Spring is a time to wake up and smell the flowers. It’s also a time to clean. It’s funny how cobwebs grow crazy in the grey of winter and glisten in the light of spring. I crave clean and simple after a long winter, don’t you? And for me a simpler outside invites a simpler inside, I just have to erase a few scribbles to see it. Cleared dust and a de-cluttered life is a great way to open the windows and let in some fresh air.
So if a spring clean is on your to-do list, I’m hoping a refreshed “you” can be an added check-mark to the page. Finding loveliness is easier when we rid unnecessary to make room for what matters most. So let’s get started and spring clean together.
Laundry and stuff. I know laundry isn’t necessarily a “spring cleaning” project, but laundry does tend to run from me. If I can catch up to it once a year it’s like watching the first sliver of green pop through the white of bleached snow. Rare and breathtaking. Last week I found a favorite shirt hiding in a wad in the deepest, darkest, and bottomest section of the clothes hamper. Like I ever see the bottom of those depths.
Granted, I could kick myself with a dirty sock when dresser drawers grow sparse. Especially when my husband has to rummage for something…anything clean. Good gracious. Not that Jerry doesn’t try to be sweet about it, “Honey, do you happen to know where a clean pair of socks might be?” “Uhhh? Maybe Target.”
And it’s funny how relieved I was to find that lost shirt in the hamper that day. It made me reflect on the sweet relief that arises with much more important discoveries. Like the time I found my grandmother’s ring in the dryer lint-trap. Talk about a catch basket of saving grace. I’ve found other things in the lint trap, less grace-type and more gross-type things. A few worms. Even a petrified frog once. “Did you find the baby frog, mommy? I stuck it in my pocket to keep it warm.” “Oh, it’s warm alright. A bit toasty, Britty.”
Or what about spiritual relief? There is nourishment when we walk in clean conscience or clear an overgrown path to God. It is a sense of release that flows when we purge the unwanted from our spirits: Unforgiveness, resentment, or a sensitive sense of self. How easy it is to captivate all of our own attention and clutter up our lives. But then there is the glossy of grace. It’s flawless and see-through like glass that will never need cleaned no matter how much we smear it up. But…we have to choose.
The simple truth: God’s love doesn’t require that we work for it, but surrender to it. And believe He sacrificed everything to love us beyond our messy.
Like the day I hesitantly handed over control of my life. I felt free to move around in my heart for the very first time. I gave God all of my dirt. My filth had been jam-packed and disguised behind the thought that I was a good person. I knew I was a hoarding heart being buried alive. My soul was so full and natural with guilt and pain that I couldn’t even begin to dig myself out.
I love how C.S. Lewis describes it, “The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions—to Christ.”(Mere Christianity, Harper One, 1952). Ahhh relief!
A cold cut of pain pulled me to Christ. Then God covered me with His warm white and began a work in me. A spring clean. A renovation. Not a sparkling path of prosperity and opportunity as some may have you believe, but of surrender, of heavy lean, and of weak-kneed trust. Again C.S. Lewis explains this life renovated:
“I find I must borrow yet another parable from George MacDonald. Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is he up to? The explanation is that he is building quit a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” (Mere Christianity, Harper One, 1952).
I like to spring clean—but love the clean of Christ living in me. And since spring is the time to wake up and smell the flowers, I may have to head outside before anymore cobwebs glisten at me in the sunlight. Besides, spring isn’t always about clean, sometimes it’s about mud puddles and dirt. Whee!