I admit it...I love shows about cleaning, organizing, and general makeovers. My favorite is Clean Sweep, but more often I catch episodes of Clean House. Whichever the premise is the same. Come in, help people remove the junk, redecorate and organize and leave with everyone feeling happy...well, almost everyone. Sometimes they actually find people who just can't part with their clutter.
This past week, I watched an episode about "The Messiest Home". There were actually quite a few candidates for this...I probably could have been one, but that's for another blog. Anyway, the home that was ultimately chosen for this "makeover" looked so very normal on the outside. It had pretty plants hanging at the entrance, and a yard that looked taken care of. It would make one wonder why this home was chosen...until you walked in the door that is.
Now, I know lots of people who have a "junk room" in their home, but this was way beyond that. By the time they finished clearing out the stuff for the yard sale, they were able to almost fill a 7,000 foot store with STUFF! Then, thousands of people flocked to this yard sale in hopes of finding a treasure. Amazing.
What really set this episode apart from the rest, however, was the homeowners. Throughout the process, they seemed to be in denial that they had a problem. In their eyes, it was just stuff that had accumulated over 30 years. Now, maybe I shouldn't say anything. When we moved into our home, we left a house that had only 4 small closets into one with 10 closets plus storage cabinets. My husband told me we'd never be able to move again because after seeing what I had stuffed into 4 closets, he didn't want to even think about what I might fit into 10! Still, this family made my clutter look clean!
It was easy to see the problem...at least it was easy for others to see. These homeowners were holding onto stuff that in anyone else's eyes would be considered JUNK. What is crazy is that they were being offered a fresh, clean, organized new start...but they didn't want to let go of what they had. It was almost as though they preferred the junk.
I got the mental picture of myself doing this very thing with God. I wondered how many times I looked fine on the outside but inside I have hidden in the dark corners of myself, clutching some piece of junk or rubbish that I refused to let go of. I was being offered hope and freshness and a chance to begin again, but I wouldn't let go of that piece of trash I was holding on to. For those who have seen The Lord of the Rings, picture Gollum and his "precious"...only "precious" is nothing more than a piece of garbage. I know that's a pretty strong word picture, but somehow it seems to fit.
Back to our show. In some of the homes, the renovation crew actually unearths rats' nests. It is not a pleasant process, but in order to "clean house", sometimes you have to get rid of some really nasty junk. I once heard a pastor say that when God picks up the rocks in our lives and shows us what lies underneath, it's not so He can condemn us, but so that He can help us get rid of it. He wants so much more for us, but first some of the garbage has to go.
One of the things you can almost always see in an episode is the homeowner changing their mind during the yard sale. They see something they "just can't give up" and they try to sneak it back into the house. I wonder how many times I do this with God as well. In the process of God showing me just how yucky something is, instead of allowing Him to completely clean my life, I reach out and "take it back". Don't ask me why anyone would want to hold onto garbage, but we all do it. It's as if we don't trust Him to make it better...or maybe our "garbage" is sentimental and we just can't part with it no matter how gross it might be.
In the end, these shows reveal beautiful new homes, free of clutter and stuff that isn't really needed. The homeowners almost always say it's like a weight has been lifted. They feel truly free.
Today's blog ends with one of my most favorite verses that is also my prayer. Psalm 51:10: "Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Sounds like having a "clean house" to me.