He offered to take me out shopping on Saturday for Valentine’s Day. A few hours of my husband patiently waiting for me to try on clothes and giving me his opinion – what wife wouldn’t jump at that? So at first I agreed, but the more I thought about it, there was something I really wanted more than a shopping trip this particular weekend. I told him the other night that what I really wanted was to take advantage of both of us being home and awake at the same time and clean the house.
Yes, my Valentine’s Day request is to have his help cleaning up. And he more than agreed – and actually got kind of excited about it.
Maybe I should explain…
Jeff and I are a lot alike in two very unfortunate ways – we both procrastinate and we’re both cluttered people. This makes for a messy house. What’s even worse, we can go an embarrassingly long time without even noticing that something needs to be done about the growing piles slowly closing in on us. I’m the one who eventually says something like, “I can’t take this house anymore!” The thing is, by the time I’m saying that the house is so cluttered and icky-feeling that I don’t know where to start, and that feeling is as overwhelming as the stuff lining the paths from one room to another.
I realized the other day that the way we approach cleaning our house is scarily similar to how we approach sin in our lives. With the season of Lent officially here this cleaning issue seems a little too timely.
I get so used to the mess that I stop seeing it. I just don’t notice it anymore. Then, one day, all I can see are the piles, the dirt, the dust, and by that time there’s so much of it that it’s almost too much to handle. I need help. I need motivation. I need to know that it’s possible not to live like that anymore.
How often do we let sin build up so much in our lives that we don’t even notice it anymore? And by the time we do realize what’s going on sin is taking over and we can’t handle it. Sin isn’t something we can get rid of by ourselves. We need help, motivation, and we need to know it’s possible to live differently.
Isn’t that the whole reason for Ash Wednesday, for Lent, for Jesus coming to take our place on the cross?
Ash Wednesday is like the day you realize your house is (as I lovingly call ours at this point) “a pit”. The Light turns on in our hearts and we see every speck of dirt, every crumb, and every towering pile of sin. Lent is the 40 days of deep soul-cleaning that follows. As the days of this season go by we realize more and more our helpless condition. We see our sin and feel its overwhelming weight. It’s a heavy six weeks, but so vital to our faith. Because we need to be brought to our knees in repentance. We need to see the vast difference between who we are and who God is. We need to understand that we can’t clean house on our own. God needs to prepare us to hear again of the One who came to clean our hearts with his blood.
My husband’s willingness to go along with my weird Valentine’s request is really his way of showing love for me. God walking with us through the next 40 days is a way He’s showing love to us. I pray your deep soul-cleaning is just as refreshing as having a clean house!