It’s no news to those close to me that I am turning a new leaf in the cleaning department. A few weeks ago, I printed off a sheet that divided our house into 40 areas and I’ve been cleaning each area out, one area per day. I’m also applying the KonMari method as I clean things out and asking, “Does this bring me joy?” as I clean. I am amazed at things I have held on to that do not bring me joy. It’s a liberating method and I’m loving it. I’ve applied it to my shopping and I don’t think I’ve bought a single thing in the past 3 weeks besides food.
Last night, as I sat in a heap of papers that contained bills from Cingular and receipts from Blockbuster video rentals (if that gives any indication of how long I have held on to these papers) I was looking around at the mess I had made. The heap came from a small magazine rack and a paper bag I had brought up from the garage last summer, almost a year ago, to go through before I just tossed it all.
Staring at the pile of paper and dust around me, I was amazed at how much of a mess I had made from that little bag and a magazine rack. It looked like a lot more than what I had started with and I ended up with an entire garbage bag full. I don’t know how. I don’t know where it all came from. Once it was all bagged up and I had separated out the papers I needed to keep, which were very few, I looked at the area where it had been. I looked at the oven that I had scrubbed out first after letting a baking soda paste sit in it overnight. Everything was sparkling. It gave me peace and it made me smile.
It took me a little over three hours. I spent that three hours talking with God. During our talk, He showed me a few things. I started with a somewhat clean area. The papers were in a bag and a rack, put up. The stove was closed so you couldn’t see the gunk and the paste on the inside. To the average onlooker, all was well. In order to get the grease and gunk out of the oven, I had to make a mess by spreading the paste all over it. When I went to scrub it down, it got even messier. The paste mixed with the grease and created a brown gritty sludge. It took some work to wipe it all out and make sure I got every bit of baking soda out. Then I turned the broiler on to burn off the pieces I missed. Next, when I started on the paper, as I already mentioned, it went from being contained into two small areas to looking like a paper canon exploded in the room.
When life seems to be a mess and things are all over the place, we sometimes think everything hit at once, like it came out of nowhere, and it all seems so much bigger and overwhelming than it did before. If we really think about it though, those “messy” things, were there all along, hidden away, out of sight. They must be pulled out, sifted through, scrubbed down, wiped out, torn up, thrown out and tidied up to look sparkly.
God will take us through our mess. He will carry us, drag us or walk beside us. It’s up to us. He gets things messy so He can clean us up. He has to dig out the grime, scrape off the grease and tear up the old and unnecessary papers we no longer need. When things appear to be getting worse in life, pray on through and hold tight to your faith. Know that He is God and always will be. He is refining you for greater things. Great days are ahead when they look the dimmest. You will come out on the other side with joy and peace. He will never leave you or forsake you. Choose to walk with Him. Choose to let go of the old, embrace the new and carry on.
Psalm 66:10 (KJV)
For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.