I’m a neat freak. No doubt about it. I like everything to have it’s own place and stay there. People comment frequently about how neat and orderly our home is. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have days and weeks where it’s not up to par so to speak, but even at its worst it’s still pretty stinkin’ organized.
In fact, it’s how I start my day. I get up and organize first thing every single morning. I make the bed, I pick up and put things away, I wash a few dishes and wipe down the stove if necessary, and usually start a load of laundry. I simply can’t think clearly or focus on anything else until it’s done. Period.
Are you wondering where I’m going with this? Are you annoyed because all I’m doing is bragging about what a great house-picker-upper I am? Well, give me a minute…
What I really love it is how God uses it to speak to my heart. He’ll use absolutely anything no matter what it is, good, bad, ugly, obviously beautiful, seemingly insignificant, anything. I love that about Him.
My obsession with neatness is one of thousands of examples. It’s an everyday metaphor that causes me to search my heart as if God himself is sitting in my kitchen with a cup of hot tea and a morning smile to greet me when I stumble from my bedroom still sleepy-eyed, “Good morning! I started the laundry for you, but the bathroom sink definitely needs attention. While we’re on the topic, is there anything we need to discuss today? Anything we need to examine closely? Perhaps bring out the gloves and bleach for? Because you know, things may look clean, but are they really?”
Sometimes I roll my eyes and walk away. (a dead give-away that something needs to be dealt with)
Some days I burst in to tears immediately and crawl into His lap sobbing.
Other days I cock my head to the side, pondering for a moment and then, “Nope! I think we’re good today! But thanks for asking. And for starting the laundry, that really helps.”
But always the question is there, and always I have to answer it honestly.
And you see, though I pride myself for neatness, I cannot say the same for cleanliness. Big difference, you know. Deep clean days are hard for me. Case and point, our master bedroom ceiling fan. Oh man, I hate to clean that thing. I hate it. I don’t want to do it. I resist it at all costs, sometimes even leaving in ON for several days or weeks so I don’t have to see the nastiness. Just being honest here…
But even on those days, the deep–heart-cleaning-days where I resist with an absolutely defiant, “I don’t care to talk about it” response trying my best to ignore Him, He just kind of…hangs out. He’ll sit at the table with another cup of tea. Or He’ll follow me into my bathroom happily chatting while I put on makeup. Or into my reading room where I write. Gentleman that He is He won’t bother me as I work, He just sits quietly in the cozy golden chair in the corner, smiling, content just to be with me. Sometimes I’ll leave to avoid the discussion, but of course He just climbs into the passenger’s seat rattling about whatever song is on the radio and how He loves it when we create, just as He made us to, regardless of whether the result is techincally ‘Christian’ or not. (we’ve been discussing that one a lot lately) When I get really irritated I’ll text Linda to go for a walk, but even as we stroll I’ll know He’s still there, trailing along quietly behind us, waiting anxiously to be invited into the conversation.
Finally, eventually, I’ll stop. I’ll ask Him to give me a minute to collect my thoughts and to meet me in the reading room in just a few. I make a cup of hot tea, close the door, pull a cozy blanket around me, and settle down for a chat with the Golden Chair.
And always, always, am I glad that I did. And always do I wonder why I resisted in the first place because our talks are always so therapeutic and healing.
The infuriating thing is that no matter how obsessive I am about cleaning, things always get dirty again. Most of the time a little daily straightening keeps things in decent order, but ever so often He makes me stop and peer into those nooks and crannies (or up at the ceiling fan—ugh!) and take notice of the filth that’s gathered. Most often I resist at first and say I’ll get to it later, occasionally I get almost offended He even pointed it out, but in the end I always concede. And when I fall into bed later and stare up at my shiny, almost new looking fan, I breathe deeply and thankfully, even though I know soon enough I’ll have to do it all over. Again.
How do you deal with examining and purging your heart??