Here it is: October. The first day of a pretty powerful month. It's Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. Breast Cancer Awareness month. It's my birthday month. It's also the month of 31 Days, where I committed to do one post per day pertaining to a single topic. My topic of choice is "Soul Food", where I'll be posting encouragement to nourish the soul. That's the plan, anyway. I've never done anything for 31 days in a row other than wake up. This is big. This is challenging. This is myself wanting to finish something I start. Lord, help me.
Sometimes a task as simple as making toast becomes a huge chore. I walk into the kitchen to make my toast, but notice the counter in front of the toaster is covered with dirty dishes. The dishwasher is full of clean dishes, so in order to move the dirty dishes, I have to unload the dishwasher and put the clean dishes away. Then I can load the dishwasher with the dirty dishes, and then I might as well get all the pots and pans washed so the whole counter can be cleared off. When I open the fridge to get my jelly, I notice it's been a while since the shelves were cleaned off. One shelf at a time, starting with the top, I take out the contents of the fridge, remove the shelf, give it a good scrub, and put it back in the fridge. I rearrange all the contents, making sure they're organized and clearly visible. I notice we only have a third stick of butter left, so I open the freezer to retrieve more. The bag of frozen berries nearly falls on my foot, but I catch it just in time. Then I make myself a smoothie using the berries, because they reminded me I could have one, and that sounds pretty good. I start to brew some coffee as well, and go about finding my favorite mug from which to sip it. Eventually I remember I need to take my vitamins, so with the little smoothie I have left, I get those swallowed. Coffee tastes so much better when sipped from my favorite spot on the sofa, which coincidentally is covered with laundry. I start to fold it and put it away. My tummy rumbles. You know what would taste good, but I'm entirely too exhausted now to make? Toast...
The problem isn't that I'm easily distracted. The problem is I've allowed too many distractions to accumulate, and my environment has become cluttered, disorganized, and at times, overrun. If I could just maintain it along the way, or keep up with it somehow, when I wanted toast, I could just go in and make toast! The same is true for our emotional and spiritual selves. We allow them to become cluttered, overrun, and disorganized. Instead of being at the point of reflection, worship, or thought we want to be, we have to go around and get rid of the clutter first. Before we can accomplish our goals, we have to address whatever is holding us back.
Often times when the path to where we want to go is littered with obstacles, we become flustered, overwhelmed, and prone to sit right where we're at and not budge. It's too much work to go on. We'll just get comfortable where we are. More often than not, that's a big mistake. We end up shorting ourselves in so many opportunities. Usually if we just keep going, and look at the messes we've mastered along the way, we end up feeling so much better, and learning so much more than we would have otherwise.
Take some time to do some spiritual housecleaning today. Get rid of the things you don't need. Anger, malice, contempt, bitterness. Face those soul-stains you've been avoiding. Lies, fear, regret. Dust off your joy, shine up your forgiveness, and put that trust back on display.
"Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart
and with the full assurance that faith brings,
having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience
and having our bodies washed with pure water."
~ Hebrews 10:22