This time of year always gets me so excited for all that’s coming next. Here in Indiana, we generally say by the end of the March Madness Basketball competition, that Old Man Winter has calmed down and we can prepare for spring. By this time, in general, the threat of snow has passed, and a few years back, we began to participate in Daylight Savings Time, so our mornings begin a little earlier by April. The sun greets us bright and early, the birds begin chirping a little louder, we start considering what we will plant in our gardens, and our flowers begin to bloom.
In my house, all these wonderful things indicate spring is coming—which means it’s time to clean up the winter mess! Cobwebs have plastered themselves to the corners of the patio, leaves that fell late in the season are still rustling around in the wind, dead plants and foliage from the fall still remain, and those dreaded dirty screens and windows need sprucing up. We all know it as SPRING CLEANING! I’m sure cleaning services capitalize on those of us who are either unmotivated or simply too busy to tackle all the winter mess. That beautiful sun sure has a way of accentuating the film of dust the plowing of the fall fields has left behind!
Remember back in the fall, we welcomed the cooler evenings, sweatshirt weather, and some couch time as the summer calmed down. Many of us put on a little comfort weight as the holidays approached—we enjoyed a little less activity, and we tend to get stuck in that routine of doing less. Just as we do this in our day-to-day life, we also do this in our spiritual life. I am a huge list person, so as the Holy Spirit was speaking to me about needing a “spiritual spring cleaning” in my own life, I decided to make a list of the ways I was being asked to clean up my spiritual life!
Check List—As with spring cleaning, we start with a list of the areas where our spiritual life may need tidying up. Is God calling us to evaluate our relationship with Jesus, our marriage, our relationship with family or friends, our work life, or where we are spending our free time?
The Bible tells us the importance of the relationships around us. First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (NIV). I think it’s easy to re-engage in non-life-giving relationships during the holidays when we have more time with family, work parties, and parties with friends. Reevaluating the way we spend our time will help shift our perspective back to the importance of the relationship we have with God. Are we spending our first moments of each day in God’s presence? Are the relationships we surround ourselves with ones that are speaking life into us? Is our free time being spent in activities or hobbies that glorify God?
Clutter—After we identify all the areas that could possibly need tidying up, just like with spring cleaning, we must decide what needs trashed and what is worth keeping! Sometimes, we need to remember different spirits not from God that may need trashed. Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything…” (NIV), so we may need to trash spirits of fear, anxiety, or worry! Maybe it’s anger, guilt, addiction, or pride that you need to throw away! We must purify and disinfect our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. Habits and hobbies are easy traps of poor time utilization or consuming our emotional and spiritual health if they aren’t monitored, as well.
What are some things in your life that might be distracting you from the higher calling God has? My pastor always says, “If Satan can’t destroy you, he will distract you.” Maybe it’s sports, maybe it’s watching TV, shopping, or even working out. We must be cautious that even inherently good things can become distractions. As long as your time and devotion with God are first, all of the above hobbies are fine. But I challenge you to evaluate your time spent in relationship with God and your time spent in his Word!
Cleanse—As you come to identify the various habits, relationships, and attitudes that need to be disinfected from your life, you need to be willing to vacuum up all those negative spirits, offenses, and distractions and dust away the past pain and wounds that are currently entangling you one layer of dust at a time. It’s only through this process that you will be refined and shine brighter than ever! You’ll be prepared to live out the calling God has on your life! As you organize all that you have spiritually spring-cleaned, God will be able to show you more clearly the will He has laid out for your life!
After we get through the spiritual spring cleaning, how can we maintain this health spiritually?
Accountability—I think it’s imperative we all have someone who helps keep us accountable—someone who can speak life into different situations we maybe walking through and keep us aware of our blind spots.
Bible—We have to dig into the Word! The Bible is the only living book, and its relevance never changes! By staying in the Word, we maintain a connection and relationship with God and also are constantly reminded of the promises he has for us, even on the difficult days!
Connect—We must stay connected in relationship with others. This can be done a number of different ways—from MOPS groups, small groups within your church, Bible Studies, or even double dating. We all need relationships, and real life change happens within relationships. Isolation is a tactic Satan uses to leave us fighting our battles alone. Don’t fall for it!
Discipleship—We must be willing to speak of all the goodness God has brought us through. We often get hung up thinking no one has ever walked through what we are going through, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is that God uses everything, even our trials, for good! So often, I’ve found that when I share some of my story with others, I hear, “Me, too! I thought I was the only one!” By sharing our story, our heartaches, and our obstacles, we invite others who may be struggling into the Good News of the Gospel—which is what God asks of us! God loves every single one of His children, and until they’ve all come into a relationship with Him, there are plenty of people we can still share that Good News with!
I invite you to do some “spiritual spring cleaning.” This is just an idea of what works for me, but hopefully, it will start to get you evaluating different aspects of life that God is calling you to look at! Just like after you finish that spring cleaning of your yard and home, your spirit will be refreshed and refueled for the next season God is calling you into!