Cleaning House

I’ve spent the last couple of days painting a friend’s bathroom. I’ve also been offering to help others clean and do various odd jobs. It sounds crazy to say this, but I actually enjoy it!

Sometimes, I work with the people I’m helping, and I love that. Quality time is my love language, so no matter what activity I’m doing with a person, I’m happy just being with them. Other times, I’m working on my own, and I’m content with that too. I’ve learned to be happy with my own company and having work to do with my hands gives me time to think and pray.

The thing I find interesting tonight is that my house is currently a wreck. I am embarrassed to admit this, but there are dirty clothes on the floor, clean clothes in the basket to be put away, and almost no surface in my kitchen that isn’t covered with stuff to be cleaned or tossed out or put away.

So, why do I find that interesting? Because while I love helping other people with cleaning or painting or whatever, I rarely enjoy doing those things in my own house. I suppose there is something to be said for helping others and making that a priority, but there is also something to be said for being a good steward of what God has given me to care for.

As I arrived home and started to clean the paint off my hands tonight, I started to think about the less visible ways I try to “help” people. How often do I try to help someone clean up an area of their life by pointing out a spot that could use some attention? I know there are times I seek out people who need to talk to someone when, in reality, I should be dealing with some things in my own life. It seems noble to always make myself available to others, but there are times when it is necessary to take a step back and look at the areas in my life that need work.

It can be uncomfortable to focus on the rubbish in our lives. We may be able to put off the work for a while, but at some point it will catch up with us. I have visitors arriving in 36 hours, and my home needs to be ready. I have been intending to get it ready for days, but have managed to convince myself I’m too busy helping (or in some cases just spending time with people) to do it today. After all, there is always tomorrow.

The problem is that I’ve reached the end of the tomorrows before others are affected by my mess. Crunch time has arrived, and I can no longer put off facing the dishes in my sink or the laundry or floors or… It can be that way in other areas of our lives too. If we put off the work, it will eventually affect not only us, but others as well.

Is there any “dirt” in your life you’ve been avoiding? It might be time for you to do some cleaning too…  

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The Pain of Being Still

I’ve had a difficult time writing today. Not because I have nothing to say. (I’m pretty sure that is a rare occurrence for me!) The problem has been my inability to be still.

 I have done something to my back, and for the last couple of days, sitting still has been nearly impossible. As long as I’m up and moving around, the pain radiating from my lower back into my legs is manageable. When I have tried to sit or lie down for any length of time, the discomfort has grown to the point that I physically cannot stay still.

Thankfully, the pain is easing slightly this afternoon, and I am able to sit down and put some words on the screen.

As I thought today about what I might write when I was able, I began to think of other times in my life when I have experienced a different kind of discomfort in being still. There have been so many times when I occupied my mind with anything and everything I could find or kept myself busy in any way I could think up to avoid being still with my thoughts.

 Have you ever been afraid to be alone with your thoughts? Have you experienced the discomfort of being still?

Typically when I experience that discomfort, it is because there is some thought or feeling I need to face. I keep my mind busy with television or music or Facebook or sometimes more productive tasks – anything I can find to avoid facing the issues I don’t want to deal with. I find it interesting (and often annoying) that God rarely lets me get away with avoiding the issues for very long. I’ve lost count of the TV shows which He has used to speak to me about the very things I’ve immersed myself in the show to avoid!

The thing is, I know that the sooner I allow God to bring things to light and speak His truth in the midst of the pain, the sooner I can be free to run with Him again. The world tells us that staying busy is the way to be productive, but I have found that in these times when I’m staying busy for the sake of busyness, the most productive thing I can do is to be still and let Him remind me that He is God in my circumstances.

And now, friends, as I get up and pace my flat and do some stretches to find relief, I invite you to be still and see if there is discomfort or pain for which you need some relief. If you find yourself unable to be still, I encourage to ask God for His help to face the cause and let Him bring healing and peace.