I walked in my door and said, “This place is a pit,” – and it was.
I’m a recovered perfectionist.
In days of old, my house was always immaculate. Not just to onlookers. My drawers, storage areas, cabinets – all organized. Everything had a place; everything was in its place.
Unfortunately, in recovering from my perfectionism, I “recovered” a little too far and when I started choosing my battles differently, my house slowly began to look like a war zone. Oh, I could quickly “clean” it up for company and no one had a clue. But, little by little the disorder was growing and the hope of ever getting back to “peaceful order” was becoming snuffed out.
I don’t want to obsess over everything being perfectly placed or decorated as I once did, but I do want to be able to find both shoes…and when I can’t, it causes stress.
Mess creates stress.
A similar attitude can occur in our Christian walk as well. Little by little we allow the slow fade to occur. We let this little bad habit creep in, or that problematic activity continue. We lower our standard of what we watch on TV in the name of comedy or action. We allow more and more of our time to be spent on things that amuse us rather than investing ourselves in service to others and glorifying God.
As those things crowd in, we may not realize why we are discontent and unfulfilled. But, something’s just not right and we know it. We can feel it. We’re unsettled, we’re grasping for answers to why nothing seems right and everything seems wrong. We are constantly searching for the next thing to fill a gap, when the problem isn’t at all what we need to add – but what we need to lose instead. We are creating clutter in our lives – clutter that crowds all of our inner space and leaves little room for God. We need to deep clean.
We need to purge.
As I got on my hands and knees to begin the cleaning process in my actual home, I began to pray. I was going to have a lot of time on my knees – what better thing could I do while I was there?… Lord, I’m ready to conquer this mess in my house – what clutter do you need me to get out of my heart? While I didn’t literally have an audible conversation, He began flooding my heart with small things that had added up.
“Angie, you guys have to quit watching that TV show. Your kids (and you) shouldn’t be watching that and you know it.”
“Oh Lord, they aren’t going to be happy with me at all when I tell them that.”
“Who do you prefer to risk that with – them or Me? And in the long term, what ripple effects are going to present themselves with the way they are being desensitized to things I want them to remain sensitive to?”
“Good questions, Lord. You’re right.”
The flooding went on. What things were we allowing to clutter “our house” and what needed to “get pitched” in order to make more room for God? What needed to end so that it wasn’t stealing our focus anymore? What mind-numbing activities did we need to give up in order to allow our hearts and minds to be alert, open, and prepared for God to speak to us and teach us? What had we been missing while He was waiting and watching us consume ourselves with our clutter? How frustrated had He been while we grappled for the next things to fill our voids, adding to the piles, when He’d been there waiting to do deep cleaning all the while?
Deep cleaning is hard. It’s time consuming, we put it off, and we dread it. One year may blend into the next and the next – and we may fall so far behind that the daunting task of clearing out all the clutter can paralyze us in our tracks. But, what’s the outcome of our lives if we do nothing?
Today. Tomorrow. A year from now. Ten years…
If we don’t begin somewhere, the clutter will just accumulate and we will continue to drown in it, trying to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it. Sure, we’ll clean a little here and tidy a little there. We’ll be tempted to think that’s what will work. And then we’ll find ourselves defeated because we tried and nothing seemed to change. Just like tidying up before company comes while leaving the foundations of the mess unaddressed, everything goes back to chaos as soon as company leaves.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Although deep cleaning is hard and time consuming, it feels amazing and when it is finished…
we can breathe.
Surely, that’s one of the many blessings God wants for us. To be able to breathe and rest in His peace – to breathe Him in and breathe Him out. To accomplish what He desires for us and to experience lives beyond what we can imagine. But, we absolutely have to cut through the noise, distraction, and clutter in order to hear His direction and rest in His peace.
What needs to go, what needs to decrease, what needs to increase, what needs to begin today? It’s time. There’s never any better time than the present to start making more room for God.
That decision will never leave you sorry. So, how ‘bout it? Why not begin changing your tomorrow today? What have you got to lose – besides the mess? angie <><
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands…and purify your hearts…