Original post published 9/19/19.
I’m not the world’s best housekeeper. This is no secret–I mean, I put it right in my official bio. 😉 Yes, “pretending my house will clean itself” is part of my charming naivete. Ahem. Or at the very least, keeping everything put in its proper place isn’t my priority. That goes to educating my kids, writing books, designing covers, feeding the family, exercising, reading…pretty much anything else, LOL. I do keep up with the dishes and laundry. Just not with putting everything away.
Over the weekend, even I had had enough of the clutter, so I spent a few hours reorganizing the utility closet, breaking down boxes that were trash, and clearing off counters. And, as usual, as I did so, I kept coming across things I’d forgotten were there. “Oh, so that’s where that was.” Or “Why in the world didn’t I throw this away yet?”
Even the neatest people probably have little corners or drawers that gather clutter, right? We’ve all experienced this. And as someone who has experienced it more than, say, my sister (LOL), allow me to explain how it happens:
When something’s been there for a while, we cease to see it. It becomes part of the background. Normal. Our eyes adjust to it being there, and it no longer strikes us as wrong, as worth fixing…until eventually, the mess gets too big to be ignored.
When it comes to the empty boxes that pile up in my kitchen, this seriously isn’t that big a deal.
But what about when it comes to our souls?
Sin, my friends, works a lot like clutter. It sneaks its way in, and maybe when we see it the first time or two, we think, “Oh, that won’t do. I’d better take care of that…” But then we don’t. Why? Because it’s easier to ignore it. We’re busy. Because, frankly, clearing out sin is no fun and usually involves a bit of humility (much like cleaning out my junked-up counters does). It’s easier to say we’ll take care of it soon. Tomorrow. Sunday. Next week. Sometime when we’re not running out the door or overwhelmed by “more pressing” matters.
But then we cease to see it. It becomes part of the background. Normal. Our spiritual eyes adjust to it being there, and it no longer strikes us as wrong, as worth fixing…until eventually, the sin gets too big to be ignored.
And then where are we? Exactly where I am when my house has gotten to that point–in for a long clean-up effort.
Because let me just tell you, it’s a whole lot easier to nip jealousy in the bud the first moment it rears its ugly green head than after we’ve let it fester into resentment and hatred. It’s easier to apologize for that nasty thing we said right away than after we’ve walked away and let it keep on battering the recipient.
It’s easier to choose to love and forgive the moment we’re hurt than to have to wrestle with it years later.
Hmm…not sure of that one? I wasn’t either when the example popped into my head. And I’m not going to say it’s humanly easier. But isn’t that exactly the example Christ gives us? While He’s still hanging on the cross, He’s forgiving those who put Him there. What would our lives look like if we forgave those who hurt us while we were still suffering the first throes of consequences?
I try to find little ways to train myself into better housekeeping habits–things like watching something fun while folding laundry, and vacuuming the floors before I sit down on them to do that. Things like certain days being Bathroom Cleaning days.
But far more important is tidying my soul. What are we doing to make sure we stay clear of the clutter of sin? Are we vacuuming up the filth of this world from our selves, keeping our spirits white as snow?
We know we need to tidy our houses…but let’s not forget to tidy our souls with far more care and attention.