. He had some enemies who repeatedly tried to sabotage his efforts. Check out this verse in chapter six: They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, "Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed." But I prayed, "Now strengthen my hands."  I love this! I think the key here is but I prayed. Nehemiah could have quit knowing his life might be in danger. He could have whined. He could have become overwhelmed. But he prayed.

His prayer was simple. He had no time for flowery speeches. He had work to do! Now strengthen my hands. Right to the point. And God helped Nehemiah and the other men. They finished the job in fifty-two days. And we will finish our work, too. You and I. We will get it done. Let's start with a prayer and then one thing. Even just a tiny one. Little by little, we will whittle the zwittle! We will!  Zwittle will not win. We are victorious.

I love you. I am praying for you.

Father, strengthen my hands and the hands of my friends for the work we have before us this day. Strengthen, too, the hands of our brothers and sisters in this country and around the world who carry the burden of rebuilding the areas affected by fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and wars. We look to You as our unending source of help.


  1. Thanks, Rachelle, I totally needed the Zwittle commentary. I'm glad you all had a wonderful vacation, by the way . . .

  2. You know Rachelle this Zwittle made me think of myself and when I had my Mother-in-law dying of bone cancer, my Father-in-law deciding to drink his food for the day, because his love was dying,a daycare that kept me sane [at times] and then a husband with a massive stroke. I have to say I felt overwhelmed too. One day after my Mother-in-law had died, husband having heart problems constantly, Father-in-law in the same situation and still my beloved daycare to run I felt swamped. As I was praying that certain day, I can see that day right now in my mind, the Lord said to me "Just do the next task Gayle, just the next task" That's how HE got me through a trying 8 years of life. I understand the overwhelmed feeling, only too well, but the Lord came through for me in so many ways I couldn't even count. Just like HE has come through for you. You are not alone and your blog is a joy to read and love. Glad you had such a great vacation too. PS. Your Mother was a wonderful help and joy to me during this time.

  3. @Gayle Gayle, this is so sweet. A bittersweet memory, I'm sure. Thanks for sharing it!


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