Guys..my house is a disaster. There is laundry on the floor, the contents of a backpack and diaper bag poured over the floor to make room for another adventure, random items in random places, toys to trip over, and messes waiting to be cleaned up. The good news is, the clothes on the floor are clean and waiting to be folded, the toys represent the fact that I have a creative daughter who plays very well on her own and there are dishes in the dishwasher, representing the fact that I’ve begun the cleaning process. This is our home. One of my mentors-actually a few of them- have encouraged me to be ok with this. No, they haven’t encouraged me to be a pig and let my house go, but to minister through the daily chores, to let people in, to let discipleship happen over coffee and folded laundry and to be ok with people seeing me in the context of our not-so-perfect home. My generation calls this “being real.” Easier said than done. Opening the door and not apologizing about the “mess” (be it ever so slight) in hopes of saving face or that my guest will politely say, “Oh, you should see my house,” “This is nothing,” or “What mess?,” has not come easy for me. My pride craves affirmation that I am the best at everything. I’m not. I don’t always have a clean house. There, I said it. Sometimes my kitchen is disgusting and I’m embarrassed to look at it myself. Sometimes the garbage cans are full, Sometimes I forget to clean out the highchair and what I find later disgusts me. And sometimes, I get really bent out of shape about it. Sometimes I think that my messy house is a reflection of a much bigger picture of failure. Do you think that’s a stretch? I could say it this way: Sometimes I base my reality on present circumstance and I dwell on and I hem n’ haw (ahem) over it instead of picking up my crap and dealing with the problem. When it’s as bad as it gets, my first thought is “How did it get this way and where do I start?” Enter- excuse making monster. Since I’ve chosen not to make excuses, let’s move on to the “Where do I start” question. When it’s my house… I could pick up and get away with it for a bit longer, or I could clean. I’m talking about rallying the troops from the cleaning closet- the mop, the broom, the toilet brush, the chemicals- or natural cleaning products- but since we’re being “real”, I have chemicals in my house. 😛 And I clean. I go nuts. I pull out everything, go under everything, and scrub everything. Everything else goes on hold because today is cleaning day. Boom. When it’s my heart… I could change my attitude temporarily by venting and then pulling myself together enough to be presentable and make everything think I’m perfect, or I can deal with the heart issue by pulling all the crap off the shelf of my heart and looking at the nasty build up of sin that I have been hiding from myself. No chemical is enough to get rid of what I’m looking at. Only an all powerful and truly perfect God who loves in spite of the sin glaring in his face and mine, could clean up this heart. And He did.And He will. And He is. “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit..” Titus 3:4-5 I just looked up “Clean” in greek. kaqaroß It means: Clean and pure. Purified by fire. Like a vine pruned so that it can go on bearing fruit. Free from every admixture of what is false. Sincere, genuine and blameless. Innocent. Unstained with the guilt of anything. Another definition says “Free from corrupt desires.” This doesn’t mean that they won’t come back, but it means that because we as believers have been washed and renewed by the Holy Spirit, we are able to resist the temptation, whereas before, we were powerless to resist it on our own. Tonight I’m praising Him for the way he cleans and the way he motivates me to strive toward holiness.