Cleaning has never been my favorite thing. If I’m being honest, it’s never really been my thing period. If you were to ask my mom, she would tell you that while I could, and would, fold laundry until the cows came home, that I would leap at the chance to peel potatoes of all things, the one thing that was just non-negotiable in my world was cleaning my room. I didn’t like doing it; I didn’t see the need to do it. I’m sure that my constant refrain is one that has echoed around your homes at some point or another, “I know where everything is, why do I need to clean it?” The inevitable conversations about responsibility and care of your things followed, but I’m willing to admit that I never got behind the cleaning-of-my-room concept.
As we inch ever closer to spring (thankfully!), that age-old urge to do some spring cleaning will emerge. There will be the urge to clean up and clean out what has survived another winter season in our homes without being used or needed. As the grass starts to green and flowers start to emerge from the frozen dirt, the doldrums of the winter months will start to shake off our shoulders and we will feel the need for clean, fresh starts. There will be that urge to rid our homes of the last vestiges of winter dust and clutter, to unfreeze our minds and bodies so that we can get something done!
In its own way, Lent serves as its own form of spring cleaning; however, more often than not, when it comes to the type of spring cleaning Lent calls us to, we end up sounding a lot like my younger self declaring that things are fine where they are and how they are. There’s always a lot of conversation about giving things up during Lent, and often people can feel overwhelmed by the giving up concept, they can feel pressured to do so, and not quite know what to give up, until they’re so stressed out about it that they change the conversation immediately. Here’s the thing though, Lent is about a lot more than just giving things up. At its heart, Lent is about reflection, re-examination, and cleansing. It’s about taking a deep look at our hearts and figuring out what parts of ourselves are covered in dust and need to be cleaned off and freshened up, and which parts are maybe a little bit too used, too worn, too tired. I think people tend to think that Lent is about cleansing ourselves of the things we don’t like about ourselves, but honestly, Lent is about looking at those things which draw us away from God, and figuring out how we can adjust our lives, clean things up a little bit, so that our relationship with God can get back to a healthy place. Lent isn’t just about examining our sins; it’s about examining those things that distract and draw us away from God and from our community of faith. Spring cleaning isn’t just about making things look nice; it’s about giving everything a fresh start, and that’s what Lent is. Maybe for you, your spring cleaning needs to be about letting go of worry and regret, maybe it’s letting the past float out your front door along with all that dust and stuffy air of winter. Maybe it’s about not being so hard on yourself, embracing who you are and being content with what God has created in you. Maybe Lent is about saying that we are done with fear, done with giving in to what other people demand of us even if it isn’t healthy for us.
Think about how you feel when your spring cleaning is over. You feel good, ready to take on a new season, like you have a new lease on life. My prayer for you is that this Lenten season might bring the same sense of release and refreshment for you. I pray that you are able to let go of those things which are holding you back from God, that you are able to clean out your heart’s dusty corners, and rediscover God’s awesome love. I pray that when Easter Sunday comes, it is filled with that feeling of joy and release, that today a new day dawns, and you are ready to embrace it, refreshed and renewed. Happy spring cleaning folks, may you empty out those corners you’ve been putting off, and come out the happier for it.
Peace it Together,