December 18, 2008

A Clean Sweep

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.


Peggy said...

Good morning Kelli......
This is a very common problem for many of us, and I find my home and heart very cluttered right now.
I am purgeing and packing, and I have packed my books first and very carefully; however all my God books will be the last to be packed.
I can't imagine where all the clutter and chaos came from, but God has given me a new road to take and happily I'm really sweeping clean, and keeping God's goal for me formost in my mind.
As you said sweep out the clutter, but keep filling our hearts and homes with God.
Great blog, keeping me focused as always.
Have a great weekend.
blessings and Love.....Peggy

Lori B. from Brewster said...

Loved your post today. It is truly something for all of us to think upon. We must remember to guard our hearts and our souls, lest we allow someone else to move in as our housekeeper!

Dan said...

...sorry I was a little late posting a comment, but it's been an unusually busy morning of tossing wet towels onto the floor, spreading mail all over the countertop, scattering hats, gloves and coats hither and thither, and my personal favorite - un-folding laundry. WHO KEEPS CLEANING UP MY MESSES??!!

Sassy Granny ... said...

Whenever my heart condemns me, I remind it that "it is finished!" My soul can be disquieted, but my quietude returns when I remember that it is Him, not me, that does the ordering. It is then I remember such truths as, "Be still, and know ...", or "Lean not on your own understanding ...", or "I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you."

I'm all for intentional living, especially spiritually, but even the greats among us fail miserably at times (ask Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, Oswald Chambers, and so many others).

When the enemy reminds me what a mess is my soul, I point him straight-away to Jesus. Since He bought me, paid for me, and keeps me, He also defends me.

We are in such good Hands ...

Besides, even Mary knew to leave the mess be while sitting at Jesus' feet while Martha made sure everything got done. It was Mary Jesus honored, not the clean freak.

You just keep on keeping on, girl. You are more than a conqueror!


Cheryl Barker said...

What a good analogy, Kelli -- and a good reminder to fill our hearts with things of Jesus.

Maybe you could try charging your family a buck for each towel you have to pick up. I tried something similar with one of my girls -- it didn't get rid of the habit entirely, but I picked up a little extra cash :)

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Terri Tiffany said...

Awesome post! I know I have some filling to do because it is so easy for Satan to try to fill those empty messy places in us. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas up there!Stay warm!

Sue J. said...

I'm pretty sure that for demons to return that they have to find an entryway. Unfortunately, that's our big problem--we let in stuff we shouldn't in the first place.

The hardest part of maintaining clutter is to deal with it before it becomes clutter. That's a hard mindset to get into, if you're not used to it. I see what the great results can look like, but I have my days when the new stuff doesn't get sorted....then it gets buried, etc., etc.

Love all the analogies, Kelli. Knowing Who's in your house will help you keep your focus!

Scott B said...

I'm glad that you pointed out something that is so simple, it becomes complicated. The minute that we accepted Christ as your Lord and savior, we instantly acquired the family bloodline of Kings. It's not when we join the family, it's only important that we do join the family.
After that it becomes the same struggle that we have with our earthly family: Taking the time to listen and learn from our Father, as well as our brothers and sisters, on a daily basis. It is so easy to slip away.
Have a Blessed Christmas.

Your Brother in Christ

Gail W. said...

Kelli, you have described our house to the nth degree (how many towels does it take, for pete's sake!) Thanks for the reminder that my spiritual house is just as prone to a natural state of disorder. Christmas joy and blessings to you and yours!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

He is the filling we'd better be make ready for; if not, we'll quickly be filled by lesser things. A lesser life that never quite measures up to the existence of Jesus Christ. Thanks, Kelli, for continuing to poke and prod my heart toward further cleansing. I am so thankful for the sacred bloodline that threads me directly to the heart of God. My own bloodlines have been a bloody mess from time to time. And while I've walked a heritage to faith via my family, I know that giving one to my children will never happen accidentally. Thank you for being willing to seed your children's lives with the truth of Jesus Christ.

He will never fail to tend to those seeds in rich measure.


an ordinary Saffa girl said...

'“We are a Jesus people, and the family bloodline runs deep.”'

Wow, what an awesome statement to make... and yes, I am joyously part of that family too. What a blessing. An honour.

What a blessing to find your blog, thank you and have a blessed Christmas!!! :)