A few days ago my bloggy friend Elaine wrote eloquently about her family’s deeply-rooted Christian heritage. She shared, “We are a Jesus people, and the family bloodline runs deep.” I thought then as I do now, Wow! What an identity. What a legacy to be born into and be a part of carrying out. I admit I am a bit envious of her roots. Mine are so newly-formed.
These thoughts visited me in spin class today. Then, just as quickly, my wandering mind rested on my chores for the day. Topping the list was herding the mess in our house. Clutter and chaos abounds even though I just cleaned up the other day. I’m perplexed how this happens so quickly. Then it hit me, we are a messy people. (Although this family legacy pretty much begins and ends with me because my parents and sister are really quite tidy!)
In my house no sooner is a room put in neat order than it reverts back to its “preferred” state of disorder. An equilibrium of sorts. Coats get draped here. Backpacks there. Piles of mail magically multiply. Shoes…don’t get me started on the shoes! And towels. Can someone please tell me how many times a parent must say, “Please, pick up your towel and hang it up!” before the obvious no longer needs mentioning? The nonchalance of my brood only piques my agitation. But even left to my own devices, I wonder if the continual neatness I desire is an unreachable goal. I’m good at getting motivated for a big clean-up, but not so good at maintaining the results.
This reminds me of Jesus’ teaching about sweeping a house clean.
“When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45)
These verses sober…and scare…me. Jesus is saying when we undertake a spring cleaning of our souls, if we don’t fill our “houses” with the Him, Satan and his friends will come back to us stronger than ever. As a result, we’ll find ourselves worse off than before. Yikes!
If I knew physics, I’d offer a clever illustration about vacuums or matter or such. But, to my simpler mind it appears that the space in our souls cannot remain empty. It must be filled. Filled by God. Or filled by Satan. Take your pick.
I wonder if some of the darkness and unrest I’m feeling results from poor housekeeping. Yes, I’ve been moved at times for a big spiritual cleanup, but have I vigilantly maintained the tidiness? Or have I carelessly let some of my rooms revert back to their “preferred” state of chaos? Are unwanted visitors making themselves comfortable amid the clutter?
These are questions on which to ponder and pray. For now I will rest in the promise that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:7)
While I can’t change my family’s faith history, I take comfort in the fact that, as believers all of us are part of a heritage that extends way, way back to Bethlehem. And I, along with my husband, can be a part of creating a new faith legacy for our children…and their children.
I may always be a messy person in my house—but I want to be a Jesus person in my heart. Now if you’ll excuse me I have some straightening up to do.