Written by: Amy Dalke
Scene in my kitchen on Sunday afternoon:
1 boys size 3 shoe on the floor (who knows where its mate was)
24 tiny pieces of what used to be a Nerf basketball
1 baseball bat
1 laptop, next to a haphazardly stacked pile of paper
3 books scattered around the breakfast bar
1 load of laundry, that had not yet arrived at the intended destination
1 very loved dog toy next to the back door
Everything was out of place except for the partridge in a pear tree…and that’s only because those things are out of season.
Clutter does not lend itself to my sanity. Suffice it to say that with an 8-year old boy at home, I am insane at least 42% of the time.
I really wish that I could be all peace, love, and joy when the house is in disarray, but I can’t.
(My college roommates wish they had seen this side of me; this OCD-ness had a delayed onset, so they missed out.)
Nonetheless, I have found that a clean house doesn’t just happen. It requires regular cleaning attention. Your phenomenal spring cleaning results won’t last until August. The coffee table might collect a little dust when ignored. (So will the bookshelves.) (And the mantle.) (And that antique armoire-looking thing.)
It also doesn’t count if, by cleaning, you really mean “shove everything into a closet and hope nobody opens it”.
So as I was surveying the madness that was my kitchen this afternoon, I decided to clean it up myself instead of trying to teach Luke a life-lesson. (I know, Parenting Fail.)
In my frenzied fit, the thought struck me that my heart can get cluttered just like my house.
…a sharp tongue, unleashed in frustration at a certain 8-year old (who “forgot” to clean up after himself).
…ugly words spoken about someone else, fueled by a spoonful of bitterness.
…selfishness, because sometimes I just want to keep what is mine…for me.
…idolatry: money. stuff. and other shiny things that capture lots of my attention.
…fear that threatens to squash my dreams.
That’s just a sample, people.
I’ve got clutter piling up in my heart that far surpasses the stack of laundry.
The heart stuff just takes more work. Hard work. (And there is always another load.)
Maybe you’re like me (God, I hope someone is…), and you go in fits and starts with God on this deep heart-cleaning thing.
God and I will go through a period together, where I am so aware of my need for him, that I can’t get enough. During these times, I bring my heart to him daily, and truly listen to what He has to say….what he wants to change….what he wants to plant…and weed out.
The Light of his Word gets into all those nooks and crannies where I hold selfishness, unbelief, and pride.
But then…well, sometimes I start believing how awesome I am on my own.
I can do it just fine by myself.
A little swipe of the dust rag to clean the surface will do.
Tuck my attitude in, and say Good Christian things like, “oh, bless her heart.”
“You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the dish, so that the outside may also be clean.”
None of our superficial efforts matter at all, if our hearts are not soaked in truth.
And the house isn’t really clean if we are just shoving things behind the closet door.
You and I can go right through life and keep up an exterior appearance of all that is good, clean, and perfect.
We can put on our shiny-bright-outside faces, while our insides are a dirty, rotten mess.
Who are we kidding, anyway?
God sees right beyond our holy act…to our holy mess.
And He wants us anyway.
He doesn’t buy into our exterior cleaning process. God just wants the real you, and the real me, to show up and let him talk to us.
Since everyone knows that all new projects and resolutions start on a Monday (right?), maybe today is your day.
Roll up the rugs, and clear out the clutter…and see what Jesus can do with your broken mess.