Yesterday I decided to clean my office while my boys got ready for school—evidence that miracles still happen. In the last few weeks, I’ve taken to working on the kitchen island because I needed a change of scenery—at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself.
But if I was being honest…
It was more than that. My office was a mess. Books and stacks of papers were all over the floor, along with a discarded sweatshirt. Post-it notes, 3×5 cards, pens, highlighters, trash, empty LaCroix water cans, wrappers, and coffee cups cluttered my desk. Quilts and other sweatshirts covered my chairs. To make matters worse, my office hadn’t been dusted or vacuumed in weeks because of the clutter. It was gross!
So, if I was being honest, I worked in the kitchen because it was too icky to be in my office.
However, this mess didn’t happen all at once. It crept in gradually. Drop this off on the desk while putting these other things away…I will get to it later. Put this stack of books here; I might need them for my next post or the Bible study…I can shelf them later. Let me set this on the floor before I drive a boy to his next event…I will put it away when I get back.
But I never did get back to any of it. Little by little, the mess grew from untidiness to nasty. I’m not even sure when it degraded into this special kind of ick. But it gotten to the point that I only went in there to grab something, look up a file, or add something else to the clutter; all the while I turned a blind eye to the mess and promised to get to it later.
And later never came.
As I was shredding a stack of papers, I couldn’t help but think about how this correlates with our lives.
If we’re being honest…
There are times when our lives have degraded to an icky place, and we turn a blind eye to it. We want to hit the re-do button because we’re not sure what happened to get us into this state. I’m not talking about those times when tragedy turns your life upside-down. I’m talking about The Ick. The “how did I get here?” moments.
And if we’re being honest…we know it’s because of unconfessed sin in our life.
The kind that creeps in. The kind that’s no big deal. The kind that causes a beautiful life to be untidy, and when left unchecked creates a disaster. It could be
- The negativity we keep carrying around
- The lies that come just as easily as breathing
- The habitual complaining continually slipping off our tongue
- Gossiping about people with our roommates, co-workers, or family members
- The books we read—especially those that fill your imagination with more erotic images than any porn movie or magazine could
- Selfishness with our time, property, or money—assuming it is all ours to do with as we wish
- Only doing what makes us happy and getting irritated when something doesn’t
- Our pride not only pushing us to perfectionism but demanding it from others as well
- Expecting those who don’t believe in Jesus or follow Him to act as they do
- Expecting everyone to hold to our Chrisitan worldview
- Passing harsh judgment on others’ brokenness that we know nothing about
If I’m being honest…
I’ve been guilty of all of these. They sneak in silently, a little at a time. A conversation, a slip of the tongue, a thoughtless remark; I don’t notice what a mess I’m creating until I feel–ick. I then turn a blind eye to my sin and tell myself I will deal with it later. But later doesn’t come…at least not until I realize I’ve become a person I don’t want to be around…
That’s when Psalm 32 becomes my prayer of refreshment, to clean out the ick:
“Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those
whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin,
my body wasted away,
and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
Interlude Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time,
that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. For you are my hiding place;
you protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory.
The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” Many sorrows come to the wicked,
but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the LORD. So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him!
Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!”