Friday, February 02, 2007

Clean House, Happy Heart

I love a clean house. The only problem is ... I'm lazy, I don't like to clean, I'd rather be doing ... anything else: reading, blogging, getting a cavity filled.

Oh, and then there's the Derek-factor (what my mother-in-law calls "putting fires out all day long"): in the same length of time I've spent cleaning a mess, the 2-year-old-tornado can make twice as much mess.

Since we've been in this new house, cleaning has been a bigger chore than ever. There are just so many rooms to keep up with! Of course, the size of our house does not explain why it seems the pile of dirty dishes has grown and why there are more piles of laundry lined up in the basement to be washed. But, nevertheless, the pile of dishes has grown, there is more laundry to clean, more dust has gathered, more beds have to be made (no, wait, that was the bad dream I had last night).

But we've also entertained more since being in this house. Our old little house was just not all that practical for having guests over. Yes, I let the size of the house embarrass me and keep me from having people over very often. But it really was difficult to have guests over when we didn't even have a table to offer. The 3-person rotation around the coffee table was a bit embarrassing. And larger groups just didn't fit. I mean, we had 4 people over once. They didn't seem too comfortable sitting on each other's laps, so we decided maybe we'd not have that many people over again.

We've had people over quite frequently since being in this house. Having more people over means the house has to be cleaned more often. Since I really enjoy having guests to entertain, I have not minded the extra cleaning involved with that. In fact, I am glad to have a reason to get the boys & Dan cleaning more often, because I really really do enjoy having a clean house.

As I was vacuuming this morning, getting ready to have the Mommy Gang over for lunch today, I was pondering the similarities between having a clean house and having a clean heart.

Having a clean house makes me feel good in so many ways. Not having a clean house makes me grumpy.
Having a clean house energizes me. Not having a clean house overwhelms me and makes me feel lazy.
Having a clean house allows me to relax. Not having a clean house makes me tense and easily upset.

What does having a clean heart mean? And what is the difference in our lives when our hearts are not clean?

When I was done vacuuming, I wrapped the cord up (are there any other tidy-cord-wrapping-obsessive people out there?) and started to roll the vacuum back to the hall closet. I noticed how the wheels left tracks on the carpet & how someone could see those tracks & assume I had vacuumed, even though I could leave those tracks without having vacuumed. Obviously, it would be a bit crazy to run the vacuum around the room without it turned on. You're putting some effort into making it look like it was vacuumed, why not have the vacuum on and actually pick up all that dirt so that the carpet will be clean? All anyone would have to do is get down a little closer to the carpet and see that it was not actually clean.

Still with me?

Why would we put some effort into cleaning ourselves of sin, but instead of staying clean we return again and again to the same old sins? Our hearts stay dirty because we just don't turn the vacuum on and truly rid our lives of those sins.

I can't think about a clean heart without this psalm running through my head:
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10)


Trey Morgan said...

Great analogy between a clean house and clean heart. Don't you wish cleaning your house was as easy having God clean your heart. Cleaning our house requires us doing all the work, cleaning our heart requires God.

Wow, He is so good.

Thanks for good post ... I like your heart.

laura said...

Beautiful analogy!! I have to admit though it's alot easier here with Sonia's help with the house, so I can't complain about the house part. But I love the thoughts about what we feel when we have a clean house... or was it heart? No just kidding, because truly the feelings for me are the same, house or heart. I have to tell you this quote though from a mommy cartoon book I have... let me see... something about how cleaning the house while you still have children living there is like shoveling the sidewalk while it's still snowing :) that one made me laugh out loud :)

Pat said...

Oh, Lisa, you're so wise. I appreciate your spiritual application. And I appreciate Trey Morgan's reminder that cleaning our heart requires letting God do all the work! We just have to be willing. Thanks for the excellent thoughts.

the third of its kind... said...

so I met some of your blogging friends last night. dedra (sp?) and robert. I recognized them as being usuals and dedra asked "are you lisa's brother?" and immediately I was waiting for the blog connection. Though I guess technically you know her from chios.
Anyway. She seemed to be very impressed with this blog. I know I like the update on my little nephews every now and then. keep it up sis.

Anonymous said...

You are too much! The analogies you come up with are excellent. This reminded me of Terry our children's pastor, (she has since gone to Florida), anyway her analogies were always wonderful. She had one about the donut being a circle. Some donuts have holes, some don't, it is the ones that don't that christians like. We consider the hole the same as a family of the church and we are always better inside than out. By the way #1 having a carpet that shows wheels marks means you have good carpeting, #2 "V" your room backwards out of it, then no wheel marks. Love ya lots, Aunt Dawn

jonandjen said...

When I think about spiritual housecleaning in my heart, I think about the continual process that is required of coming before the Lord with humility. The story of the man who exorcised the one demon but didn't fill his heart with good things and seven more came back to inhabit his home...that's a lesson for me. It isn't just cleaning, it is making sure that my home and my heart are filled with good things, not just swept clean. They need to be swept clean and then invite the company of the Holy Spirit to set up residence. This is the harder part for me, is remembering to invite the Spirit to inhabit my life and fill me with the fruit of his spirit.
Thanks for the reminder Lisa, peace.

Marcia said...

Hi Lisa. Its Marcia Etheridge from Chios. I loved your clean home - clean heart analogy. It reminded me of a sermon I just listened to. The message was about not letting God into all areas of our life. Satan sees these areas, just like the not clean areas of our heart, and knows where we are vulnerable to him.
Its great to see you in the blogging world. I hope this wasn't too deep for a I haven't seen you in 8 years re-connection. :)

Trey Morgan said...

PS - I shared with my sweet wife your thoughts on your blog. She told me, anyone who needs to feel better is welcome to come work on her house. She'll volenteer it. ha

Lisa said...

Wow, thanks for all the comments, guys. I haven't been on the computer much over the weekend. I'm back, though! :)

Thanks, Trey, for the addition: indeed, we let God do the "heart-cleaning." An important difference to note. And your wife's comment made me laugh out loud (my kids are giving me strange looks now).

Laura, I think it was Phyllis Diller that said that, & I agree. Especially with a young child like Derek, there's almost no point in even beginning the clean-up. :)

Thanks, Mom. :)

Trey (B), it was the Channings you met. Their link is on my blogroll if you want to check it out. You'll notice comments from "Dee" quite often, & probably already have. That's the girl you met! :) She told me she goes into MO a lot & I told her to look for you.

Jen & Marcia, thanks for also adding an important note: in addition to letting God clean our hearts, in order to keep them clean we let the Holy Spirit dwell in us & remind us how to stay clean & keep Satan out. (If only there was someone like Laura's Sonia that we could invite to dwell in our house & keep it clean!)

Marcia, it's great to hear from you again. I am looking forward to keeping in touch with you!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh.. i totally agree... clean surroundings makes everything seem clearer!

God bless you lots this day
Maria in the UK

Neva said...

One of the SIBI instructors used to say, while God does the cleaning it is up to us to not do the dirtying of our hearts. He said since the Lord is in His holy temple (our heart) we play host to deity everyday. That was powerful. I know how much I try to have a clean house when inlaws come to visit---even more so when deity comes to stay. How awesome is a God who cleans the house before He comes to live in it?

Lisa said...

Neva, is SIBI Sunset?? My dad and grandfather went to school there years ago, when it was Sunset School of Preaching. Glad to have you add your thoughts. I've enjoyed reading your blog lately, thanks to Bill over at Spiritual Oasis. I guess now that you know I read I'd better quit lurking & leave a comment. :) Hope to see you back again!

Neva said...

Yes, Sunset School of Preaching is now Sunset International Bible Institute. My first husband and I graduated from SSOP then several years after he died, I married another SSOP graduate while I was working at SIBI--go figure.
Oh and I will definitely be back