I’ve never been terribly good at spring cleaning. I love the idea of it, but we’re just always too busy in the spring with sports and dance and end of the year events. Many of the projects we’d like to tackle get pushed to the summer when things slow down. Obviously, that slow-down came early this year. And it just keeps coming. On our walks, we often see evidence of spring cleaning on the curb. Discarded items and trash that accumulates without notice.
It feels so good to get rid of the clutter in our homes. You know what else feels good? Getting rid of the clutter in our hearts. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Oh how I long for this. Most days I pray a prayer that goes something like this, “Lord, fill my heart with your spirit today.” But, you now what? There’s not much room in my heart for the spirit when it’s already filled with bitterness, fear, and worry. Time for some spring cleaning.
Anyone else feeling bitter? It’s been showing up in my life without warning. I’m bitter about the things we’re missing. I’m bitter about things not going my way. I’m bitter about not having control. And while it’s helpful that the thing I’m mad at is a terrible virus and not a person, bitterness has still taken root and it’s causing me to have a crappy attitude in front of my kids. It’s causing me to complain and (in the case of last night) throw a pretty embarrassing fit. We get a warning about this in Hebrews.
“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no 'root of bitterness' springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” -Hebrews 12:15
Last week, I attempted to pull the weeds in front of the house and I was reminded that the root systems on weeds are much more powerful than flowers. Weeds know they’re not wanted, so they dig their heels in to hang on for dear life. Bitterness does that. It helps you justify bad behavior by giving all kinds of reasons.
This isn’t fair.
I deserve better.
Time to go bitterness. You’ve taken residence too long and I have no need for you.
Another cobweb in my heart is fear. I cowers in the corner so I can’t easily sweep it up. It isn’t like bitterness. It’s sneaky. It whispers things in my ear.
Who do you think you are?
God won’t take care of you.
He can’t be trusted.
The Bible talks a lot about fear because we all struggle with it. Whether it’s a lack of confidence or something keeping us up at night, we have truth from the word to combat fear.
I love this one:
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." -Isaiah 41:10
Fear is just more clutter that can be thrown out to the curb. We need to stop focusing on all the noise around us and listen to God. He’s got this.
Worry is similar to fear, but for me, it’s more toxic. When I’m afraid of something, I analyze it from every angle. I give it too much power. Then, I finally break down and pray about it. Often, once I’ve prayed, I continue to worry. I know it doesn’t make sense. I know it’s not how I should handle things. I should pray first and then allow God to take it away.
But I don’t.
I allow it to invade my heart until I can’t see truth anymore. But this is the truth:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:6-7
It’s terrible logic to think I can handle things better than God. It’s stupid to think I care more about it than Him. But that’s what worry is all about. And I need to throw it into a tall kitchen bag or maybe one of those industrial sized trash bags and toss it in the dumpster.
Spring cleaning is important. It clears away junk that gets in the way and it makes room for better things. When it comes to our hearts, we need to clean up the junk so God can fill us with His spirit. It’s time to make some room for Him so He can transform our lives. I want that for my life and I want it for yours too.