Spring Cleaning the Heart

While the origins of the term are debated, “spring cleaning” is generally used to describe episodes of intense and thorough cleaning, traditionally completed as the bright warmth of spring illuminates and generates life out of quiescent winter.  Just as dust gathers on drapes and grime accumulates on windows, sin can collect in our hearts during the dormant, winter seasons in our spiritual walks. The signs of spring are a powerful reminder to search our hearts and rid them of sinful debris.

Spring Cleaning the Heart | Sometimes I grow frustrated with myself after my response to a situation is sinful. What if I approached these reactions as I would approach spring cleaning?

Sometimes I am struck—seemingly out of nowhere—by how far I have to go until I live the way God has called His followers to live. I’ll be going through the routines of life when something happens and my reaction is one of jealousy, anxiety, or distrust of God’s goodness. (Unfortunately, my sinful reactions are not limited to these three—they are just the ones I’ve been convicted of lately!) I’m able to push the tugging sensation of conviction to the back of my mind while I continue about my tasks, but once I’m still, such as during my quiet time, the solemnity of these reactions weighs on me.

At this point I usually start mentally berating myself. Why am I not more mature in my faith? How can I not be more confident of God’s goodness given that I’ve experienced it in the past? This haranguing doesn’t accomplish much. What if I took action instead? What if I approached these sinful reactions as I would approach spring cleaning in my home?

Clearing clutter – To clear a cluttered closet or drawer, I’d toss out unneeded items. What unneeded matters clutter my heart? Grudges? Unreasonable expectations? Envy? Fears about the future? It’s time to throw them out.

Washing windows – To clean windows, I’d spray and wipe until they were crystal clear. What grime mars my outlook on life? Lies I’m told by the world? The instinct to promote myself? The praises or criticisms of others? It’s time to wipe my perspective clear.

Dusting surfaces – To polish surfaces, I’d shake dust off the curtains and brush away the cobwebs that have formed in the corners of the room. What dust and webs have settled on or entangled me? Guilt about past sins? Laziness? Uncertainty about which action to take? It’s time to freshen the surfaces.

Scrubbing floors – To clean the floor, I’d get on my hands and knees and scrub with soap until the lather broke up the grime. What grime stains my heart? Habits I just can’t seem to break? Deep-seated attitudes that need to change? It’s time to apply a little pressure and scrub until the muck dissipates.

I’m spring cleaning my heart this season. I hope you’ll join me. Psalm 51 is a great place to start.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

What cleaning do you need to do in your heart this spring?

Shared on the following link-ups:

Word Filled Wednesday, Welcome Home Wednesday, Growing Homemakers, Titus 2 Tuesday, Making Your Home Sing & Living Proverbs 31.

Comments

  1. Charlotte Thiel says:

    This was a great reminder to all of us that we “aren’t there yet”. I think you made a good connection to the spring cleaning of where our bodies live and where our spirit lives. You are right: it’s probably a good time to do some spring cleaning and you have given me some good ideas of where to begin: drawers, cobwebs, world lies, laziness, expectations, bad habits, ….

  2. I agree. Good connections. It reminds me of Jesus telling the Pharisees that the tradition of washing their hands didn’t make them clean (Matt 15). It’s what is in the heart that matters.

  3. Oh, I love this idea! My husband recently had a heart attack… (luckily he is doing well, although hospitalized again tonight for chest pain) and I have to admit, the experience has definitely done some spring cleaning on MY heart… I have had to be far more open to the help and kindness of others than I usually am (Steven is the “people person”, I’m the introvert)…

    I don’t like the situation, but I see how God is using it to clean me up a bit!

    • Elisabeth,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. I’ve already said a prayer for him and will continue to do so.
      Though it is a terrible situation, I’m so glad you’re seeing the Lord work in your heart.

  4. I love this spin on spring cleaning because I’ve been a little too busy focusing on the mess and filth of my home when my hearts could really use the cleaning. Perhaps as I declutter my closet today, I will repent of the clutter in my own heart and ask God to get rid of any baggage that I’ve been clinging to that just needs to go! Thanks for this great reminder!

    • Hi Keri,
      I love praying and working through these things as I actually clean. Grace as you work to remove the clutter from your heart. 🙂

  5. Debbie @ Bible Fun For Kids says:

    I loved the comparisons! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the post. There is always some part of us that needs cleaning and thrown away! Your thoughts would make a great bulletin board!

    • Shannon says:

      Hi Debbie,
      I would never have thought of these comparisons making great content for a bulletin board. I think you are right, though, that would work!

  6. Hi Shannon! We are neighbors at Woman to Woman today. These are great analogies and make me think of the story of the woman who complained about her neighbor over and over and how dirty his windows were as she looked out her house. One day, she noticed that the neighbor had FINALLY done some spring cleaning and went on and on about how long it took him. Then her husband chimed in and told his wife that the neighbor hadn’t done anything, but the husband had washed the window the wife always looked out.

    That always gets some dust bunnies in my heart stirring as I remember to that Spring Cleaning begins at home!

    Thanks for inviting me in today!

    Embracing the Journey,
    Christi

    • Shannon says:

      Great story! It really highlights our need to look inward and address our struggles. Thanks for taking the time to share.

  7. Wow! I wrote something so similar (http://tasteandtruth.blogspot.com/2015/04/cleaning-heart-is-it-on-your-to-do-list.html) in April! Always neat when the Lord lays things on multiple people’s hearts!!

    I just love this idea and appreciate your metaphors -so many fantastic points here. Especially scrubbing the floors…needed that! Thanks for writing and sharing via W2W Word Filled Wednesday! : )

    • Shannon says:

      Hi Bethany,
      Indeed, it is neat when many of us are learning similar things. I’m eager to read your post!

  8. I love this post. I love this Psalm. I say this one to myself every morning when I wake up and every night before I go to sleep. Being imperfect, I need constant refreshing

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