It’s no secret that I HATE to clean. If I really feel like I need to clean up the house, I basically disassemble any piles (of mail, clothes, etc.), vacuum any noticeable dust bunnies, dust the piano, and wipe down my kitchen counter. (Notice I don’t even touch the bathroom). Honestly, this is completely satisfactory to me. I am a very uncleanly person :-)
Two weeks ago, I was having a minor crisis (unrelated to cleanliness) and decided that I was going to start cleaning (for REAL) my house, one room, one day, at a time. Not so coincidentally, I found that I was being crabby with my husband, and since I know HE would really appreciate a for-real clean house, I kept telling my daughter as I cleaned, “this will really bless daddy”.
I started in the kitchen by taking a rag and wiping down all my cabinets and walls. I found that as I cleaned things that I had never even touched, I started finding and thinking of more and more things that I could clean. I began to realize how it could actually take a person an entire day to clean the kitchen! I mean, there’s windows, and all the shelves in every cupboard, and the entire fridge (even on top & behind it), and inside the oven, and the stovetop burners, and...WOW. It began to depress me, because I knew I wasn’t going to get to every corner of that one room, even though I was still making it cleaner than it had ever been before.
[insert note here that some of you may be thinking – duh, Nicole. That’s how I clean ALL the time. But ok, this was a big deal for me]
And then I also realized that something else was going on. First, that my heart was filling with more love for Michael. Somehow, doing the thing I hated most in the world, knowing that it would really make him happy, gave me a deep, true love for my husband. By blessing him, I was truly feeling blessed.
But second, I got a glimpse at how intimately God sees my sin and how merciful he is to keep a lot of it hidden from me so that I don’t feel overwhelmed all the time about just how crappy I am. God sees the dirt and the mess in every single crevice of my life, while I just skim the surface. And the great thing is, as I start to work with the Holy Spirit in cleaning up that surface scum, I begin to see more stuff that’s yet to be polished. I get the encouragement of Christ to persevere through each layer of uncleanliness, because he’s not surprised by it and he takes a lot of pride in cleaning up dirty people :-) and, just like my house, the work is FAR from finished!! It’s a permanent process – my heart (and my house) never stop needing to be cleaned.
So, maybe you’re a deep-clean kind of person that takes a lot of pride in keeping her house spic-and-span. What a gift! I pray that you are investing even more energy in partnering with God to clean your heart.
Or maybe you’re like me and just kind of get by in pushing the mess aside. Take heart! Your friends really don’t care how clean your house is because what they really want (and what we really need) is a pure heart.
Let’s show patience towards one another as God has long-suffered with us in our sin. And let’s pray for those who are overwhelmed by their sin, distant from God and not knowing that in Christ they can be clean!!
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.