I spent last weekend cleaning my house from top to bottom. I mean a really good, thorough deep cleaning. I scrubbed cabinets, bathtubs and toilets. I dusted ceiling fans, baseboards and countertops. I swept, vacuumed and mopped.
It took me two whole days to get the job done and even though my hands were cramped and blistered, you better believe I found the strength to light about ten candles before I sat down in the recliner and basked in the cleanliness.
If you were to come to my house right now and look around, you would think I keep an immaculate and organized home. Which it is, until you open a cabinet, drawer or closet. Yea, I did not say that was on my to-do list this past weekend.
If you open almost any given cabinet, drawer or closet in my entire house, you will find complete disarray. There are clothes and shoes scattered on the floor of the closets, the dishes are in no specific place inside the cabinets and God knows what you will find when you slide open a drawer. Enter at your own risk there.
Still, I was able to sit down in that recliner in content and peaceful bliss as I flipped through the movies on Netflix. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
That was until, the next day, when I asked my husband to grab a pair of my boots out of my closet. You can guess how that went.
I have always been like this. As long as I do not see it, I won’t even think about it. Just shut the door and only go in when I absolutely have to, shake my head at the mess, promise to get it organized soon, shut the door again until the next time I have to wade through the unknowns of a kitchen drawer.
I couldn’t help but draw a parallel to my life. I saw the similarities between my disassociation within my home compared to my disassociation within my entire being.
For example, if you were my friend on social media, you would probably think I live a pretty glorious life. You may think I have the perfect relationship, friends, and family. That would be because I only share the good stuff, the highlights. I keep it nice and positive.
I almost never share my problems but believe me I definitely have them. I do not share pictures of my kids throwing an absolute tantrum, but believe me, they do. I do not share if I had a disagreement with a friend or family member but believe me, they happen. I do not share the tough aspects of my job but believe me, they exist.
Most of the time if you saw me out in public, I may appear well put together. I am dressed in decent clothes, a full face of makeup, and my hair is done.
Just like my house, if you saw me you may think I have it all together, but you are unaware of the fact that my mind is probably racing ninety to nothing, working down an inner checklist of things I need to get done or that I am full of anxiety worrying about something completely out of my control, which happens almost daily. You would not see that I am waiting for my next opportunity to sit in my car and scream or cry just to try and find some kind of outlet, some way to get all the mess inside of my head- out!
I used to think as long as everyone saw the put together and glorious parts, that is all that mattered. If everyone thought I had my life together, then that would be enough. If everyone thought I was fulfilled and happy, then maybe one day it would be true.
It took me a long time, 31 years exactly, to realize I really needed to do some soul searching, some looking on the inside. I could not keep opening that door whenever it was necessary, then closing it back up and trying my best to convince myself that the problem was no longer there.
I had to begin working on myself and keep at it. It was not and still is not something that happens overnight. It is something I must consciously do every day and definitely not something that I can rely on myself alone to accomplish.
I had to turn to God and ask Him for help and guidance. I knew I did not want to keep ignoring the disorder inside my head. He is helping me sort that out. While my head may still be completely jumbled most of the time (it is a work in progress), I know God has created within me a pure and clean heart.
This is why I relate to the woman at the well so much. The one that was fetching water to scrub her dirty house, the one with the messy personal life- having five previous husbands and working on her sixth one. Her and I both had that long conversation with the only One capable of cleansing someone from the inside out.
Like King David asked God, I also asked Him, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
So, maybe you have some serious house cleaning to do, but maybe you have some heart cleaning to do, as well?
I promise I will get to the messy closet eventually.
(Paige Nash is a busy wife and mom with a clean house and a digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal.)
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