Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Cleaning of the Soul

Over the past year, I have become afflicted with a new condition. I have become a neat-freak. I have never been compelled to clean before the way that I am bound now. Mercy instilled these standards in my psyche for cleaning. The scrupulosity with which the staff inspected our cleaning was unprecedented. Who knew that baseboards, window frames, and grout were so dirty?? I never did. I am sure those who are active in cleaning services are aware of the intricacies of dirt, but I have always been blissfully ignorant of these details. Well, now that I know, I cannot just overlook them. I am not super OCD about them, but they can take up a bit too much of my awareness at times. I cannot ever leave dirty dishes in the sink. Nor can I bear to see any dust build up at work without immediately finding a dust rag. Smudges on windows must be exterminated as soon as I see them. Any build up of dirt on door frames is too much for me to put up with. To the amateur cleaner, a room may look decent, but to a more seasoned cleaner, it is evident that extensive scouring is necessary. It is indeed an affliction. I am so thankful that Mercy allowed me to walk in freedom from other places of bondage, but this new obsession is somewhat annoying. I am mostly kidding about this new scrupulosity being an affliction. I am thankful for this heightened awareness….by and large.

I have recently found that this awareness parallels much of my spiritual growth. As I grow closer to the Lord, He reveals little baseboards in my life that need more attention. He shows filthy areas that I never noticed before. To the naked eye, it may seem like it is a somewhat clean life, but God’s mirror of His Word reveals deeper dirt that He wants to scrub out of my life. It would be a daunting task if I were to attack it in my own power. I see little attitudes that creep in. I see places of carnal pride that pervade my thoughts. I see old new insecurities creeping in that I never before recognized as insecurities. I am disgusted at areas where I seek to be seen rather than let Christ be seen in me. I see the flesh more clearly than I ever have, and I cry, “Woe is me, I am ruined, for I am a woman of unclean lips, and I dwell amongst a people of unclean lips.”

I think this awareness is vital for the ministry that God has called us to. I am only beginning my journey, and I know that this is still somewhat “surface” that God is still scrubbing. It hurts.
Some people may be reading saying, “man, I see so much yuck in her. She isn’t in the intricacies. She still has much to work to do on surface levels.” You are certainly right. I have TONS of work to do, but praise the Lord that He has brought me to a place of awareness. It does not lead to shame but to power. This power arises out of the Spirit living in me. I am not intimidated because I do not struggle in my own power, but with the Power that is alive and active in my Spirit. This is possibly the difference between my cleanliness obsession at Starbucks and my soul-oriented spring cleaning. It is painful---the process of being pruned and purified, but it is so worth it. And God is gentle as He wrecks me. I know that sounds like a paradox, but it is not. God is a God of loving-kindness who purifies because of His love for me.

He is going through a process of spring cleaning of my soul, and the freshness of His cleaning is an aroma that stirs my heart and soul to sing His praises. I pray that His aroma daily arises more and more through my life.

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