Okay so really it’s an apartment, but whatever.
Most of the time, I keep (most of) my living space pretty neat. Certain areas of generally more “homey” and less organized than others. For example, my kitchen is one place that I can’t STAND to be messy. Yet, in my music/craft/prayer/extra room rarely does everything have a “place” (unless of course you count the floor as it’s place).
Somehow over the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself getting in occasional moods to clean beyond what I normally do. To sort all of the papers/mail/sermon notes/etc. collected in one certain pile under the end table in my living room. … to organize my music… to look through what was left in the the last of the boxes marked “random/misc” from my move to NY back in July.
As I’ve done this, I’ve re-realized a fact about cleaning: things always tend to seem worse before they get better. For example, you have to make big piles of the laundry while sorting it before it can get washed and put away. Or like yesterday when in putting away the boxes of Christmas decorations (they’ve been down since January but are just now making it back to storage in my spare closet) I began to look through some of the other boxes in my closet. Realizing I did not need much of the stuff left in the aforementioned “random/misc” boxes I began to sort. The room that was completely clean before this endeavor is now littered with boxes, labelled (in my mind) “still to sort”, “throw away”, “keep”, “give away”.
When cleaning houses, they often get messier before they get clean.
Maybe the same is true of our hearts. God steps in knowing that we’ve made a mess and that he can clean it up. But often it has to get messier before it can be clean. He has to undo the disorganization, undo the broken, undo what got us into the mess in the first place in order to restore us to the way he desires us to be.
This messier phase is uncomfortable and discouraging at times. As I look around at the boxes spread across my room right now (and the spaces of my heart), I see the mess and am tempted to give up. “It’s just too big of a task,” I think. “Why did I even start doing this? It was fine before, right? I don’t want to make decisions about what to keep, what to give, what to throw away. I don’t want to sort through the boxes of random and miscellaneous. I just want to shove everything back into those boxes, put the lid on, throw it back in the closet, and forget about it again.”
But I know what needs to happen…
I need to walk back into the spare room and finish the job… sorting, tossing, giving away and put everything back where it belongs.
I need to take the lid back off of my heart and let God come do his work.
He comes graciously… to show me what to treasure and keep… to reveal what needs to get thrown out or maybe recycled… to show me what I have been keeping that he he’s given me so that I can give it away. He comes graciously to sort it all out… and to take back over the space where HE belongs.
“Jesus, come and walk the halls of this house
Tread this place and turn it inside out
With Your mercy…
Jesus, teach us the prayers that open these doors
Until Your light floods in and illuminates these floors
And let Your truth be on our steps and in these rooms
Jesus invade!” (Lyrics to “Invade” by Watermark)