Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing. —Phyllis Diller
It was barely two (2) hours since my girls walked into the house from their summer camp. As I ambled up the stairs to the family room area, I couldn’t help but notice the scraps of paper that had littered the floor. I instinctively bent down to pick them up. I wasn’t quite up when from the corner of my eyes I spotted some broken crayons that had somehow rolled down from the brown coffee table. I calmly crouched over to pick the crayons up, still giving my girls space to steep in their camp experience. But when I then saw some Connect-4 game pieces (seeds) scattered on the floor toward the washroom and now the pile of books lying on the carpet; disorganized as if wobbled by an earthquake, I cried out summoning my kids, “Why can’t this house remain clean? why should books and pens always lie around? do we live in a house that moves?’’ I inquired facetiously. A question they’ve heard countless times. With little children, items never quite remain in their place for long, I thought to myself. Objects are either falling off, littering away, lying around, rolling down or flying off. I finally roused myself to accept the obvious; that a house inhabited by little children requires frequent cleaning and tidying.
While this thought lingered in my mind, I admittedly, spotted a correlation to my own spiritual life. Every so often, the Lord would point His finger at areas in my life that needed cleaning — litters I ignore, sections of my life that are wobbling out of alignment— especially impatience and believing the best of others .
Just as children interact with their environment leaving things out of order, we too in our interactions with our environment — spouses and children, siblings and in-laws, colleagues and friends,— unknowingly spawn and leave behind messes. When sequestered in close quarters with people — at work, church, home, school— we, time and again displace emotions and trust: we err in judgement, speak too soon, act too fast or not at all, we say too much or don’t speak up as much. We soil our relationships with hurtful words, prideful tones and indifferent attitudes. And like little children, we do not readily take the time to assess and clean up after ourselves… Until…
Not until we begin to topple over things. Pressed by stress, discomfort, explosions of anger, and mostly, eyes, closely watching, prying and seeing our mess, we are coerced to pause, assess and clean up.
What if we prioritized sanitizing our spiritual lives? Worse than the COVID-19 virus —and its variants—is the infectious virus ( issues) of the heart. What needless pain we bear, what peace we often forfeit when we neglect our heart condition. What if we heed Peter’s counsel: So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.. —1 peter 2:1 Message. This is a daily invitation to you and me to get rid of pride, jealousy, anger, contention, strife, carnality, callousness and all vices that permeate our relationships.
Peter dives right into telling us how to live clean lives. He does not suggest being overtly sin-conscious. Rather, Peter entreats us to drink deep (crave, earnestly desire, thirst for, consider as absolutely necessary) the pure milk of God’s word like newborn babies. The same way newborn babies depend on their mother’s milk for their sustenance and growth, so must we prioritize the nourishment of our souls with God’s word to fully mature—adults, who make fewer messes and readily clean after themselves.
As we crave and desire the Word, our love for Christ —the Word — also grows. Hence our awareness and desire to love others also grows. This, I believe, is an antidote for sin consciousness.
As they say, Improvement begins with I. Therefore Lord; I ask for the grace to crave and prioritize your word daily. The diligence to seek you more than I seek earthly things and the strength to pause during my day to meditate on your word so that I may grow up to be mature and whole in God.
The problem, therefore, is not that children mess up the house but that children remain children for far too long.
The problem is not that the house gets littered but that the house is left dirty …and for a long time.
It is not so much a problem that we have issues we need to sort out. It becomes a problem when we leave them unattended…and for a long time.
I encourage you to earnestly desire God’s word today.
God Bless and keep you!