While spring represents renewal and transformation for some, for others it signifies sneezing (Okay, I seriously just sneezed while typing this) and the dreaded spring cleaning of the garage.
You’re not one of those, “I love spring cleaning” people, are you?
Oh, good. Me neither!
What’s worse is that my spring-cleaning checklist isn’t what it has been in the past. It’s BIGGER. In fact, this year’s spring cleaning isn’t going to be over in a day or two.
Not. Even. Close.
You see, I’ll be cleaning much, much more than just our house this spring.
I’ll be cleaning—
Let’s get this out in the open–I despise eating healthy and working out!
Like it or not, I have to make a change in my diet and exercise plan. Rather, I have to actually make a diet and exercise plan.
It’s not going to be pretty either, especially at the age of, well, ahem, 40-something.
But I don’t have a choice!
No, I didn’t lose a bet.
I’m not much of a gambler.
And, no, my small-town doctor didn’t tell me I had to start working out to get healthy. But, if I were to actually visit my doctor, I’m sure that would be what she’d write on her script pad.
No, it’s not at the direction of my local doctor.
It’s at the direction of The Great Physician.
Do you ever have those aha moments that totally convict you? When you’ve just said or done something in your mundane, groundhog-type-of-day life, and the Holy Spirit stops you in your tracks?
He reveals something to you.
The type of scenario where you’re maybe incessantly griping at your tween for not keeping his room clean. Maybe you’re doling out disapprovals left and right in an effort to convey to your kid how ungrateful he must be. Because if he were grateful, he’d surely take better care of what he’s been blessed with.
The kind of moment that reminds you that He cares about everything in your life.
The kind of moment that creates inspired, teachable moments and lessons through life’s everyday circumstances.
The kind of moment where you see the speck in someone else’s eye and haven’t noticed the telephone pole in your own—and you suddenly feel like sticking your head in a hole in shame.
I’m talking about a Matthew 7:3-5 kind of moment!
My son’s birthday is a month before Christmas. You know what that means–presents on top of presents. I’m thankful now that he’s older most of what he gets is in the form of cash. Cash doesn’t take up much space. Cash doesn’t last long around here.
But there are still lots of gifts from loving family members who forget that we live in a house made for hobbits. And there is still an accumulation of past gifts that haven’t been parted with. Things that really are no longer needed or used or even useful, but my son can’t bring himself to let go of.
All that adds up to a plethora of disarray in his tiny room.
It’s jam-packed with stuff falling off of hooks and down from shelves, sticking out from underneath a cluttered twin bed, lying in wait to trip this poor, unsuspecting parent in the night!
So with Christmas on the coattails of a birthday bash, I could handle it no more. It was time for a good talking to that sounded a lot like this:
Buddy, just look at this stuff. [My eyes were wide, because when my eyes are wide he knows I mean business—or that I’ve seen a really big spider.] And you have hooks to keep these bags on. Remember your dad and I taking an entire day to put this pegboard up so that you’d be able to hang stuff? Why’s everything on the floor and nothing on these 27 hooks? For the love of all things holy and right, could you please take care of what we gave you? [That statement is going to come back to bite me. Just wait.]
What are all of these old boxes piled up in this corner?
What about all of these books? [He didn’t answer nor did he need to. The look on his face said it all. Definitely clueless!] Do you know how much money we spent on this stuff? Remember you just had to have this thingamabob six months ago—and today you didn’t even know where it was. [I’m convinced my mother is somewhere in this room with me—or she’s learned to throw her voice from a mile away!]
And here’s why you don’t have any socks! [I quickly gathered up about 14 of them in the three minutes I was in his room. If only I had a nickel for every time I heard him say, “I can’t find my other sock!” If only!]
Look, son, part of showing you’re grateful for what you’ve been blessed with is taking care of it. You’re so blessed to have all of this stuff. While the things of this world aren’t really what matters, when you don’t take care of what you’ve been blessed with, it’s a sign of disrespect and ungratefulness and— [Insert something that sounds a lot like brakes screeching on asphalt here. The kid was still clueless, but God had my attention!]
I realized in those very seconds that I was also guilty of not showing my gratitude for what I’ve been blessed with.
I hadn’t been valuing this body, this room—if you will—that God has blessed me with. No matter how I feel about my body, whether I think it’s not skinny enough or tan enough or fit enough or pretty enough, it is still a blessing.
Such a blessing that my God calls it a temple. Whether I view it as a temple or not, I’m expected to treat it as such.
That requires my taking care of it, valuing it, treating it as the gift from God the Bible says it is.
Just like my kid’s room, this room of mine needed a good cleaning!
I’d been eating everything in sight, stuffing this temple with junk (and lots of it). I continued piling stuff on these shoulders—like stress, anxiety, tiredness, guilt, condemnation, and the pursuit of perfection that we all know is unattainable.
Guilty of throwing back Tylenol PM to help me sleep and downing buckets of caffeine in the form of Coke Zero to help me make it through the day had become my norm. And my system was out of whack.
And I wasn’t resting in the Spirit as much as I should or could.
And when I’m tired, and when I’ve spent too much time in the world and not enough time in the Word, I can’t give my all to those who love me and need me.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m drained, I can’t fight off the enemy. That allows him to rack up some serious overtime in this weary brain of mine!
Thankfully, God showed me that in the secret corners of my mind, where there is a constant war waged between Spirit and soul, between the things of God and the flesh, that I, too, had old, piled-up boxes.
Neatly stacked ones full of junk like comparison, jealousy, and grudges—totally worthless garbage I’ve refused to part with for years.
Oh, how guilty I am of not hanging my cares on Him, for allowing the things of the world to fall down around me, create obstacles in my life—to trip me up in my daily walk.
Just like my tween’s room, my room has been a plethora of disarray.
Honestly, I’d rather have a healthy horse kick me square in the teeth than exercise, eat healthy, and actually go to bed at a decent hour (without an addictive sleep aid). Cleaning this room of mine means work. It means sacrifice.
But what about the work and sacrifice He went through for this life that I have?
Yes, God got my attention. And I’m so glad he did. I’ve asked for forgiveness. I’ve praised Him for this healthy body of mine that, although is not willing, is very much able!
It took me the longest time to understand that it’s actually a good thing when I sense the Father’s loving conviction. That’s how I know that the Holy Spirit is working in my life.
That’s how I’m reassured that He cares about every itty-bitty thing, even (maybe especially) the useless junk I pack down deep inside me, pile up in the corners of my soul, and hide behind in my everyday life.He cares about every itty-bitty thing, even the useless junk I pack down deep… Click To Tweet
It isn’t easy, but cleaning up this room of mine is going to be possible because of the help of the Holy Spirit and the self-control (fruit of the Spirit) made available to me.
I’m going to get healthy. I’m going to give myself and my family the Renee we all deserve.
I’m going to position myself, take up my armor, and stand strong against the enemy and his attacks!
I’m going to show Him my gratitude and commitment as I continue my pursuit to live the life Christ died for me to have—an abundant, happy, and healthy one.
I am so thankful for His mercy and grace—
Mercy and grace I’ll freely extend to my son the next time his room needs a good cleaning.
Does your soul have a cluttered corner with big boxes full of ugly too? Have you been forgetting to hang your cares on Him?
Has God revealed something in your life that needs deep cleaning? Let me know so I can pray for you. Let’s encourage each other!
I’m sharing my heart today in hopes you’ll not only encourage me and hold me accountable, but in hopes of inspiring you! Melatonin’s how I’m now ‘rollin’. Water’s SLOWLY becoming the new Coke Zero.
AND, I’ll be running my first 5k in what feels like forever tomorrow! (Prayers greatly appreciated.)
Images courtesy of Pixabay