Clean homes and clean hearts lead to the same thing: peace of mind.
It seemed to be a virus that swept throughout my home. It was not so much one of sickness as it was one of cleaning: de-cluttering, to be exact. Right after the decorations of Christmas began to come down, I went to work getting my office area back into order.
After almost two years of accumulating stuff, it was time to clear it out for a fresh start in the new year. As I cleaned and de-cluttered, I opened space to help develop a calm environment necessary for me to prepare for the upcoming projects and possibilities of 2020. As I worked, so did my wife. In our bedroom, she moved boxes that had piled up in the corner due to the holidays — books that piled up during the long days and clothes from the good old days (you still have those, right?). The next thing I knew, my two daughters were doing the same. Box after box and trash bag after trash bag filled the living room. It seemed that after the rooms of Christmas decorations came down, so did the walls of clutter hiding behind them.
I wonder if the cleaning of space allows us the creation of calm. Does an uncluttered heart bring about the presence of peace? As we throw out the bags of old, broken, unused and unwanted items, are we willing to do the same for our files of frustrations and hurts? What about the bags of bitterness, broken dreams and wronged relationships? I believe that a new year can spread a virus of “victorious living” if we choose to conquer the chaos in our lives starting with the clutter in our hearts.
I once saw a bumper sticker that stated, “When you get to the heart of the problem, it is usually the heart that is the problem.” No truer words were ever expressed both in our present times and in the days of old.
King David, in Psalm 51, called out to a gracious Heavenly Father to do what he and all of God’s children cannot do: clear the clutter. David wrote, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10 NKJV). It was only then that the hallowed halls of David’s heart were restored to the hope of living and loving life again (see verses 11-12).
How about you? Do you need a little hope this year, a little piece of peace for the coming months and a bit of blessings for the days ahead? Why not start with the house of the heart? Go from room to room and see if the clearing of clutter creates the space of serenity we all need every hour of every day. With each garbage bag of “Grrr” you place by the driveway of deliverance, sing a song of victory. It could be “Let it Go” (if you don’t know the song, just ask any child anywhere to sing it for you). It may be the old hymn “Victory in Jesus” or even the lyrics from Keith Green’s praise song, “Create in Me a Clean Heart.” A clean room gives you space to see to possibilities. A clean heart gives you a space to sing about the promises.
I have a rule in our home now: “If you can’t see the floor, clear it.” The same goes for the rooms in the house of our heart. If you can’t see the floor of God’s favor and feel the presence of His peace, it’s time to clear the complacent clutter of chaos to make way for the majestic momentum of a masterpiece in the making.
If you are interested in learning more about the “House of Your Heart,” email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to share the practical principles of powerful living and relationships.
Consider this closing thought. 2020 is a blessing from God to you. What you do with it will be a blessing back to Him. I have some extra trash bags if you need them.
Dr. Daniel Middlebrooks is the Senior Chaplain of First Call Church and the CEO/President of Chaplaincy Care, Inc.