a deeper spring cleaning

There is so much beauty outside this time of year. I love the flowers starting to bloom, the weather beginning to warm up and the cheerful laughs of children finally getting to play outside.

But with all the beauty, there is a layer of dust to be cleaned. There are places to be looked at that you haven’t given attention to in a long time.

I’m not talking about the bookshelf, although it also has a layer of dust – I’m talking about the heart. Time for a much deeper spring clean, and my soul needs it.

I often wonder why people take the New Year to make a resolution. I understand it is a new year which makes it a calendar-friendly time to make new goals.

However, I am not energized in January. Those motivations and goals are like the winter daylight – short lived.

But spring time brings energy, brings life and brings a remembrance of the promise we were given: Jesus died on the cross, for me and for you, so that we can LIVE – I mean really, dig-your-hands-in-the-soil kind of LIVE.

Here is what I’ll be tackling this spring:

The Living Room

This is where a lot of dirt can pile up. There is so much commotion in this area. People are coming and going, there is work piled high, there are toys under the couch, and who knows what is under the cushions.

This is where the real priorities get pushed aside for busyness or distraction. Our commitments just seem to get buried behind pillows.

You ran errands, worked, cleaned and ran yourself into a frenzy all day so when you hit that couch, your commitment to read her a book, go to your Bible study, call your friend, workout – it all just becomes not-that-important in your head.

You begin making excuses or justifying your actions. It is OK if you skip out – you deserve a night-off.  

We are human. We are really good at justifying our laziness and pushing aside commitments.

And this isn’t to say we don’t deserve to sit on that couch and relax, just as long as our promises and the priorities we have aren’t getting traded in.

Charles E. Hummel said, “We live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that many important tasks need not be done today, or even this week. But often the urgent, though less important, tasks call for immediate response – endless demands pressure every waking hour. With a sense of loss we recall the important tasks that have been shunted aside. We realize that we’ve become slaves to the tyranny of the urgent.”

Take a good look at this room. Dust off your Bible or the books you said you would read. Fill your couches with good friends that you’ve been meaning to talk with.

When we think that we just need more time in a day, may really be just a need for some re-organization. Say “no” to the urgent and focus on the important.


Time to flip the mattress. While you may think that all the relationships in your life are just fine, these relationships whether with God, your spouse, children or other family and friends might need some serious readjusting.

Pushing aside God for the world’s busyness will drain you even further. There is nothing more crucial than time with Him.

As Sarah Young reminds, He is omnipotent and is able to bend time and events in your favor. You will find that you can accomplish more in less time after you’ve given time to Him.

Open the door with your spouse or children. Sit them down and ask if there is anything you can do to strengthen or if anything you are doing is hindering the relationship.

Friendships are a common area that are built up with dust, worn down, stepped on and pushed aside. Stop ignoring your friends. If you want them to go away, ignoring is the way to do it. But if you don’t want them to go away, time and effort is required. They are only going to call you or send you so many invitations before they get tired and stop.

Shake out the rugs. Ask for forgiveness or forgive (even if the other person didn’t ask you). Forgiveness and moving on is the bleach of heart-cleaners.

Our relationships are vital and whether they require a deep clean or just a polish, nothing is more beneficial and rewarding than taking that effort to do so.

Laundry Room

After looking at the pile of dirt, organize what needs to be washed and figure out the best way to do it. Learning how to say “no” to the urgent and “yes” to the important may be a gentle and slow adaption while deciding to attend a weekly Bible study or deciding to sit down at the dinner table as a family and talk may be faster and easier.

Whatever it is, give it thought and commitment. The thing with laundry is that it has to get done. Even if you keep pushing the dryer button, at some point, you have to give it attention. Make small goals and finish it to the end.

This column was published at http://www.nrtoday.com


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