Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning 2015. I call it “The Purge”.

I know it’s not technically spring yet, but I have designated the entire month of March to cleaning and de-cluttering projects. I figure with a toddler, it will take the whole month. So far I’ve cleared out and cleaned the refrigerator, cleaned out and vacuumed the car, washed the couch covers, rearranged and swept out the bedroom, cleaned off my desk in the office, boxed up and labeled the too-small baby clothes, and tackled the scary little bathroom downstairs, which never got cleaned when we moved in and was already nasty then. The toilet still has some permanent stains, but at least now you can go do your business without thinking about STDs or spiders or something similarly gross. With every project comes conviction about clutter in my spiritual life. Especially when I cleaned out the fridge. I’m really good about going through and keeping everything fresh and up-to-date and preventing science experiments, but salad dressings? Yeah there were a few of those I needed to toss. I guess I tend to assume they last forever, but I found a few that were embarrassingly expired. Because I see them every time I open the fridge. I get used to them. I lose track of how long they’ve been in there because I’m familiar with them. And those Caesar salad dressings and raspberry vinaigrettes reminded me that I have habits and patterns that I have allowed to get stale. Like focused prayer time. Like intentional prayer. But the refrigerator wasn’t the only kicker. Clutter in general is a huge distraction to life. Physical living. Spiritual living. Relationships, etc. I took to my good online friend Merriam-Webster for a better definition of “clutter”:

Full Definition of CLUTTER

intransitive verb

chiefly dialect

:  to run in disorder
transitive verb
:  to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness <a room cluttered with toys> —often used with up

Origin of CLUTTER

Middle English clotteren to clot, from clot

First Known Use: 1556

clutter

noun

: a large amount of things that are not arranged in a neat or orderly way : a crowded or disordered collection of things

Full Definition of CLUTTER

1
a :  a crowded or confused mass or collection

b :  things that clutter a place

2
:  interfering radar echoes caused by reflection from objects (as on the ground) other than the target
3 chiefly dialect :  disturbance, hubbub
I don’t know about you, but all of the disheveling definitions bring to mind Scriptures that encourage us to stay focused and on-track and to get rid of the things that trip us up. Following all the cameos of the great men and women of faith in Hebrews 11, Hebrews 12:1 clinches it for us: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
A few Sundays ago this verse was discussed in reference to the ancient Olympian runners who essentially “ran nekked” to ensure their speed and agility. So what trips you up in your daily life? What things do you need to lay aside to enable you to serve God more readily and with greater clarity? For me, downgrading from a smartphone to a less-smart phone has been a big help. I can still check Facebook and email and whatever else, but not as quickly–causing me to be aware of what I’m doing with my time and what I probably should be doing instead. Like cleaning. Or reading my Bible. Or making cookies. Getting enough sleep also helps. I notice my little man tends to be more cranky and less obedient when he’s tired, and I often wonder if it’s the same for adults. Maybe we are more obedient and less “led into temptation” when we are caught up on sleep. And exercise. Oh exercise. This is self-explanatory: just do it. Most of these are just disciplines I’m working on. Old habits die hard, but they will die. After all, Christ died for us so we could be set free from the bad entanglements and get tangled up with Him instead. And that is a far better way to live.
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