Hope you are enjoying 2018. I've been waiting on the Lord for a New Year message .And once again as He usually does, He spoke to me during the every day happenings in my life. Hope this Word encourages and blesses you as it blessed me!
We all make New Year Resolutions, some people make it in their mind, while others jot them down on paper, the main aim behind this is to do better in life. And what better time for this than the onset of a New Year? During the Christmas holidays I planned to go beyond my routine and engage in a deeper cleaning around my house. You could call it Spring Cleaning in Winter! Anyway the thought of 'Out with the Old and making place for the New' really made sense to me. Sharing below 12 Spiritual Lessons I got from my personal New Year House cleaning experience.
1) Little by little and bit by bit.- Instead off biting of more than I could chew, as I knew my limitation of time, I decided to focus on one area at a time. In our life too, at the onset of the New Year, there may be many areas that we want to bring radical changes into. Applying the same logic let's clean up little by little and bit by bit. Quoting Creighton Abrams, "when eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.":)
2)What do I see? - We really have to take some time and open up our cupboards and drawers to make a random assessment of what we really have in there. I am always excited to find in there many things that I had totally forgotten I had as they had been tucked away safely for some other day. In the same way, We can pray" Lord, Open the eyes of my heart that I may see as you do." (Eph 1:18)What are the hidden or forgotten areas in the inner recesses of my mind that you want me to deal with ? That I need healing in ? What are the wrong attitudes of my heart or the wrong thought processes that you want me to correct?
3) Replace things in their proper place- However big or small your house is really doesn't make that much of a difference.The real key to a well organized home is that it must be functional. This means that 'there must be a place for everything and everything in its place.' Even the kids must know that after changing, that the unwashed clothes go into the laundry basket, that the keys are on the key ring....etc Spiritually too, we can try to bring orderliness in our prayer time, Bible story time, keeping the Sabbath by attending worship regularly etc.People say that a habit is formed in 21 days. So no matter how hard it is ,we can develop any new habit by repeating it consistently for 21 days and once formed, we will find it will not be a struggle any more.There is a time for everything (Eccl 3:1)
4) Declutter- To 'declutter means to remove the unnecessary items from an overcrowded place'- We need to remove the things we are not using in order to make space for the things we use regularly. I often am amazed by the memory of little children. I realized very soon that their excellent memory for things that really matter was due to sufficient storage space in their minds. They have no room for grudges or negative events. They delete them so quickly whereas a lot of us tend to overload our hard drives with so much of useless material that there is shortage of memory and even our processing capacity gets slowed down due to overcrowding. The solution is as simple as removing all the unnecessary files from our computers. Let us thus prioritize the essentials and remove the extras. This is the easiest way to get rid of the old and unwanted to make place for the new. I am reminded of Heb 12:1 which asks us to "throw away everything that hinders us and run with perseverence the race marked before us."
5) Use what you have -While in the mood of decluttering, we may be tempted to just throw away dusty things that have not been used in a long time or things that have loose handles etc. Replacing it with the latest model may even seem to be a good idea at first but trust me, we truly come to know the real worth and value of something taken for granted only when we go out to the market to look for a suitable replacement. More often than not, it is usually found that the tried & tested models are the best as they are much easier to use , not to mention a whole lot economical than going for another one.- The same thing applies to our Spiritual choices. Very often it happens that we may get so familiar with something in our life that we often see greener pastures elsewhere ; but only when we reach the other side of the fence do we realize how green the pasture we already had was. Be it our talents, our resources, family or contacts, God has given us exactly what each of us require. So apart from wiping the dust off or polishing or even tightening some loose screws,ultimately we will definitely be be better off by truly valuing and making optimal use of that which is already ours.Do not ever despise the day of small beginnings. Remember Jesus fed the multitude with the boy's lunch box (containing 5 barley loaves and 2 fishes)John 6:8-13. Let us never underestimate what the Lord can do with a sincere heart and willing hands.
6) Create new things with what you have- Old lunch boxes with missing lids could be used to hold small knick knacks like rubber bands, lighters, candles etc. We could get kids to decorate and make craft items like pencil stands, etc out of old tins or plastic bottles or vases out of jars etc Similarly in the New Year, let us use our talents and creativity to make something good and useful out of that which the Lord has given us. It could be to draw pictures or write poems or stories or sing or you may be a great listener or have an awesome sense of humor, you may be good at sports or a great cook or a techie genius or a voracious reader and have great expertise on some subject.Pray and ask the Lord to give you opportunities and use whatever talent the Lord has given you to draw others to Christ.(1 Pet 4:10)
7) Store what you have for future use- Things that may be reused but not for immediate use (for eg hand me down clothes or books) of elder kids for the younger ones can be stored in sealed boxes or bags for future use.Similarly, keep reading, writing, meditating on the Word, collecting articles, researching,etc and doing good even though you don't see any result or use of it immediately, it will definitely be of some use later on. 2 Tim 4:2 tells us to be prepared in season and out of season.
8) Share what you have - We may not need all the things we have or find and so we can remember friends or relatives who may need the things that our kids may have outgrown or which are good but of simply no use to us.Giving to Charity is also another way to make more space for ourselves while blessing another family. While we give to others, God will give to us through someone else!(Luke 6:38)
9) Ask for help when you need it- Do whatever you can yourself but also use whatever help you can get. Locate who is the best person who can help you with this thing you are struggling with and ask for help.Sometimes when facing a trial , you could ask for wisdom or prayer covering from your spiritual leader or someone you can trust. (Proverbs 15:22)
10) Learn from past mistakes- While deep cleaning my kitchen, I found that the cupboard top near the stove had some grease on it. This stubborn dirt had to be scrubbed repeatedly with steel wool as it was unlike the easily wipeable dust on the top of the other cupboard which held the crockery. The cupboards were identical but their position caused the difference.Similarly we should never be quick to judge another person's life. It may not be our fault that we face certain trials in life that leave us in sticky situations which require more prayer and deeper cleansing.
My domestic help scrubbed away all the grease and wiped the surface with paper, dried it with cloth and then spread plastic sheets on those cupboard tops. These sheets could easily be peeled away the next time it accumulated grease.Similarly, in our spiritual life also, we need to wisen up from our past mistakes by recognizing the pattern of our failure and then taking adequate and timely precautionary measures to avoid repeating the same mistakes.(Eph 5:15-17)
11)Invest wisely in essentials - Now that we know what we need to purchase we should make a list of essential items and choose the suitable place to shop for each by researching online or with friends and striking when the iron is hot (especially during the Year End Reduction/Clearance Sales)when prices are slashed down to half price on almost everything. The Virtuous woman in Prov 31 makes sure "her trading is profitable." (Prov 31:18)
12) Use Aromatic Essential Oils- Another thing we could do to calm the atmosphere in our house is to use air fresheners or aromatic essential oils. There are different fragrances available to choose from. For a better understanding of the benefits click here. Now the spiritual implication, just like the oils have healing properties, similarly praise and worship offered up to the Lord, soaking in His Holy Presence and meditating on The Word will cause any tensions or anxieties, worries, fears and sicknesses to leave and we will be healed and whole in the mighty name of Jesus.( Psalms 141:2)
Let us conclude by reminding ourselves of 2 Tim 2:21 which says that If we keep ourselves pure,we will be a special utensil for honorable use ready for the Master to use us for the propagation of His Kingdom.
Click to rededicate yourself to Him by singing Refiner's Fire: https://youtu.be/9Y8zP34AhuU
Do keep us in your prayers.
Best wishes for the New Year!